Advantages and Disadvantages of Access Control Systems

By Harvey Spector

Access control systems are put in place to secure privileged information. Their design allows only a limited number of people to have access to certain data.

Access control systems are a common part of everyone’s daily life. Anything that requires a password or has a restriction placed on it based on its user is using an access control system. For example, when a person views his bank account information online, he must first enter in a specific username and password. Without this information, a person has no access to his account.

Advantage: Prevention of Theft

An access control system’s primary task is to restrict access. This is critical when access to a person’s account information is sufficient to steal or alter the owner's identity. Many websites that require personal information for their services, especially those that need a person’s credit card information or a Social Security number, are tasked with having some sort of access control system in place to keep this information secure.

Varying Levels of Security

As technology has increased with time, so have these control systems. A simple four-digit PIN and password are not the only options available to a person who wants to keep information secure. For example, there are now locks with biometric scans that can be attached to locks in the home. The Biometrics Institute states that there are several types of scans. These scan-based locks make it impossible for someone to open the door to a person’s home without having the right physical features, voice or fingerprint. In some instances, such as with large businesses, the combination of both a biometric scan and a password is used to create an ideal level of security.

Disadvantage: Hacking

Access control systems can be hacked. When a system is hacked, a person has access to several people’s information, depending on where the information is stored. Wired reported how one hacker created a chip that allowed access into secure buildings, for example. Not only does hacking an access control system make it possible for the hacker to take information from one source, but the hacker can also use that information to get through other control systems legitimately without being caught. Despite access control systems increasing in security, there are still instances where they can be tampered with and broken into.