door lock types

Types of Door Locks in Access Control System

The use of door access control systems in businesses is a crucial element in maintaining the security of the premises and protecting important assets, whether they are tangible (such as goods, equipment or confidential documents) or intangible (like data). The type of access control system used can depend on various factors, such as the size of the premises, the nature of the business, the level of security needed, and the budget allocated to such security measures. In this detailed elaboration, we will delve into various types of door locks used in access control systems, provide examples of their usage, outline their utilities and offer additional valuable details.

1. Key Card Locks

Key card locks, also known as swipe card locks, are a popular choice in various business settings. This type of access control system uses cards equipped with magnetic stripes or RFID chips, which are given to authorized personnel. When the card is swiped or placed near the reader installed on the door, the door unlocks if the information is valid.

Example: Hotels often use key card locks for room access. Each guest is given a key card which is programmed to open a specific room. Similarly, large corporate offices may use key card locks to restrict access to certain areas.

Utility: Key card systems allow for easy modification of access permissions. If an employee leaves the company or loses their card, access can be deactivated, preventing misuse. Additionally, these systems can track individual user activity, providing insights into movement within the building.

2. Keypad Locks

Keypad locks require a person to enter a numerical code or PIN to unlock the door. The correct sequence of numbers must be punched into the keypad to gain access.

Example: Keypad locks can often be found in small businesses or for accessing secure areas within larger facilities, like server rooms in an IT company.

Utility: Keypad locks are relatively easy to install and use, and the access code can be shared with multiple users. However, the security risk is that the access code can be shared with unauthorized individuals or can be guessed. Therefore, codes should be changed regularly.

3. Biometric Locks

Biometric locks represent one of the most secure types of door locks available for access control systems. They rely on the unique biological traits of an individual, such as fingerprints, retina patterns, or facial recognition.

Example: Biometric locks are often used in high-security areas, such as research labs, government buildings, or data centers.

Utility: Since biological traits are unique to each individual and difficult to replicate, biometric locks offer a high level of security. However, they can be more expensive to install and maintain, and some people may have privacy concerns about storing their biological information.

4. Smart Locks

Smart locks represent the convergence of physical security and technology. These digital systems can be controlled remotely using a smartphone or other connected device.

Example: Businesses that use coworking spaces might install smart locks on their doors.

Utility: Smart locks can be programmed to allow access to certain individuals at certain times, providing flexible access control. They can also log activity, showing who accessed a space and when. However, they are dependent on power and network connectivity, and can be vulnerable to hacking.

5. Proximity Readers

Proximity readers use RFID technology. Users carry a small fob or card that the reader can detect when it’s within a certain range.

Example: Proximity readers are commonly used in parking garages or gated communities, as well as businesses with large numbers of employees.

Utility: Like key card systems, proximity readers allow for easy modification of access permissions and can track individual user activity. They provide a non-contact method of identification, which can be faster and more durable since there’s no physical contact between the card and the reader.

6. Bluetooth Locks

Bluetooth locks work in a similar way to smart locks, but specifically connect to a Bluetooth device, such as a smartphone, for access.

Example: Businesses with a mobile workforce, or those that wish to use mobile credentials for access control, may use Bluetooth locks.

Utility: Bluetooth locks can be controlled remotely and may offer additional features like activity logging. They can also allow for “hands-free” access since the door can unlock automatically when a paired device is within range. However, like other wireless technology, they can be vulnerable to hacking or interference.

7. Electric Strike Locks

Electric strike locks, often simply called electric locks, consist of a strike plate with a hinged piece of metal. When powered, the hinged piece pivots to allow the door to open.

Example: Electric strike locks can be found in many businesses where access control is required but high security is not a priority, like storage rooms.

Utility: Electric strike locks can be configured to be fail-safe (defaulting to unlocked when power is lost) or fail-secure (remaining locked when power is lost), depending on the needs of the business. They can be used with a variety of credential types, like key cards or pin codes.

8. Magnetic Locks (Maglocks)

Magnetic locks use an electromagnet and a metal plate attached to the door. When powered, the electromagnet attracts the metal plate, keeping the door locked.

Example: Magnetic locks are often used in businesses where it’s important to maintain an unlocked escape route in case of emergency, as they automatically unlock when power is cut.

Utility: Maglocks can provide a high degree of security, but they’re dependent on power to stay locked. As such, they are usually paired with a backup power solution to maintain security in case of power failure.

9. Fob Activated Locks

Similar to key card systems, fob activated locks use small devices known as fobs. When the fob is presented to the reader, it sends a unique code. If the code is recognized, the door unlocks.

Example: Apartment complexes, office buildings, and even gym facilities often use fob activated locks.

Utility: Fobs are small, portable, and easy to use. Like key cards, they can be easily deactivated if lost, and the system can usually log when each fob is used, providing an audit trail.

10. Palm-Vein Recognition Locks

Palm-vein recognition locks use infrared sensors to recognize the vein patterns in the user’s palm. These patterns are unique to each individual, making this a highly secure method.

Example: High-security areas, such as research labs or sensitive corporate departments, might use palm-vein recognition locks.

Utility: Palm-vein recognition is highly accurate and less prone to forgery than other biometric methods. However, the hardware can be expensive and the technology is still relatively new, which might limit its availability and support.

Each type of door lock used in access control systems offers unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Choosing the right type of lock depends on the nature of the business, the level of security required, the size and layout of the premises, and the available budget. Regardless of the chosen system, it is essential to maintain the locks properly, update the software regularly (for digital locks), and review access permissions periodically to ensure ongoing security.