Securely in control

Electronic access control systems can enhance security by offering a centralised solution to building management. Systems manufacturer Paxton explains further.

The protection of employees and assets is a priority for any business, so an adequate access control system can go a long way to addressing common security concerns in workplaces.

With straightforward solutions, such as IP-ready access control systems that connect directly to the local network, you don’t have to be an IT expert to take advantage of the benefits of enhanced building security.

The technology can also be integrated with a range of third-party systems, such as CCTV, biometrics or fire and intruder alarms, offering a cost-effective centralised solution to building access management.


Networked access control has several benefits over using traditional lock and key, with an important factor being that numerous security functions can be centrally and conveniently managed on a computer.

These functions include controlling the flow of people in a building or restricting access to certain parts of it; switching utilities on or off to save energy; or generating attendance reports. Moreover, unlike physical keys, electronic access control tokens can easily be barred from the system if they are lost, stolen or unreturned.

Access control software can also be used as an effective human resources tool that can generate attendance reports.  By allocating specific token readers for clocking in and out, the software can be used to log the working hours of employees, note periods of time out of the office during holidays, appointments or unpaid leave. Reports can then be exported for use with a variety of HR applications and be used for monitoring.

Universal management

Many systems are easy to manage from anywhere. Access control can be centrally managed on-site from a computer or remotely through an internet-connected device, making it a truly versatile building management solution.

Some access control software solutions allow system administrators to grant varying permissions to different users. This might be used for the benefit of health and safety requirements – like preventing untrained staff from operating certain machinery – or to stop people from accessing restricted areas, thus reducing the potential risk of accident to staff and visitors.

Since access control systems can determine where people are within a building, they can be used to identify key areas of footfall and switch lighting or heating on or off as required in order to increase energy efficiency.

Systems can also carry out a range of functions that are beneficial to a business’s duty of care to its staff. This includes automatic generation of a roll call report in the event of a fire or provide DDA compliance through hands-free access control for wheelchair users, and hygienic contactless access for healthcare facilities.

Advanced control

High security options are available for specific applications, such as biometrics – an authentication method that can uniquely recognise an individual based upon one or more biological characteristics.

Examples include fingerprint, face recognition and retinal scanners. Biometric readers can be integrated with access control, to enhance the security of existing systems.

Advanced access control systems can include unique physical identification, enhanced security options including multi-factor authentication, security lockdown and Near Field Communication (NFC). This can be particularly beneficial for sites with specific access requirements such as hospitals and schools, providing extra options for identification via phones and smart devices.

Access control can offer a variety of readers suitable for new sites as well as retro-fitted and historic buildings. Access control products can also include readers designed to be aesthetically pleasing or cleverly disguised, such as discreet tokens or wireless products.

It is important to ask the right questions in order to specify a system that matches your access requirements – whether that is a secure barrier in the car park, a video entry system, a secure external door with hands-free access or an integrated solution.

Paxton manufactures IP access control, door entry and building intelligence systems