Security Begins With Controlled Access Turnstiles
Security is a rising concern in the world today. From hackers accessing valuable information to intruders threatening the safety of people and property, companies are recognizing the need for better security. To improve the physical security of buildings and facilities, one of the best options is often the use of turnstiles to control employee and visitor access.
Benefits of Turnstiles over Doors
The following highlights the advantages of using a turnstile rather than a door, including improved security, effective integration with the facility’s access control system and increased operational flexibility.
- Improved Security
Turnstiles provide superior access control by both detecting and deterring unauthorized entries.
When entering a facility, often the first point of entry is through a door. A common solution to secure the facility is to add a card or biometric reader and electric locks to the door. While a reader and lock require a valid credential to unlock the door, it cannot control how long the door is open or how many people enter. Unauthorized individuals can follow authorized personnel through the secured door, resulting in a common security issue referred to as “tailgating”. Additionally, a door cannot isolate the direction of authorized passage. For instance, if a door is activated for entry, it will not be able to prevent exiting at the same time while it is open.
Unlike doors, turnstiles can limit the number of people who can enter or exit on each presented credential and control the direction of passage. In order to enter through a turnstile, a person must first present a valid credential. This signals the barriers to unlock and allows one person to pass before immediately relocking. Some turnstiles have enhanced detection features to recognize and notify of instances such as tailgating, loitering, and forced passage. An unauthorized entry attempt will trigger an alarm, notify the user and alert the control center of the conflict.
- Access Control Integration
The access control system allows turnstiles to work in conjunction with doors, cameras and other security equipment to ensure only specific cleared individuals are using the entry. It can provide useful information such as the specific identity, time, and location of each person who entered and exited the facility. The system displays live data used by management to track visitors, pinpoint alarm locations, and identify potential security threats.
When a user presents a credential, the access control system communicates with the turnstile whether or not the credential is valid and if the passage is allowed. Once a passage occurs, the turnstile immediately communicates back to the access control system that the passage has occurred. When presented with invalid credentials, the access control system signals the turnstile to notify the user that their credential was not accepted. When an alarm activates at the turnstile, the turnstile and access control system can function in unison to alert security, turn on nearby cameras and lock down the appropriate turnstiles and secondary doors.
- Operational Flexibility
Turnstiles enhance facility operations by streamlining the entry process.
Turnstiles accommodate a wide array of credential readers, allowing facilities the option of using virtually any type of media to authorize entry, including barcodes, magnetic stripe, proximity cards (RFID/NFC) or biometrics. Readers installed with the turnstiles allow users to present their own credentials to gain entry. The self-validation function lessens the burden on receptionists and security guards, allowing them to focus on their primary job functions instead of having to verify credentials.
Turnstiles can operate in a single direction or bi-directionally. Passage modes are independent for each direction and include free pass, controlled passage, or locked down. Free pass mode allows entry without authorization – often used when users are not required to card out to exit. Controlled passage requires a valid credential before permitting entry. The locked-down mode remains locked and does not allow entry, even when presented with a valid credential.
Management can schedule specific modes to activate at certain times of the day to meet operational requirements. For example, more turnstiles may be set as entry-only during morning hours when employees are arriving to work, then switched to exit-only in the afternoon when employees are leaving. Turnstiles can also be locked down at night and on weekends when the facility is closed. Turnstile modes are typically set through the access control system or, for more advanced turnstiles, controlled remotely using an application on the facility’s network.