access control

Protecting your employees and business assets is extremely important, as is keeping on top of who enters and exits your business, and when. With unique credentials given to each employee, an access control system can protect your staff, resources, and data. But what exactly are access control systems and how do they work?

What is an Access Control System?

An access control system is a form of physical security that manages the entry point to your business or interior areas of a building. Access control systems act as gatekeepers to physically keep out unauthorized users, while allowing entry to authorized users.

Let’s take a deeper look at the key elements of an access control system and how they work.

Key Elements


Access Control credentials use RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to send signals to the access control panel. Each credential has a unique encrypted identification number. You can give the same type of tag to all employees but can configure one to permit entry and one tag to deny entry into certain areas of the building.

The system administrator can adjust access settings at any time, meaning you won’t have to track someone down and ask them to exchange their tag- you can do it remotely. If a tag is lost, you can permanently disable the lost tag.

Types of Credentials

  • Key Fob or Access Card
  • Password or Pin Code
  • Biometrics
  • Smartphone Apps


The tag reader gets installed on one or both sides of the door – one side of the door if the system only controls entry, or both sides if the access control system controls entry and exit. The reader contains an antenna that connects to and receives power from the access control panel.

When an individual goes to enter the building with their access control tag, the reader’s antenna receives its encrypted ID number.


The controller is the core of the system. It stores the authorization information which is configured by the system administrator. The controller receives the encrypted tag number from the reader, decodes the number, then compares the ID number to the ID numbers that have been loaded into the system. If the numbers match, and the user is authorized to access the door, the door will then unlock.


The access control panel, or controller, operates the electrical door lock. If a user is permitted to enter the building the door will automatically unlock and can be opened.

How Does Access Control Work?

1.      Authentication

First things first, a credential is authenticated. When a user presents their credential to the reader, the data is then validated to determine whether the credential is known or recognized by the system.

2.      Authorization

Next, the reader establishes if the user is authorized to access the entry point. For the user to be authorized, the reader must answer the following questions:

  • Does the user have access to the entry point they’re requesting?
  • Is the user using an allowed credential type, such as a key fob?
  • Is the request being made within a defined schedule?
  • Are there any security restrictions in place, such as a system lockdown?

3.      Access

After authorization is decided, the reader sends a message to trigger the door hardware to unlock the entry point. If the door unlocks, the system then tracks the user triggering the unlocking.

4.      Management

Managing the access control system includes adding and removing users, monitoring activity, and setting schedules or alerts. Most access control systems use a software that automatically syncs with the controller and reader.

5.      Audit

Most access control systems offer an audit option which allows administrators to generate reports. These reports can help meet compliance standards and ensures that the system is working as expected.


Your access control system is an essential aspect of your building’s security. It provides an extra layer of protection to control and monitor who has access to your business.

Aatel designs and installs access control systems in the Healthcare, Corporate, Education and Government sectors. We have worked in several different facilities such as Acute, Long-Term and Residential Care, Assisted Living, Municipalities, Condominium complexes, Distribution facilities, small to large Business sites, along with Colleges and Universities.

We have partnered with three industry leaders, each of whom has developed innovative access control systems. Keyscan, HID, and RBH Access Technologies design leading-edge security systems that are versatile, scalable, and flexible while remaining highly functional. They provide significant value for your investment while ultimately helping to control entry to your business or institution.

Find out more about how Aatel can assist in creating the ideal access control system for you. Contact us today for more information!