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31 Mar, 2022

Top 4 Reasons on Why Anti-Passback offers Absolute Security

When you think of access control, you usually think of a set of rules and behaviors to be followed for using doors to enter any area. In an access control system, these rules are set by the organization’s owner or the appointed admin to make sure that each and every person passing through any door – or in technical terms, access point – of the premises is accounted for. Anti-Passback

Now, there are various features in an access control system that put these directives in action. These features are programmed to grant or deny access in specific situations as configured by the admin. Today, we’re going to discuss one such important feature of access control that has become quite popular, especially in large organizations – Anti-passback.

Anti passback System


What is Anti-passback?

The term ‘anti-passback’ by definition means not being allowed to pass through an area a second time. In the context of access control, anti-passback or APB is a security protocol that allows entry to an access card once, but the same card cannot be used for entry again until the system registers it exiting the particular area first.

Sounds confusing? Let’s take an example of a hospital to understand anti-passback in access control better.

Imagine you are visiting your friend in the hospital. The hospital’s policy allows only one person to enter the patient’s room at a time. You get a visitor card from security that you swipe and enter the floor where your friend’s room is. Now, suppose another friend also wants to visit and asks you to sneak them in by swiping your card at the floor’s entry point again. Under the anti-passback access control rule, the hospital’s system will not grant entry a second time on your card till the time you swipe it at the exit point and leave the floor. In this way, APB will make sure that at one time, only one visitor is allowed.

Areas where APB is the most effective

  • High-security areas in military bases or government offices
  • Medical research centers, laboratories, and hospitals
  • Manufacturers or storage facilities of highly sensitive materials like hazardous chemicals
  • Parking areas
  • Train stations
  • Office areas that contain important documents or the central network server
  • Factory floors where dangerous machines are being operated
  • Amusement parks

Advantages of Anti-Passback in Access Control

APB mainly controls unsupervised re-entries to any premises. This can fortify an area in a lot of ways.

Improved Safety and security

Anti-passback reduces the possibilities of access frauds like tailgating or piggybacking, making your premises more secure, giving you more control. For hospitals, pharma companies, and research centers, APB improves safety standards by putting a strict check on access permissions to sensitive areas like chemical storage, sample storage, etc.

Clear headcount of people

Since an anti-passback in access control system doesn’t allow you to re-enter an area before leaving it first, the admin can get a clear idea of who is present in the room. This is the most useful in places where you need to keep a strict limit on the number of people present.

Access management discipline

Access card users cannot share each other’s cards for wrongful access, thus preventing misuse. APB promotes sincerity and discipline in the organization by tracking the “in” and “out” punches of each card, thereby catching manipulators, easily.

Anti-loitering behavior

In many office buildings, like research centers, there are certain sensitive areas where employees aren’t supposed to linger for more than necessary. With APB, the entry and exit times get logged in the system, indicating the duration someone spends in a room. So, if a person is hanging out in an area without any business, the admin can track them and ask them to leave.

Types of Anti-Passback

Now that we understand how anti-passback in access control benefits us, let’s look at the various types of APB protocols that exist.

Hard Anti-Passback

This is the most basic and the strictest form of APB where a violation of the rule triggers the access control system to completely deny access to the card in violation. The anti-passback in access control system generates an alarm indicating a potential problem or an operational breach. It also records the events of the breach or violation as a transaction in the system’s log for future reference. Hard anti-passback is the best for areas that demand a high level of security.

Soft Anti-Passback

Soft APB does allow a user to enter an area in spite of the rule’s violation but records this event in the system for reference. Basically, the decision to allow or deny access to the card the next time something like this happens rests with the admin/owner under soft anti-passback. It does not immediately block the user as hard anti-passback does but remains aware of the user’s transaction and status. Soft anti-passback establishes a more user-friendly atmosphere and is mostly used with time and attendance applications.

Timed Anti-Passback

Timed APB restricts entry to the same card twice in an area for the specified duration. This is useful in areas where exit readers aren’t present. If you use your card to enter an area that has a timed APB limit of 30 minutes, you won’t be able to share your card with another user within that time who wants to gain entry with the help of your card.

Logical Anti-Passback

Logical APB is used in areas where strict access control is a must. This anti-passback in access control system requires card readers that grant both IN and OUT access at both the entry and exit doors. In a room with doors A and B, if you go in through door A, the system will let you in again even through door B, but only if you have swiped your card at the exit point of B and vice versa.

Therefore, no matter whichever door you want to enter from, the system must first register your card as “exit” at its opposite access point. If you violate this rule, you won’t be able to gain access to the area unless the admin resets your APB permission in the system.

Timed Logical Anti-Passback

Under this rule, if a user tailgates another out of a particular area, they will be allowed to enter again but will have to wait till the specified duration in the system to reset their permission. This rule doesn’t deny access to the user up front, however, it does record the event in the system for the admin’s reference.

Local Anti-Passback

The Local APB rule works individually for each controller in an access control system. Every controller has a few doors that it covers access for. Local APB will enable you to set different anti-passback rules for different controllers, like setting hard APB for the doors under controller A and soft APB for the doors under controller B. With anti-passback systems under SPECTRA, access control systems also have a provision to reset this rule as per the admin’s wishes.

Global Anti-Passback

Global APB is the same as Local anti-passback, but the rule applies to all the controllers in the system – global APB has a universal application in an access control system. This rule also has the facility of being reset for the users.

Anti-Passback Systems – SPECTRA

At SPECTRA, we aim to offer the most cutting-edge technology to solve real-life identity and access management problems. We anticipated the current popularity and practical applications of anti-passback in access control which is why we have incorporated this essential security feature in most of our product offerings. Our solutions support all types of anti-passback measures and allow for full flexibility when applying these rules.

Check out our wide range of products here:

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