Keeping buildings secure involves limiting access to individuals who have an illegitimate right to be there. Once in the building or on-site, there may still be a need to give employees working in different departments varying access levels. A range of access control solutions offers different benefits depending on user requirements. Proximity cards or fobs are some of the most popular systems in use today.
Advances in computing technology now mean hackers can defeat some access control systems much easier than before. As a building owner or manager, the security of the premises and the safety of the occupant’s rest on your shoulders. This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of proximity access cards and fobs plus briefly introducing other access management solutions.
Different applications of access cards or fobs
Physical access to building premises:
Access control systems offer more than just physical access to a site or building. The traditional use of access control systems has been to keep buildings and sites secure by allowing people who have a legitimate reason to be there. This may be vetted visitors or employees who work within the site. Access cards or fobs allow physical access to car parks, into buildings, use of lifts and also limit access within the building or site boundaries itself.
Proximity cards and fobs can be used for accessing devices and equipment within buildings too. Think network printers, computer systems, changing room lockers or even canteen vending machines and you know the power you can wield with smart cards. No need to remember multiple passwords or locker codes, making devices and building more secure.
Security benefits and drawbacks of access cards?
The different access control technologies have their advantages and disadvantages. Proximity cards and tags have a few of both. However, the technology is fairly secure by current security standards, is easy to deploy and manage and also cost-effective. Below are more of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of access control.
Advantages of fob or card access systems:
- They are a cost-effective solution to building security, keys and locks become expensive to replace over time if lost
- Fob systems provide security audit trails as each access card or fob can be traced to the different access points on the system
- They allow for more secure perimeter access control; keys are easier to copy or lose
- They are a convenient access solution for building or service users
- Easy access zone control, proximity fobs or cards allow you to restrict or grant different levels access throughout the entire building or site
- Proximity cards can double up as personnel identification cards for an added layer of visual security
- Simple yet secure access control system with no moving parts, mechanical wear or read heads to maintain
Disadvantages of fob or card access control systems:
Proximity cards and fobs are susceptible to hacking, leading to the loss of the information they contain. Once all the data on the card or fob is accessed, clones can be made defeating site security.
So, although cards and fobs offer numerous benefits and are a seemingly impenetrable solution, there are increasing instances of security breaches as fobs and cards are hacked.
If there is any other downside to using card or fob technology for access control, then it must just be that there are more sophisticated systems available on the market.
Other access control options to card or fob:
Despite the robust nature of cards and fobs for securing building premises, there are other access control solutions which are more secure. These include solutions for the home such as video & audio intercom (Ring video doorbells are an example).
For sensitive commercial, educational or industrial security applications, then biometric security and IP intercom solutions may offer an increased level of security these institutions demand.
Biometric security (fingerprints) is also an increasingly popular solution for time and attendance management. Fingerprints offer a more secure authentication method compared to proximity cards or fobs.
The most obvious advantage of biometric systems over ID card fobs and keys as an authentication system is the fact that they are tied to an individual. Therefore, they are not easily compromised.
Final Word about card or fob access solutions:
Choosing the right access control solution will always be at the forefront of building and site managers. Security of assets and the safety of building users, whether academic, commercial or industrial is crucial and access control systems play a key role in making buildings more secure.
This article addresses the advantages and disadvantages of one of the most access control technologies in use today, proximity cards or fobs. Cards or fobs are cost-effective, provide audit trails and are convenient for users. The only downside is that in some instances, cards or fobs can be cloned.
Despite the downside discussed above, access fobs and cards remain one of the most secure access control solutions on the market today.
Are you considering proximity cards or fobs to improve the security of your building? Would you like to improve or upgrade your access control system and wondering if card or fob is the right answer? Contact Fire & Security supply a range of access control solutions and you can find out more here.