What Is Physical Access Control – Is It important?


In premises where there is a need to control who goes in, a physical access control system (PAC) comes in handy. An electronic system that can restrict entry to protected areas assures high-security levels at all times.

In a large organization, physically identifying individuals who gain entry could be challenging.

All the same, with the use of modern technology, it is easier to prevent intrusions by controlling who goes where and when.

So, in such a scenario, you need to ensure that only authorized people access different areas depending on the set level of security.

This is where every building manager should consider investing in a physical access control system.

What Is Physical Access Control?

Physical access control is the strategic authorization or restriction of personnel based on their level of access to areas and physical resources.

Physical control bars unknown persons from accessing a property or a given space in there.

As such, a physical control system is the main thing when it comes to security matters surrounding physical access.

In simple terms, a physical access control system is the electronic management of entry to a premise. It’s also a way of keeping track of who entered a specific area at a given time.

It is an integrated approach to managing physical access and workspace. Specifically, it uses several technologies to produce a functional, efficient and effective building design that protects the environment.

The PACS also controls when an authorized person can enter a specific area. Other than fences and walls, technology also helps prevent trespass or unwarranted entry into a property.

Why Is Physical Access Control Important?

Having access control in place will often have an overall positive impact on the operations of the enterprise.

Without a doubt, physical access control is an essential aspect of security. Therefore, the most fundamental importance of PAC is enhanced security.

First, only authorized people can access the premises. As such, the institution’s personnel are assured of their safety from physical attacks.

Physical access control protects people and property from vandalism and terrorist attacks.

In return, an organization stands to realize higher profits since the staff works in confidence and there is less property damage.

You can limit entry to areas with sensitive equipment or information with physical access control. In addition, it is possible to keep track of the hours each employee works.

Using security cameras as part of physical access control helps monitor who visits your premises at any time.

In addition, organizations use access controls to prevent doors and gates from being opened during odd hours or by unauthorized persons.

What Are The 3 Types Of Access Control

Generally, building managers can consider three types of Access control to enhance security.

1. Discretionary Access Control

With DAC, every access control point has credentials for authorized users in a list. Every time a user seeks verification, the system compares the credential to the list and grants or refuses access per the pre-established allowances.

2. Role-Based Access Control

Role-based access control allows an organization to address the concept of “least privilege”. Specifically, access is linked to a person’s work, which only grants them the access they need to perform their job.

3. Mandatory Access Control

Mandatory access control is the strictest of the three. MAC uses a hierarchical approach to access control.

In addition, MAC uses two pieces of information known as labels to provide entry. The two labels are classification and category.

Access is only possible if the two labels match the pre-assigned category and classification.

Physical Access Control Best Practices

For your physical access control to be effective, you must keep to some best practices. Other than incorporating surveillance cameras and sensors, where they are is what you need to do.

Centralized Physical Access Management

It is advisable to centralize management structures to manage physical access control systems effectively.

Centralizing the access controls reduces the chances of errors by eliminating redundancy. In addition, centralization enhances accountability and reduces the chances of system miscommunication by different control centers.

Use Minimal Access Policy

Applying the minimal access principle is one of the best ways of preventing unauthorized entry into a property or sensitive areas in a premise.

Every authorized individual needs only the necessary access to perform their duties. However, permission exceptions need to be genuine and kept under check.

Use Layered Defenses

The weaknesses of each system reduce when you develop your defense in layers.

Layering several forms of protection is genius. Ideally, you need to combine physical barriers with electronic key management for access control.

Also, incorporate micro-layers into your security framework, such as the need for several kinds of authentication. For instance, you can use a biometric control panel combined with a PIN code.

What Is The Most Common Form Of Physical Access Control?

In the past, workplace access control was primarily based on control over physical structures and individual doors. Notably, key locks have been the standard and inexpensive physical control devices for ages.

However, with an increasing need for enhanced safety, new security systems relying on substitutes for physical barriers and doors have significantly turned.

Nowadays, the most common form of access control is through computerized electronic systems.

For more insight into modern physical access control systems, visit Sesamsec and choose one that suits your needs.


Physical access control is not just about controlling what is seen as an immediate danger to sensitive areas. It controls access to resources and the tools used within those areas. Physical access control strives to limit environmental damage, control and enhance workspace uses and provide facilities for effective communication.


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