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23 Apr 2021

BLOG: Do you know the 3 core types of access control?

CDVI Stand: 4/E15

When you think about it, the advantages of access control are clear. Employees, customers, products, data, and equipment can all be protected with a system that covers the whole facility.

What Is an Access Control System?

In a nutshell, access control is a technology-based security system that grants authorised individuals access to specific areas/buildings/rooms via a tag, card, or biometric data. Access control systems come in three variations: Mandatory Access Control (MAC), Discretionary Access Control (DAC) and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).


The Three Types of Access Control Systems

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

This type of access control has the most strictly controlled security settings. Mandatory Access Control is generally utilised in organisations that need an increased emphasis on the security and confidentiality of data (i.e. military, financial, or government institutions).

MAC doesn’t permit the end user to determine who has access to a facility or unit; instead, only the owner and system administrator can manage permissions. With MAC, the administrator will typically classify each individual end user and provide them with a status which allows them to gain entry through some points of access, but not others, based on established security guidelines.

The best CDVI solution for MAC would be an ATRIUM A22K encrypted controller integrated with ievo biometric readers. For an extra level of security, enable data encryption and spoof detection features on ievo readers. Moreover, K2 MIFARE® DESFire® readers, combined with EV2 credentials are easy to use and ensure end-to-end encryption between the card, reader and A22K door controller – preventing card cloning. Makes high security easy! 


Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

Discretionary Access Control is a user-based access control system which is the complete opposite of mandatory access.

This type of security is usually primarily suitable for small premises with perhaps one or two doors. With discretionary access control, the end user independently determines security level settings by directly granting access to others, i.e. lending them a key card or telling them a pre-determined code.

It is therefore unsuitable for large premises or premises protecting sensitive information, where levels of access must be delegated and/or monitored. 

A standalone access control system is the simplest form of access control and is well suited to DAC, as all the components of the system can be controlled from the entry point itself. CDVI offers a variety of standalone solutions, including the STAR1M controller, an innovative 2-in-1 solution for both standalone and online access control.


Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

RBAC is the most commonly requested form of access control for commercial security projects. 

RBAC is also known as Non-Discretionary Access Control. It grants access to employees based on their job role in the organisation. The job roles define where and when they can access particular areas, as well as how often they can enter them. So, rather than assigning individuals the permission to access each specific area, the system administrator need only assign permissions to specific job titles.

The RBAC system is best utilised in large organisations that need extensive security measures. Defining a person’s permissions based on their job role rather than per individual means you can greatly streamline the process of registering and managing user permissions for groups of people.

Grouped access permissions such as these are best controlled by a highly customizable system such as the intelligent CENTAUR system. CENTAUR access control offers you a complete entry solution. From a single door system to a complex multi-site installation with numerous card holders and security levels. This system’s functional can expand over into access levels per site. Designed for high performance, reliability, durability, and seamless integration.


Get In Touch

This has been a short summary of the different types of access control available on the market. For more detailed information or advice on which access control type to choose for your project, get in touch with our team of highly-trained experts on

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