Acuity - Clarity In A Complex World
Security Glossary
  • ACAMS (Access Control and Alarm Monitoring System)
    An electronic system or network of integrated systems designed to control physical access and monitor events such as intrusion.
  • Access Card
    A card, generally the size and shape of a credit card, containing encoded data. The data can be encoded in a variety of ways, sometimes including more than one encoding technology. (i.e. Magnetic Stripe, Proximity, Smart Card, Wiegand.)
  • Access Control
    The physical process of controlling who can access an area and when determined by what they have (an access card), what they know (a PIN), and/or something they are (biometrics).
  • Anti-Passback
    The process or software control that prevents a user from allowing someone else to utilize his or her access card to enter a specific access controlled point while the user is in the protected area. Typically this control is used in parking garages and highsecurity areas.
  • ASIS(American Society of Industrial Security)
    ASIS is a global organization dedicated to advancing security training and awareness. Besides providing a forum for information exchange for security professionals, ASIS offers three industry certifications: the Certified Protection Professional (CPP), the Physical Security Professional (PSP) and the Professional Certified Investigator (PCI).
  • Biometrics
    A family of products that electronically scans or reads unique traits of the human body for verification or identification purposes. Biometrics can utilize unique patterns of the iris, retina, hand geometry, or fingerprint.
  • Biometric Reader
    A device that stores enrolled templates of a unique human trait such as a fingerprint, hand geometry, voice, or retina pattern and looks for a match against a live presentation, to grant access to a secure area. Used as an alternate to card readers.
  • CAP Index
    CAP Index, Inc. is the world leader in crime forecasting, Since 1988, the company has provided innovative solutions for Fortune® 1000 corporations and government agencies looking to minimize a broad range of losses, including shortage, general liability, fraud, lawsuits and crimes against persons and property.
  • CDT (Construction Document Technology Certification)
    The Construction Documents Technology (CDT) Program provides a comprehensive overview for anyone who writes, interprets, enforces, or manages construction documents, and specifically CSI specifications. Project architects, engineers, contractors, contract administrators, material suppliers, and manufacturers’ representatives are all realizing the advantages of being Construction Documents Technologists. By being able to understand and interpret written construction documents, CDTs perform their jobs more effectively. By understanding the roles and relationships of all participants, CDTs improve communication among all members of the construction team, and facilitate a more comprehensive, better coordinated design, with significantly fewer problems and changes during construction.
  • Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
    Digital Video Recorder is the industry standard term applied to standalone and PC based systems that record video images to a computer hard drive providing high quality recording. DVR’s provide a quicker method of retrieving the recorded information unlike media such as VHS tapes and other equipment that stores information in a sequential manner.
  • Disarm
    The act of disabling or shunting a security system or portions of the system to ignore input signals that normally result in alarms. Disarming can occur with user intervention, such as pass codes entered into a keypad, or on schedule through a PC based Access Control System.
  • Door Control Relay
    The relay used to control the unlocking and locking functions of door hardware in an access control system.
  • Door Forced
    A door forced alarm is the resulting logical alarm that occurs at a portal when the door is sensed to be in an open state without an associated valid access card transaction or an associated REX signal.
  • Door Held
    The length of time that a portal can remain open after a valid access transaction or valid REX signal before a door held alarm is generated. (Also Door Open Time.)
  • Door Held Time
    The relay used to control the unlocking and locking functions of door hardware in an access control system.
  • Door Switch Monitor (DSM)
    A device, typically a magnetic based contact, installed in a door to detect the position of the door. The signal from a DSM is connected to a security system to report conditions such as “FORCED” and “HELD” and in instances where electrified locking hardware is included, relocking of the door.
  • Dual Technology
    Utilization of two different technologies in one device to increase reliability and functionality. Dual technology motion sensors, for example, use both passive infrared and microwave technology in order to reduce false alarms and increase detection.
  • Duress Alarm
    Utilization of two different technologies in one device to increase reliability and functionality. Dual technology motion sensors, for example, use both passive infrared and microwave technology in order to reduce false alarms and increase detection.
  • Exit Device
    Locking hardware designed to allow immediate exiting at all times, and does not require lever or knob rotation. Usually located on the perimeter doors of a building and always in the designated means of egress route. Sometimes referred to as panic hardware, the touchpad feature of the device allows doors to unlock and open by simply leaning on it.
  • Fail-Safe
    A lock that defaults to the “locked” position when power is removed. Requires power to go to an “locked” position.
  • Fail-Secure
    A lock that defaults to the “unlocked” position when power is removed. Requires power to go to a “unlocked” position.
  • Host Panel
    In a security system, an access control unit (ACU) that primarily provides services such as decision making, data base access, or special programs; the primary or controlling panel in a multiple ACU installation.
  • Interlock
    A pair or group of separate doors equipped with a control system that prevent the simultaneous opening of more than one door at a time. Clean rooms typically include an entry vestibule with a two door interlock that prevents opening the clean room door until the entry to vestibule door is fully closed and vice versa.
  • International Society of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC)
    The International Association of Professional Security Consultants, Inc. (IAPSC ), is the most respected and widely recognized consulting association in the security industry. Its rigid membership requirements ensure that potential clients may select from the most elite group of professional, ethical and competent security consultants available to them.
    The primary purpose of the IAPSC is to establish and maintain the highest set of standards for professionalism and ethical conduct in the industry. Our members are independent of affiliation with any product or service they may recommend in the course of an engagement, thus ensuring that the services they render are in the best interests of the client. Prospective members can be confident that membership in the organization will enhance their professional image and respect in the field.
  • Isolation Relay
    A relay used to isolate two different systems that must integrate with one another through contact closures, or when the controlling systems relays are underrated for the load.
  • Internet Protocol (IP)
    The Internet Protocol (IP) is one of a suite of protocols that make up the Ethernet transport system TCP/IP. IP breaks up video and access control information streams into packets that are sent to a server running video or access control management software.
  • Keypad
    A device that provides a localized user interface to control a security system or subsystem. Typically includes a numerical 10-key touchpad to allow entering of passcodes and commands.
  • Local Audible Alarm (LAL)
    A device used to annunciate locally an alarm condition or security violation.
  • Mag Lock
    Fail safe devices that require constant power to remain locked. They are comprised of a lock body, typically mounted to the door head jamb, and an armature plate which is mounted on the door stile. The armature plate is a passive piece of steel that pivots on its mount, and when aligned with the lock body in its powered state, is magnetically drawn together. Some mag locks are capable of providing up to 2000 lbs of holding force.
  • Magnetic Stripe
    The black or brown stripe that you see on your credit card, airline ticket or access card. The stripe is made up of tiny magnetic particles in a resin. The magnetic property of the stripe allows it to be encoded with a number of bits. In access control this data would include a facility code and card number.
  • Man Trap
    A method used to provide strict access control by preventing access at one specified entrance while another entrance is being utilized. Typically two doors, separated by an enclosed spaced, are interlocked. When one door is opened the second door is incapable of being opened.
  • Master Format 2004
    The Master Format 2004 is used in the architectural and construction industry as a common platform for project details. A division is assigned to various aspects of the construction specifications. Communications is Division 27. Electronic Security is Division 28
  • Network Video Recorder (NVR)
    A Network Video Recorder is a software or hardware based recording system used for IP cameras. Analogous to a Digital Video Recorder for analog video, the NVR can be a separate piece of hardware, or be software on a generic server.
  • Optical Turnstile
    An access control portal that utilizes optical beams (infrared sensors) to prevent tailgating and to grant or deny access into a facility. Units can control single or bidirectional pedestrian access.
  • Passive Infrared (PIR)
    Typically, a sensor device that can sense movement within a specific area and change the state of a set of internal contacts as a result. These contacts can then be wired to a Request to Exit point of an Access Control System for automated egress shunting when a person approaches an Access Point from inside a protected area. PIRs are also common burglar alarm sensors.
  • PE (Registered Professional Engineer)
    “Professional Engineer,” refers to a person engaged in the professional practice of rendering service or creative work requiring education, training and experience in engineering sciences, as well as the application of special knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences. A Professional Engineer is typically engaged for consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning and design of buildings or projects, and supervision of construction for the purpose of securing compliance with specifications and drawings for any such work. When your project requires the services of an engineer, be sure that he or she is properly licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Unlicensed persons are allowed to offer or perform professional engineering services only if they are working under the direction of a licensed engineer. Electrical engineers design the electrical systems in commercial buildings, educational facilities, and other projects. Electrical engineering generally includes the design of power distribution, lighting, communications, and other electrical based systems.
  • Portal
    A controlled break in a barrier between a more public and a more private space. The control could consist of a card reader on a locked access controlled door.
  • Proximity
    In access control terms, proximity refers to presenting an access card within the reader’s Radio Frequency (RF) field without having to make actual physical contact with the reader itself.
  • Proximity Reader
    A reader that employs a radio frequency link between the reader and the card (also known as prox reader and prox card). Encoded information is passed between the card and reader, usually supplying a unique pattern enabling identification of the cardholder.
  • Reader
    A device a cardholder presents his access card to that will read the card's encoded data and transmit it to an access control unit (ACU). The ACU then makes a decision as to what action to take as a result of that card read.
  • Request to Exit (REX)
    A device used to disable a door alarm, thus allowing valid exit through an access controlled door. Usually a motion detector but can also be a pushbutton.
  • Security Equipment Enclosure (SEC)
    A cabinet or enclosure containing security equipment or controls.
    Security Operations Center (SOC)
    The central commanded center location where security personnel monitor and respond to security and safety related incidents.
  • Shear Lock
    A type of magnetic lock installed flush in the head jamb of a door frame. The shear lock differs from a standard magnetic lock in that the holding force is based in the lateral -- or shear -- movement of the armature plate away from the lock body, rather than opposing tension direction.
  • Smart Card
    A card containing a microchip that can store significantly larger amounts of data than a standard magstripe or proximity card. Bank account details, Social Security Numbers and employee identification numbers are examples of data that can be stored on a Smart Card.
  • Storeroom Function
    The type of lock function most often specified on access control doors. The Storeroom Function lock is always locked from the unsecure side. If a key is used to open the door the lockset will always return to a locked state once the key is removed. This is referred to as a nightlatch by some manufacturers.
  • Supervision
    The electronic process of continually metering the integrity of an electrical circuit that connects signaling devices to a processing host panel. Supervision can measure up to 5 conditions and typically checks for shorts, open loops, and power failures
  • Tailgating
    Following an authorized and credentialed person through an access control point without having or using a separate valid credential.
  • Turnstile
    A physical barrier device used to manage pedestrian traffic flow and access control at a security checkpoint.
  • Vulnerability Assessment
    After in-depth conversations with the client, a list of the assets is agreed on, and then the risks to those assets are determined. This will include surrounding areas, and recommendations for protecting those assets.
  • Wiegand
    A communication protocol widely accepted as an industry standard in the manufacturing of access control equipment. Wiegand data is typically the protocol used between the reader and the host panel.