International Exhibition for Perimeter Protection, Fencing and Building Security

14 - 16 January 2025 // Nuremberg, Germany

Perimeter Protection Newsroom

Physical access controls – crucial for security management

Perimeter Protection Trade Fair Activity
Perimeter Protection Trade Fair Activity // © unsplash

The first line of defence for companies, authorities and other facilities to protect against intruders is an effective access system, whether the focus is on theft, material damage, espionage or sabotage. Then there are aspects such as physical protection in hazardous areas and health protection. The importance of access controls in the latter case was proved during the period of Covid-19 restrictions. In this situation, smart systems ensure that unauthorized persons do not gain access to healthcare facilities, and also that the number of people in a given area does not exceed a set total, as a further health-protection measure.

Physical access control thus provides protection not only for assets that can be stolen or damaged: By keeping unauthorized persons out, it also contributes to cyber security. After all, as soon as criminals gain entry, they can easily access networks and sensitive company data. An effective access control system is therefore a key pillar of digital security precautions. With specific regard to vulnerable locations such as data centres or production areas, it is beneficial to have a multi-level access system in which people or groups of people have access only to defined areas.

The basic principle remains unchanged

To ensure a company is properly protected, it is essential to know which solutions are right for its specific requirements. In the case of access control, it is therefore important to distinguish between products that provide end-to-end control and those that are only a substitute for traditional security in the form of door locks.

Physical access control with lock and key has one of the longest traditions in building and site security. Locking systems and the associated keys continue to be the cornerstones of mechanical security components, even if their structure has changed over time. The principle that using the right key with the right lock will grant access continues to apply, although the focus is now on electronic locking systems. The technical aspects of such locking systems include sensors, actuators and software to control access.

Trend toward mobile credentials

The media used for identification, however, which range from RFID chips to magnetic cards and mobile apps, have changed greatly in recent decades. Although mechanical keys have their advantages, the cost of loss or theft is high: In most cases, a large number of locks have to be changed. In contrast, electronic locking systems score thanks to their ease of use – instead of a whole bundle of keys, for example, a single chip or app will suffice. These form part of the growing trend toward mobile credentials, in other words, digital proofs of authorization on a smartphone. A study by IFSEC Global predicts exponential growth for access control using mobile terminals in the next few years: 42 percent of the companies surveyed plan to introduce smartphone-based systems.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, providers of visitor management systems quickly recognized the benefits of using QR codes stored on a mobile phone as proof of authorization. These can be issued and recalled remotely. They are also sent directly to the designated device of each individual visitor, with no need for a physical point of contact for checking in.

Connection with the Internet of Things

Complex access control systems are easy to network using state-of-the-art IoT (Industry of Things) technology. The relevant sensor technology has become relatively cheap, and can also be wirelessly linked over a wide area. Ideally, the check-in process is integrated into the various Smart Building functions. In this situation, the networked systems include, in addition to access control, many other systems such as lighting, fire alarm, emergency call systems, and air-conditioning. Controlled access for individuals is linked with vehicular access controls, room reservations, individual rights for specific areas, and time registration. These systems connect access control with vehicular access to the parking area and direct people to visitor areas, or employees to their workplaces with the aid of a time registration function.

The exhibitors at Perimeter Protection have the right solutions for both these situations in their portfolios. In addition to comprehensive solutions, they also offer modular systems that grow with the companies and their security needs.


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