How does a badge access control system work?

In an access-controlled building, authorised persons use identifiers (badges) to make unlocking requests to readers installed near the entrances. These send information to an access control unit (ACU) which decides (or not) to trigger the locking hardware of the electrified doors, depending on the validity of the request.
These solutions are often used to complement other security systems, such as video surveillance.

What type of badge to choose?

Badges are popular for access control because they are relatively cheap and easy to use. There are several types of card and badge technologies, but the most common are :

RFID badges

RFID stands for Radiofrequency Identification. These RFID smart cards are available in a variety of formats and protocols, such as :

  • Proximity cards – These cards communicate using low frequency fields (typically 125 hHz). These cards generally use the Wiegand protocol and have a short reading range of 1-10 cm.
  • Contactless smart cards – These cards contain a microchip and communicate using high frequency fields (13.56 MHz). The standard protocol for these cards is ISO/IEC 14443 and the reading range is between one centimetre and one metre.

Magnetic stripe cards

They use the same technology as credit cards: a magnetic strip stores the data, which is read by the reader. The types of magnetic cards used for access control are high coercivity (HiCo), which means that they require more magnetic energy to be encoded. They are therefore more secure and reliable than low coercivity (LoCo) cards.

However, magnetic cards are still considered less secure than RFID cards because they are generally not encrypted and are easy to clone.

Virtual badges

This technology allows you to use your smartphone to unlock entries.

How does it work?
In the access control software, a user is given a mobile ID card. He installs the mobile control application on his smartphone, logs in and approaches a reader. The user then makes an unlock request using his smartphone, either by pressing a button in the application, holding the phone in front of the reader, or simply touching the reader.
This request is sent to the ACU through the reader via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular data. Once the mobile ID is authenticated and authorised, the entry is unlocked.

→ Today, RFID technology is the one that guarantees a higher level of convenience and security than the other technologies mentioned above.

What are the advantages of badge access control?

Badge access control has always been an essential part of most security solutions. A good badge system can contribute to security in a number of ways, such as:

  • Ensure that only specified employees have access to sensitive information.
  • Protecting certain departments (especially those, such as human resources, that deal with sensitive information) from excessive traffic.
  • Prevent visitors from venturing into areas where they should not have access.
  • Preventing disruption, which is particularly useful when employees are working in areas where concentration is paramount.

Most importantly, it can protect your employees, visitors, property and premises from intruders, whether they are ill-intentioned or simply lost.

What about GDPR?

The protection of cardholders’ personal data is often neglected – and can easily be breached. For example, a system administrator is often able to view the access control transactions of all cardholders. This right can be abused by browsing this information for non-security purposes. Under the GDPR, this would be classified as a “data breach”.

Indeed, the following aspects must be taken into account when deploying an access control system

  • Purpose of cardholder identification
  • Type of data – and who has access to it
  • Method of data capture (manual or automatic)
  • Storage location and retention period
  • Sharing of data with third parties

To be GDPR compliant, it is important to consider the security of the cardholder – not just the building.  A well-designed system is able to do both.

Whatever your needs in terms of identification badge system, Motilde will help you define and install a solution adapted to your structure. Contact us for a personalised quote!

Do you want to implement or optimise a control room?

Download our free guide:

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

reliability thermal camerascity surveillance