Access Control

Access Control

We supply and install electronic door locks, swipe card systems, magnetic and solenoid locks and door phones / restricted entry systems for businesses in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

  • Restrict employees to areas
  • keep information/stock safe
  • Monitor employee movement
  • FREE maintenance
  • Live Data

Citytalk provide a free of charge site survey with all of our access control systems. This free survey is important to ensure that each customer's requirements are fully understood as there is a large range of different types of access control hardware available and choosing the right type of access control equipment for your individual business requirements is critical to designing and delivering a system that maintains a high level of security, provides ease of use and remains within budget. 

Access control systems allow businesses to secure all or part of their premises and restrict access to sensitive areas to individuals or groups of authorised people. Modern access control systems allow large bunches of keys to be replaced with a single method of authorisation such as a swipe card or a touch key which can open as many or as few locks as required. For high-security applications, two forms of identification can be combined to form a two-factor authentication system such as requiring both a swipe card and a code to be entered, or a swipe card and a fingerprint / eye scan to be performed.


Access Control System Benefits

Access control systems have the following benefits over traditional master key systems

  • One swipe card or touch key can open as many locks as desired by the customer
  • New employees can be quickly added and old employees can be quickly removed from the system
  • All access requests can be logged by the system with a time and date stamp for auditing purposes
  • Time of day rules can be created to only allow access within certain hours
  • Locks can be opened remotely if desired by authorised personnel e.g. door entry phone systems
  • Locks can be opened remotely if desired in an emergency e.g. fire alarm activation
  • Different types of locks can be fitted to different types of doors. e.g. Magnetic locks for lower security internal doors, Solenoid locks for higher security external doors
  • Access control locks easily be integrated with existing traditional key locks maintaining the security of external doors
  • Access control locks can be supplied to fail-secure i.e. remain locked or fail-safe i.e. become unlocked in a power failure
  • Battery backup can be provided to maintain operation during power failure

We provide the following access control equipment

  • Access control systems
  • Electronic locks
  • Electric Strike / Solenoid locks
  • Magnetic (Mag) locks
  • Swipe card access
  • Touch key / touch card access
  • PIN / code pads / number pads
  • Biometric access inc: fingerprint / iris / eye scanners
  • Two factor authentication
  • Fail-safe locks
  • Fail-secure locks
  • Battery backup / power failure protection
  • Door entry phones / video entry phones
  • Computerised access logging


Forms of authentication

Magnetic Swipe Cards

Magnetic Swipe Card - The most commonly seen application for magnetic swipe cards is hotel room keys. Cards with a magnetic strip similar to a credit card are swiped through a reader in the door. They provide a basic form of authentication that is cost effective but not as secure or reliable as other forms of authentication as the magnetic stripe is easily corrupted and provides no security against duplication. For this reason, magnetic swipe cards are gradually being replaced by touch card authorisation (see below) as touch cards are more difficult to copy than magnetic cards and provide much higher levels of management and security. Citytalk recommends touch card authentication as an alternative to magnetic swipe cards in new installations.

Touch Keys

Touch Keys / Touch Cards - Currently the most popular form of authentication for new installations. Touch keys come in many different shapes and can look like small key fobs or cards that look like credit cards without a magnetic stripe. Touch keys are often built into employee identification (ID) cards which have a photograph of the employee printed on the front. Touch key devices are used by holding them against an electronic reader which scans them and verifies their identity. Each touch key contains a tiny microchip which stores a unique code. There are billions of unique codes which means that each key can be programmed to access as many or as few doors as required. Touch keys are powered by touching them against the reader pad which means that they are very durable, completely waterproof and have no batteries or parts that wear out. Programming is usually applied to the reader and not the key. This means that new keys can be added and old keys deleted very easily from a central location.


PIN / Code pads - Often used for areas of lower security and regular access, PIN pads provide a way of many employees accessing a frequently visited area such as a staff or stock room. Different codes can be set to identify different employees for auditing and time of day based access control if required. Code access provides simple method of securing an area but does not offer the same level of security as token based authentication such as touch keys as codes can easily be shared with non authorised personnel even when this is not desired. PIN pads are often used to boost security of token based authentication to form a two-factor authentication system when a PIN is required to be entered in addition to a touch key.

Door Entry Video Phone

Door entry phones / Video entry phones - Frequently installed at front doors and unattended reception areas a door entry phone provides a way of callers to the business contacting a receptionist elswhere in the building who can open the door remotely to the caller if desired. Door entry phones can provide two way audio conversation or two way audio and one way video if desired. Many door entry phones can also include optional touch key readers and PIN pads to enable authorised employees to open the door without needing to contact the receptionist. Modern door entry phones supplied by Citytalk can interface to our range of Fixed Line Telephone Systems which enable 'calls' from the door phone to be delivered to any nominated desk phone and answered and opened by a number of different employees according to your requirements.

Fingerpint Reader

Biometric access - This is the name given to forms of authentication that measure personal features such as fingerprints, iris or retina scans and voice print identification. Once the preserve of Sci-Fi films and ultra high security applications, biometric authentication is being deployed within modern access control systems more frequently than ever before. Advantages of biometrics include no tokens to carry, no PINs to remember and accurate identification of authorised individuals without risk of token or PIN sharing or theft. Biometric authentication can be combined with one or more forms of traditional authentication such as token or PIN access to provide two-factor authentication in high security environments.


Two-Factor Authentication - High security environments may combine authentication methods to form a two-factor authentication system. Examples of such systems may be a token based system such as a touch key combined with a PIN pad, or biometrics such as a fingerprint reader combined with a PIN pad. Two-factor authentication systems have a number of advantages over single factor systems: Loss or theft of a token cannot exploited without also knowing the PIN and for lone workers and protection of high value goods, a special PIN can be programmed into the system called 'duress' code. If an employee is forced by an intruder divulge their PIN, they can give the duress code which will open the door but also silently alert a monitoring centre who can call the Police.

Forms of locking

Magnetic Lock

Magnetic locks - Commonly used for lower security doors and internal applications. This type of lock has uses an electro-magnet attached to the door frame which contacts and holds a metal plate attached to the door. This type of lock is popular because it is inexpensive and easy to install to most types of existing doors and door frames. Mag-locks work well to supplement existing locking systems such as lever locks which enable to door use access control within business hours and be mechanically locked outside of business hours. Mag-locks are a fail-safe type of lock as they use electricity to hold closed and will release in the event of a power failure. To prevent this happening, battery backup systems are often installed where specified which provide power for several hours in the event of a power cut. In exactly the same say as a traditional mechanical lock will fail if enough force is applied, all magnetic locks may be forced open if enough force is applied. The security level of a magnetic lock is determined by the amount of force taken to overcome the magnetic field holding the door closed.

Electric Strike Lock

Electric Strike or Solenoid Locks - Commonly used for higher security applications, this type of lock consists of a special electrically operated 'strike plate' that is installed within the door frame which works in conjunction with a traditional cylinder lock such as a Yale lock installed on the door. One advantage over a magnetic lock is that the door can always be opened with a key inserted in the cylinder lock or remotely using the electric release. This type of lock is more time consuming to install than a magnetic lock due to the need to recess the electric strike plate within the door frame but it's fail-secure operation allows it to remain locked in the event of a power failure. This makes an electric strike lock a more suitable choice for an external door than a magnetic lock. Electric-strike locks are commonly seen used in conjunction with door entry phone systems at the front doors of business premises and can be often be recognised by the optional distinctive buzzing noise made when they are released to signal that the door can be opened.

Contact us today on 01296 744310 to discuss your requirements.

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