Skip to content
Photo by iStock​​

Book Review: Electronic Access Control

​Electronic Access Control, Second Edition. By Thomas L. Norman. Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS;; item #2954; 576 pages; $82 member; $86 nonmember.

Security practitioners looking to learn about physical access control systems can find what they’re looking for in the second edition of Electronic Access Control. The book addresses basic access control concepts that each security practitioner should know, as well as advanced designs and technologies related to physical access control.

The author uses a simple structured approach to address concepts, designs, and technical challenges in layers to ensure a smooth buildup of knowledge. Because it addresses design and functional specifications, as well as operational challenges, the book is an excellent reference for security engineers, security system designers, maintenance technicians, and security operations leaders.

The book contains in-depth information about access control system designs, readers, doors, locks, and the backend software that governs the system. This second edition has added a focus on biometrics, new technologies (locks, network devices, and alarm and video integration), cloud-based systems, and open source solutions. 

Besides addressing design and equipment requirements, the book also discusses vulnerability of existing designs and systems. It takes on important concepts that are often overlooked in security systems, such as force multipliers and integration. Moreover, the book successfully relates the architectural design of the facility and the proposed access control system. This link can make or break an implementation of an access control system at any operational facility. 

Author Thomas Norman, CPP, PSP, has created a useful technical and operational guide for security access control systems. This detailed book is well organized, with chapter summaries that emphasize the important points, and can serve as a valuable reference for security professionals. 

Reviewer: Khalid Al-Ghamdi, CPP, PSP, is the head of security engineering and projects for Saudi Aramco. He is an ASIS Petrochemical, Chemical and Extractive Industry Security Council member and an assistant regional vice president for ASIS Region 12A.​