What are credentials for access control

What are credentials for access control

Credentials are frequently used in many different businesses and are defined as “personal authentication.” Generally speaking, it alludes to a technique for confirming a person’s legitimacy. The best examples are identification cards and other kinds of certificates. A credential is an authentication used in access control technology to demonstrate the right to access, where “access” refers to the act of physically entering and leaving a certain door. Access control credentials come in a variety of forms, such as access keys, passwords, access cards, biometrics, and cellphones.

History of access control credentials

The lock and key was the earliest kind of credential utilized in access control. The first key ever used by humans was created in Mesopotamia around 4000 BC. Surprisingly, the way it works isn’t all that different from modern technology. Prior to the 19th century AD, the complexity of important technologies had increased during the previous 6,000 years.

A new kind of credential, the password, was introduced in 1857 with the development of a lock that could be accessed using a keyboard. A digital combination of keys and passwords in a convenient new form of authorization was created utilizing RFID cards about 150 years later, at the end of the 20th century.

Then, in the 2000s, biometric technologies started to emerge, giving rise to a completely new concept of credentials that was unlike anything the world had ever seen. Mobile authentication cards for smartphones were introduced as mobile usage increased in the late 2010s, providing another incredibly secure method of authenticating identity and access credentials.

Access control credentials have evolved

Keys and passwords cannot technically be considered legitimate credentials. They can only be used as credentials if the correct person possesses them, but if the incorrect person gets hold of them, they grant non-discriminatory access. Keys and passwords have this drawback, making it difficult to monitor who enters and leaves the building. The owner must reset the lock or the password if the key or password is compromised. In general, keys and passwords work well for restricting access to private areas for a select few persons, but not for enormous amounts of traffic in public areas.

RFID access cards were created to get around these constraints. It is possible to identify which RF card is used to enter and depart a certain door since each one has a unique number incorporated into it. Additionally, RF cards are better suited for access control kits in high-traffic areas because they can be individually deactivated in the event of loss. Unique numbers are pre-programmed into RFID cards for secure access control.

However, because they might still end up in the wrong hands, RF cards are still troublesome as access control credentials. Although RF card authentication can identify the card’s owner, it does not guarantee that the user of the card is also the card’s authorized user. Due to this restriction, RF cards are unable to guard against credential misuse.

Here, biometrics starts to stand out as a more secure option to RF card technology. Credential misuse is impossible since biometrics rely on individuals’ unique biometric traits. The development of fingerprint recognition software and other biometric readers has boosted the biometrics sector, but the Covid-19 epidemic has brought about quick modifications. AI-based facial recognition solutions have fast supplanted fingerprint detection, which necessitates physical touch, in response to the demand for contactless innovation. As it extends the special advantages of biometrics to presence-free registration and contactless authentication, AI-powered facial recognition is in demand in a rapidly expanding sector.

The most recent development in access control credentials is mobile apps. Another possible approach to overcoming the drawbacks of RF cards and satisfying the intricate specifications for contactless technology brought on by the Covid-19 epidemic is the new mobile access card technology. These days, smartphones provide all the information we want for daily life, including financial and personal data. Mobile cards put on a smartphone are a more trustworthy identity card than RFID access keys, as it is already widely acknowledged that smartphones are personal gadgets that are not typically shared with other people. Additionally, the possibility of a security breach is fully eliminated if the mobile card is set up using FIDO-based biometrics that are integrated into the smartphone. Mobile credentials are also issued remotely (for example, via text message) and used via a smartphone’s Bluetooth or NFC capabilities, satisfying the demand for contactless communication interactions with the pandemic as opposed to conventional cards or radio tags that must be physically issued and delivered.

The advancement of access control credentials will be made by facial recognition and mobile applications in the future.

We can assume that ideal credentials should offer the following based on the evolution of access control credentials depicted above:

  • being able to identify who actually entered and exited the building;
  • Revocation of access authorization; impediment to the transfer of access authorization;
  • the capacity to conduct every necessary transaction in a contactless manner, assuming that the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the need for contactless interactions won’t be fleeting.

The best alternatives for these four access control credential criteria, which represent a new stage in the evolution of access control credentials, are AI-based face recognition and mobile access cards. We have developed two great kinds of credential authorization, which are likely to become the industry standard in the future, using knowledge collected over 6,000 years of access control development.