Looking to discuss access control options?
You interact with different types of access control every day, probably without even thinking about it. When you use a key card to enter your office building or parking garage, you’re interacting with a form of access control. For more on the basics of access control, click here.
What is Standalone Access Control?
As the name suggests, standalone access control units operate independently rather than being networked and controlled centrally. Examples can include:
- Keypads, which require you to enter a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to gain access;
- Card readers, which can scan a fob key or key card for an RFID tag before granting access.
Standalone access controllers are used to restrict entry through a single door. include:
- Keypads installed on residential entrances and garage doors
- Key card readers installed on the doors of hotel rooms.
Entering the correct PIN grants access or swiping the correct card, but only through that specific entrance. However, the control unit only safeguards that single entrance.
Because these units aren’t networked, installation of a standalone access control unit is fairly simple. The interface – be it a fob reader, card reader or keypad – is installed at the entranceway and the control unit is installed inside the building or secured area. The unit is programmed with the necessary security credentials, and you’re good to go.
Benefits of Standalone Access Control
You Have a Range of Options
With standalone access control, you can have a different security measure for each entrance you’re safeguarding. You can have a fob reader on your main entrance, a swipe card for your company’s underground parking garage, and a keypad for your server room (so nobody but IT can get in). This degree of customization means you can pick and choose which unit best suits the needs and aesthetics of your office or facility.
Standalone access control units are a preferred choice when regulated entry is desired, but budgets are limited. Their simplicity and independent operation make them a very cost-effective security solution for less sensitive areas. If for example, an Edmonton retail manager wanted to limit access to the staff break room, a keypad or card reader could be installed on the entrance to ensure customers didn’t wander in.
Because a break room doesn’t ordinarily house sensitive equipment or confidential information, a simple, standalone unit could provide adequate, cost-effective security and privacy for off-duty staff.
It’s Easy to Scale Up
If your operation grows, or you decide you want a room to have restricted access (i.e. a file room), you can easily add a standalone access control unit to it. Because the units are independent from each other, it doesn’t have to be integrated into a network. This means setup can take place relatively quickly.
Drawbacks of Standalone Access Control
It Can’t Be Centrally Monitored
If all your keypads and card readers aren’t connected by an actual system or network, you can’t monitor them from a central location in real-time. In practical terms, a security officer, in his office or station, wouldn’t be able to tell who was accessing a given control unit (and room) at any given time, and would have to rely on something like a CCTV system for alerts. Because of this, larger operations with higher security needs may not be well served by standalone security measures.
It Takes Longer to Modify
Because there is no central station from which to monitor and control standalone security devices, there is no way to update or modify the devices simultaneously. If PINs need to be changed or credentials updated so certain people can be granted (or denied) access, then that work has to be done locally, one control unit at a time.
By comparison, an access control system that had devices networked could send out updated credentials to multiple devices, simultaneously, from a central location. This means that a specific credential (for example, a former employee’s PIN) could be removed from all access control devices, all at once. Conversely, new credentials (like PIN numbers for a team of contractors) could be uploaded to a select group of devices. This team of temporary workers would have access to the rooms they needed, while the rest of your facility remained off-limits to them. For larger operations with dozens or even hundreds of secured entry points, an access control system is a more efficient solution.
Ideal Application for Standalone Access Control Units
Standalone access control units are cost-effective security solutions for restricting access to less-sensitive areas in your facility. For example, if the managers of a Fort McMurray sports facility wanted to secure a storage area from members of the public, a standalone access control unit could suffice.
Many condominium complexes in Calgary and Edmonton use fob keys, giving residents a secure way to enter and exit parking garages and the condominiums themselves. Residential construction projects have long since used keypads and PINs to keep homes and garages safe and secure for families.
Standalone access control devices can also be an effective first step for small businesses who aren’t prepared for or in need of a comprehensive security system. And, if there is a portion of your operation that can’t be linked to your security system (for example, a storage shelter in a remote location), a standalone unit could be a good first step in securing it.
Simple as they are, standalone devices can be an effective security measure. To determine if they are the right fit for your security challenges, talk to the experts at Tridon. Our Technical, Engineering and Client Support teams are here to apply their expertise to answering your questions and providing the solution.
Tridon is a full solution Telecom Systems Integrator with CSA certification and licensed by APEGA. Our Engineering, Service and Tower Divisions collaborate with customers to build engineered solutions including communications systems design, tower inspections and co-location, wireless broadband, fiber optic cabling, site security, and two-way radio communication.