Skip Navigation

Toll Free: 1-800-995-0189 | Corporate: 410-997-0188 | Delmarva: 410-213-0218 | Western, MD: 301-729-1968

Physical Access Control: Building a Better Security System with ARK Systems

The term access control is actually fairly vague, covering a wide range of security products, services, and devices. These security solutions include security officers, locks and keys, access cards, key fobs and readers, combination locks, biometric systems, and so much more. And each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Locks and Keys


  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to install.
  • An excellent option for low security applications.


  • Keys are easily lost or duplicated.
  • Rekeying can be an expensive process when a key is lost.
  • Lock picking is a very real problem.

Access Cards and Key Fobs

Access/ID cards fall into four broad categories: Magnetic stripe cards, proximity cards, proximity smart cards and contact smart cards.


  • Recommended for high security applications.
  • Electronic access cards cannot be picked, unlike lock and key access control systems.
  • Easily identify authorized user to the access reader.
  • Can be programmed with access windows restricting access days and hours.
  • Key fob devices have the advantage of longer range operation.
  • Proximity cards and smart cards are resistant to damage or duplication.
  • Smart proximity cards are capable of carrying more information than access cards.
  • Contact smart cards incorporate a microprocessor capable of carrying large amounts of information.
  • Can include features to detect doors left ajar and unauthorized entry.
  • Can allow automatic lock down, saving lock-up man hours while increasing security.


  • The installation of access card or key fob systems can be expensive.
  • Cannot identify unauthorized users using a stolen card.
  • Magnetic stripe access cards are the least secure and easiest to duplicate and are susceptible to damage.
  • Certain proximity smart cards utilize a small battery, which can directly affect the lifespan of the card.
  • Contact smart cards are expensive and prone to ware.



  • These systems measure some aspect of an individual – including iris scan, fingerprint scan, facial recognition, hand geometry, etc. – to confirm their identity. When a card credential is presented to a reader, the biometric device can confirm that the person requesting entry matches the biometric data stored in the system or the card.
  • Biometrics is a new field with almost constant improvements and breakthroughs.


  • As a newer security technology, Biometric scanners still have a few kinks to work out and are not the most reliable security option available.

And Much More!

For any further questions on Physical Access Control, simply contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today.

When you consider how crucial security can be, and when you think of all the options that you’re faced with today, one thing becomes clear. You need a contractor with experience. For assessment, design, installation, testing and service, ARK is the expert across the board.

Check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well!

RedCloud Awarded Patent for Pioneering Technology that Integrates Physical and Logical Security Systems


The Ins and Outs of Physical Access Control

This entry was posted on Friday, June 15th, 2012 at 6:02 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Contact Information

Do you have questions or concerns abour our products or services? Feel free to use the provided information to let us know how we can help you.