When you need to achieve site security without making entry difficult for authorised site visitors, picking the right system is crucial. This guide describes all you need to know about the types of business access control systems currently available.
In this guide
- We describe the differences between the main categories of business access control systems and the types of organisations that each one is most appropriate for.
- We list the various types of software that makes business access control systems work.
- We provide a list of the physical technologies, such as swipe cards, pin codes, and biometric systems, that can be used to operate business access control systems.
The four main types of business access control systems
Discretionary Access Control (DAC)
The DAC concept provides corporate owners—instead of security professionals—control over all user access rights and permissions. Each entry point in this system contains an Access Control List (ACL) with a list of people or groups who have authorisation to enter. These business access control systems verify credentials against the list each time a keycard is swiped, a PIN is entered, or a fingerprint is scanned, and then it either grants or denies access based on the previously defined allowances.
In comparison to other forms of access control, DAC systems are the most adaptable and provide the greatest variety of permissions. As the most flexible form, they also have the lowest level of security, however. The system is completely under the control of one person, who could give access to someone they shouldn’t. Systems with discretionary access controls work best for businesses that demand the greatest flexibility and usability.
Mandatory Access Control (MAC)
Mandatory access control systems (MAC), on the other hand, are the most secure kind of business access control systems. The only people who can use the systems are owners and custodians. The system administrator pre-sets all of the access control options, and they cannot be altered or withdrawn without their consent.
In a MAC paradigm, one person, such as a Chief Security Officer, is given the power to define access policies and assign rights for the entire enterprise. Mandatory access control gives the administrator complete control over security clearance and access rights. A MAC system functions by identifying all users and granting them access to areas of a building or site in accordance with the system’s programming, as opposed to DAC systems, which create access lists on each individual entry point. If you have 200 employees, you will need to set up 200 user rights in the system.
These are the most stringent and secure business access control systems, but also the most inflexible. The administrator must modify not just the security lists at the entry point, but also the specific user’s access in order to adjust permissions. Companies and government organisations that want the highest levels of security frequently use MAC systems. The military and other government agencies primarily employ MAC since it is the strictest option.
Role-based Access Control (RBAC)
Rapidly becoming the most common kind of business access control system, role-based access control (RBAC) is also known as non-discretionary access control. An RBAC system operates by granting entry permission to a certain job title rather than issuing them to specific people as in a MAC system.
In a professional setting, access privileges are frequently determined by employment position and job title, such as granting management complete building access while restricting contractors’ or employees’ access to only the areas required for their jobs.
RBAC systems often use the ‘least privilege’ and ‘separation of privileges’ concepts, compartmentalising users and granting them only the minimum amount of access necessary to carry out their duties. Say there are twenty salespeople, two managers, and three accountants, for instance, you wouldn’t need to set up 25 different security profiles in the system. Only three would need to be made, one for each different job title. You can adjust to an employee’s changing position within the organisation to assign keycard access to the relevant areas if they are promoted and a replacement is hired.
Administrators can organise users and change permissions using the RBAC approach, which is user-friendly. It reduces the amount of time needed to set up or modify user access.
Rule-based Access Control
Rule-based access control, which should not be confused with the other “RBAC,” is frequently used as an addition to the other types of business access control systems. In addition to the access control type you select, rule-based access control can modify permissions in accordance with a particular set of rules that the administrator has established.
If your company closes at 5 p.m. nobody—not even managers—needs access to the main office after that time. You can set a rule under rule-based access control to prevent anyone from accessing the system from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m. the following morning. There are rules for almost every situation.
This type of access control is frequently deployed in workplaces like factories, warehouses, car lots, and other places where ordinary employees wouldn’t have a good reason to access after hours.
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