What are card access systems? The simplest explanation is that they are a form of security that allows only those with the proper credentials to pass through a given entry point. In this case, that credential is an access card.
Access control centers on entryways, gates, and doors can be performed in a number of ways, from low tech solutions involving keys or human guards, to high tech biometric scanners that identify a person based on their appearance or fingerprints. The fundamental element is that access is only granted to those with the proper credentials. In the example of a card access system, the credential is read and assessed by a card reader. The card reader itself can either be a standalone swipe-type reader, in which the card is run through like a credit card, or a proximity scanner, wherein a connected sensor will be able to read any card within a few feet of distance, allowing nearly seamless access control.
With these two distinct branches of card access technology, we see a clear set of pros and cons. The advantage of a standalone system is that it can be installed and setup within a small amount of time, getting your security situation under control immediately. A person wanting access simply swipes the card and is allowed through; more cards can be provided for all who need access. The disadvantage is that it is not connected to a wider security network and can, if rarely, be prone to failure. Also, the cards may need replacement after enough swipes.
The advantage of a proximity sensor is that it is usually part of a wider security system, integrated with other access points in a given building. The cards themselves do not suffer from wear and tear, so they may last much longer. Additionally, the cards are easy to replace if need be. For added security, this type of card access can be supplemented with photo ID, as in the case of an employee card with an embedded magnetic strip or chip for scanning. Even better, a connected access control system can track when users come and go.
Regardless of which style of card access system is chosen, the result is the same: only those with the correct access card may be granted entry. Your own access control system will be determined by your specific security needs. The costs vary, with more elaborate setups commanding a higher price. Still, the basic elements remain the same: the card access system controls entry based on credentials that are granted only to those in need.
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