Blog access control

3 types of access control: how they can help protect your workplace

By Molly TelferContent Marketing Specialist
Published on October 1, 2021


When it comes to protecting your workplace as well as its occupants, access control is the way to go. But there is a myriad of ways of controlling your workers’ and visitors’ access, which is why it can be hard to decide to implement any of them.

Especially if you’ve ever experienced the hassle of keycards randomly not working, or having to wait in line to sign a paper sign-in sheet.

However, every company — and workplace — is different, and what works for your competitors might not work for you.

But one thing is for sure: every workplace needs access control. Access control prevents people from breaking in, helps you keep track of your valuables, and overall enables you to keep an eye on your workplace.

Want to learn how access control can help your workplace? Keep reading and find out!

What is access control and why should you care?

In a nutshell, access control is a granular restriction of access to data. It consists of two things: authentication and authorization. Authentication prompts people to show their true colors and verification determines whether or not that person should be allowed to access that part of your office.

There are three types of access control systems you can use to identify an individual who does a specific job: discretionary access control, mandatory access control, and role-based access control.

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

This type of access control system allows the front desk staff to decide which people are allowed in a specific location, both physically and digitally. In short, DAC gives you complete control over any asset you own.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

This kind of access control is commonly used in companies that have a greater need for confidentiality and data classification. The best thing about MAC is that it enables you to give granular access to your workers to places with established security guidelines.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

This access control system is one of the most common ones and is used in both office buildings and households. In RBAC systems, access is assigned to an administrator, and the rest of the workers get particular access permissions depending on their position.

Here are some of the most common types of access control a company can use:

For example, think of Rodney, your company's janitor. He comes to your workplace every day after 7 p.m. and cleans after all other staff have gone home. With an access control system like Honeywell Sine, you can streamline Rodney’s sign-in process, so he doesn’t have to alert your staff or sign a paper sheet every time he’s there. 

Also, an access control management system makes sure he doesn’t bring any friends to work or go to areas of your office he’s not supposed to.

Why should you care?

That’s simple; you should care about access control because it adds an extra layer of security and safety to your workplace and enables you to comply with whatever security regulations your company or your city has placed while giving you and staff peace of mind.

Now, let’s talk about how access control can help your company.

mobile based guided access control for buildings

How does access control help companies?

There are countless benefits to each of these forms of authentication, mainly because they all offer you the chance to turn off a worker’s access credentials upon his or her departure from the company.

Access control systems have proven to be extremely useful security instruments because they give you an unparalleled amount of data you can use to understand your company and its workers and visitors.

These include technology that identifies the individual seeking to gain access to your office or a restricted area and allows access only to the areas aligned with their permissions.

Also, if your workplace is still using security guards and receptionists to approve access, a cloud-based access control system can both speed up access and contact emergency services if needed.

Besides controlling entry to your workplace and establishing levels of access for areas of your worksite, you can use it to authenticate the identity of your visitors and cross-reference it against a database. 

3 moments where access control can save your office

Today, even the smallest companies use authentication and verification to make sure everybody is who they say they are. But there’s an issue with that:

Authorization is still an area in which security professionals mess up often.

It can be challenging to determine and perpetually monitor who gets in and out of your office building, who can see your data, and who gets access, which is why access control comes in handy for companies who want to improve their safety.

Take a look at these cases where access control software would help you protect your office building.

1. When a recently fired worker wants to tamper with your data.

Let’s say Hank, your accountant, got let go and you didn’t revoke his credentials right away. If he’s disgruntled and seeking retaliation, he could do a lot of damage because he’s got access to your financial data.

Internal theft is one of the most important causes of annual revenue loss. An access control system makes it difficult for intruders to access your office, but only if you conduct regular maintenance of your systems.

However, an access control solution or a check-in app like Sine can alert you if a recently fired employee tries to gain access to your office building at odd hours or when unscheduled, so you can protect your worksite from disgruntled employees.

2. When an authorized worker lets an unauthorized person in.

In this scenario, Fran, your gardener, brought one of her apprentices to the office with her. Your front desk person forgot to check them in, and then the apprentice was found in front of the CEO’s office looking confused. This form of access breach is called tailgating, and it might happen in seemingly innocent interactions such as holding the door for someone else, sharing credentials, or even giving someone access to records or assets.

Tailgating is probably one of the most common and most overlooked security weaknesses office buildings face, especially at doors that handle a high volume of workers, contractors, or visitors.

An access control system can prevent this kind of issue by, for instance, setting a geofence around your premises where you can see who’s around and spot who doesn’t belong to your company. While employee training is a great way of combating those vulnerabilities, other ways of mitigating this risk are to include security cameras or ID checks.

3. When you lost your visitor log and something goes missing. 

For instance, when Randy, your front desk guy, loses your visitor log, and company property got stolen that same day — an access control system could have prevented this. 

Accidents happen, but you don’t want your visitors’ data to be lost, or in the hands of unscrupulous people. The good news is that a visitor management system can help your receptionist by automating the check-in process and securely storing all the sign-in information.

Access control integrations: Gallagher, Honeywell, HID

Meet Sine’s access control

With Sine’s access control, you add another layer of security to your worksite. With our access control solution, visitors are issued a personalized QR code to their mobile phones or emails.

Then, once your visitors have arrived at your worksite, they can scan their QR code to be granted access to the worksite, and the QR code will then be automatically deactivated after the specified time that you choose, or upon check-out.

These are some features of Sine’s access control pack:

Unique QR code

When a visitor checks in, they will receive a text message with a link on it for a unique temporary QR code that is also printed on their badge.

Scan to have access

When the visitor presents the phone or printable QR code to approved access gates, they are granted access. On their way out, they present the badge at the exit access gate and will be automatically checked out, and the QR code deactivated.

Easy pre-registration

Invite guests with our seamless calendar integration with Outlook and Google Calendar. Create group invites via the web Sine dashboard.

Access gate speed stiles

The visitor approaches the speed stile and presents their phone or printable QR code to the speed stile. The speed stile then opens, and the visitor enters or exits the building.

All in all, Sine’s access control pack is great for businesses of all sizes that put a large importance on-site security, especially multi-tenant buildings, as it allows controlled access to certain floors and office spaces right from the Sine dashboard.

Interested in learning how to protect your business with Sine? Book a live demo with one of our product experts today!