In general, access control refers to the implementation of restrictions to gain admittance to certain information or an area. Access control can be physically implemented in which authorities deploy manpower to give or deny access permission. Access control can also be granted or turned down via locks, card, or login passwords.
It is common for movies to portray characters gaining access to premises by providing their fingerprints, iris scan, or facial features while on the other hand, there are always culprits that try to steal their entry by reproducing or faking these biometric informations.
To what extent are these portrayals true?
Indeed, most of the time, these portrayals are accurate to only a certain extent. In reality, access control is a challenging task especially in a large organizational setting.
This is because while making sure that the right personnel gain access to the right information or area so that he or she can perform his or her duties, there is also the worry that too many people are able to have access to these restricted areas or information, which defeats the whole purpose of having control.
There had been incidences whereby individuals violated their access right by exposing certain corporate secrets or confidential data such as tax or transaction records etc.
Granting access becomes trickier these days as employees tend to have overlapping responsibilities or changing duties. Often, even the companies themselves have a hard time deciding who and when should control over certain areas or information be released.
Besides, the tailgating problem continues to persist. Tailgating refers to following closely behind a legitimate person who can have access to the restricted area. Sometimes, it can also be that the legitimate person is holding onto the door for another to gain access to the control premise.
Tailgating can be prevented mostly by basic security training, planting manual operators, or installation of a turnstile. Hence, the risk put forward by tailgating may not be as great as leaving the entrance open by careless individuals.
A well-equipped access control system should come with a monitoring alarms to go off when a part of the premise is not enclosed properly, as such, minimising the possibility of intrusion. It is also necessary and essential for the access control system to withstand different weather conditions.
In summary, movies only shown us the “cool” parts of access control, neglecting completely the details that go behind them. Next time when you come across a place which requires special access, do pay attention to the niceties that movies never speak about.