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What is a Physical Access Control System (PACS)?

Published
January 17, 2024
Man using a swipe card at a physical access control system

It is an electronic system that monitors access to protected or classified areas, by means of authentication and authorization at all access points.

A PACS has many uses and consequent benefits. The two most important are how they secure the building or area from intruders, and the second is the impact they have on enhancing the user journey in the premises. It has revolutionized physical security by implementing methods of digital transformation in how the security measures are implemented. While manual entry/exit control is still practiced, users now have digitized alternatives available to them.

PACS makes use of swipe cards, PIN, and key fobs to grant easy access to authorized personnel. It can also be customized, according to individual security and access requirements.

Some other authentication methods that are quickly gaining traction are mobile phone enabled authentication, and biometrics.

Aside from securing a building from external and internal intrusion, physical access control systems also factor into the healthcare industry. Hospitals, clinics, and other physical sites that dispense medical care are high-security zones when it comes to confidentiality and information security. Installing a PAC ensures compliance with safety regulations.

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