This article looks at three reasons why should opt for a dedicated intrusion detection system instead of using the access control system.
While it is certainly possible to connect detectors and devices to an access control system for monitoring doors, panic buttons and other devices, it may not be the best option in all circumstances.
This is a big one, as most insurance companies will require medium to high risk corporate buildings to have a graded intrusion detection system fitted if the building does not have a 24 hour staffed security presence.
Take care here also that installations are carried out in line with current standards and best practice, there is no point in paying a premium for a Grade 3 intrusion detection system if it is not fitted correctly as the system will not achieve the level of performance required by the grading.
Due to the volume of false alarm calls, unless a building falls within a specific set of criteria, police will not automatically attend a site where the intrusion detection system has activated.
Usually the alarm is sent to an alarm receiving centre who may attempt to visually verify alarm using video surveillance if they have access to it, if they cannot verify the alarm, they will contact a registered key holder and ask them to attend the site and investigate.
If a dedicated intrusion detection system is fitted, it is possible to configure the system to alarm if multiple devices in different areas, or perhaps two different sensor types simultaneously activate one after the other, this is called sequential confirmation.
Sequential confirmation is seen as a more reliable indicator of a genuine intrusion attempt as whilst it is possible for one sensor to trigger an alarm if it malfunctions, the chances of two detectors activating one after the other is highly unlikely.
In this situation, the alarm receiving centre is more likely to call the police and treat it as a confirmed alarm immediately, or where the site meets the necessary criteria, the intrusion detection system will directly trigger a police response.
Whilst multiple detectors can be fitted to an access control system, it may not be possible to group them into logical zones.
This reduces the situational awareness that the security officer has as they will just see events and alarms coming into the access control system but may not know exactly where the alarm is, particularly if the officer is new to the site.
This impact can be reduced by using graphical mapping solutions as part of a security management system or advanced access control system.
These graphical mapping solutions allow the system designer to import a floor plan of the building and logically place devices onto the map so they security officer can visually see where the alarm is.
With a dedicated intrusion detection system, the detectors are grouped into discrete zones to divide the building up logically and allow people to clearly understand which zones are which, making it much easier to arm and disarm zones.
The best of both worlds?
There is however a middle ground – integration.
By integrating the access control system and a dedicated intrusion detection system together, usually by a serial interface between the intrusion detection panel and the door controller.
We can then see all the events and alarms from the intrusion detection system within the access control system – this immediately increases the capability of the security officer to identify what is going on, especially where graphical mapping is in use.
The major benefit of this is it reduces false alarms.
With a non integrated system, a user has to present their card to the access control system and then go to a separate keypad to disarm the intrusion detection system.
This could mean that someone that has valid access control permissions, but does not have the necessary key fob or PIN code to disarm the intrusion detection system could trigger a false alarm, especially where different areas of the building are armed and disarmed throughout the day.
By integrating the two systems, we can tell the access control system to disable anyone entering the door once the area is armed unless they are an authorised key holder and is able to disarm the intrusion detection system.