Access Control Overview – What You Need to Know

This access control overview will help you with the basics and prepare you for your project.

What is Access Control?

Access control for your building is the set of safety features that determine admission into your facility. Notably, the access can be as basic as a pin entry at a key pad or as tech savvy as using your fingerprint to open the door. Whatever your needs are, we can help you determine what works best.


What’s on the market?


While you’re upgrading your system, why not link it with time & attendance? Then, employees have one method of access and time keeping. This integration saves money and increases efficiency. Additionally, it provides reporting on both activities.

Integrated Solutions

As technology progresses, it seems to all be on our phones. So why not building access? To that end, our systems allow for access by employees and a special level of oversight for administrators on a mobile device. Accordingly, employees use their phone paired with an access device to gain entry to various areas.

Further, because this is an application-based credential, it cannot be lost. In this way, time wasting recredentialing is prevented.

Biometrics use the person’s distinct features to identify if they are allowed access. Options range from facial recognition to finger reading. Importantly, this  type of system ensures that their ‘key’ cannot be shared with others.

Notably, some states are starting to address the privacy of the user on biometric devices. Even though biometrics have been a fixture in the market for some time these state regulations are actively seeking to ensure bio-information protection. If you do choose biometrics, make sure you check your state’s privacy requirements for compliance.

BIPA

Complementary Integrations


While you’re upgrading your system, why not link it with time & attendance? Then, employees have one method of access and time keeping. This integration saves money and increases efficiency. Additionally, it provides reporting on both activities.

Video can be integrated with access control allows administrators access. As a result, only the proper individuals are gaining access to key areas. Your access control system can show you the corresponding video to verify the time of entry. Further, this integration allows you to monitor your whole facility when acting as your main video management software (VMS). 

You can have access points, loading docks, or virtually any space in view in seconds with this capability.

Partnerships That Deliver

Every organization is unique. Now, Information Controls can offer specific, integrated applications for your daily business practices. They will be integrated with the help of our team of developers. Further, we may be able to help you automate the flow of information between your third-party systems. This will simplify tasks and can produce time savings. Contact us today to see how we can fit your organization in ways others cannot.

Defining Some Industry Terms

When systems use PoE (Power over Ethernet), they are using your existing network infrastructure to provide power and data to the hardware. A single cable is used to provide both power and data to the units. In this way, you are leveraging your existing hardware and reducing costs. As a result, the additional costs associated with traditional systems are reduced by using PoE.

Software as a service (SaaS) references when a person or business buys a subscription to an application. For instance, if you use a music service and pay a monthly fee, you are using a type of SaaS. Critically, this subscription-style enables users to have the most up-to-date software at all times. This is a key advantage of SaaS. Additionally, users have the freedom to cancel whenever they like. Following is more information on about SaaS when we address cloud access software.

SaaS gives you freedom from tying your IT to updates and server maintenance.

On-premise is the access control industry’s term for licensed software. Importantly, when you use on-premise software, the software is owned outright by your organization. A one-time purchase price is assessed for this type and eliminates the need to pay continual fees for that piece of software.

Browser-based applications are accessible through common desktop browsers. A browser might be one such as Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. Users are able to control a wide variety of access control access through this access. Using your application and login, remote use is only limited to your connection.

Administration of the software using your browser allows you secure access remotely through desktop, tablet, or phone. Further, administrators can implement speedy change of user rights, remote passes, or unlocking doors.

Browser-based applications are easy to deploy and administer.

Not sure if you can be secured?

You may be surprised at what is available. There is a wide variety of hardware for many different types of doors or entrances. Call us today to determine what is possible.

6 Common Mistakes

Know what NOT to do. Download our FREE guide with the 6 most common mistakes people make when choosing an access control provider.

Download 6 Common Mistakes PDF

Consideration Checklist

When you begin your journey to selecting access control, you should first identify the most critical areas. To that end, review these key areas. You should evaluate these areas and understand how they will play into your decision.


  • Every business is different. A potential starting point to determining your access control needs is to decide exactly what you want secured. For example, you might need to allow employees access during their shift. Additionally, you may want to limit access to sensitive areas. Finally, you may want to restrict access to key areas. Regardless, your access control should be flexible.
  • Schedules can be used to restrict user access. Access can be limited to certain times or to automatically keep doors open during business hours or special events. Specifically, doing this can automate activities and reduce time spent managing these access doors.
  • Be sure to go with a system that eliminates the need for distribution of physical keys. For instance, having a system without physical keys reduces the need to rekey areas. Rekeying would otherwise be needed when employees are terminated and leave with the key.
  • By using an advanced access control system, you are able to see which employees are on-premise. Importantly, the access transactions are instantly logged so you can see who’s on-premise at all times.
  • Ask yourself what you want secured and why? There is no right way to secure a building and virtually any entrance can be secured. To demonstrate, are there spaces you thought might require additional security but weren’t sure how? Think critically about your most important areas and what is most valuable within your office or facility.
  • First, decide the number of doors you are interested in securing. This is the most critical question you have to answer as you begin. If you have one or just a few doors, you might have more freedom to choose which type you like. Conversely, if you have thousands of doors, your system will likely be different to accommodate the volume of entry points.
  • Remember that the doors you are considering may not all be on the outside of the building. Notably, securing critical areas include zones like server rooms or where sensitive personal information is stored. These sections are every bit as critical as how the building is accessed and by whom.
  • Now with WiFi capable hardware, you are able to control much more than just one building. Consequently, don’t forget about any gates, outbuildings, or other locations across town. When you have a systems that is browser-based with WiFi, you have extended capabilities. Be sure to put them on your list.
  • Don’t be worried about the cost of having to add doors later. Although, it is good to identify what you want when you have your initial install. Moreover, adding additional doors later to your system shouldn’t be a hassle even if you determine more should be secured. Critically, your systems should be able to easily add doors after the initial implementation.
  • You likely have an access system in place. What is that type? How happy or unhappy are you with that? Importantly, these questions should be asked to administrators, management, and employees. When you get more perspectives you will get a clearer picture of what is and isn’t working.
  • As you evaluate your new system with professionals, be sure to ask if your current system’s hardware or infrastructure may be used. For instance, there is an opportunity for savings by using existing systems. Further, using existing systems could enable you to achieve your new goals more effectively. Using some of the hardware that currently exists at your facility can be a big bonus.
  • There are many options for ID cards. Notably, some systems use proprietary technology. When this happens it could limit your buying options and will likely increase your cost. Further, proprietary hardware can also make upgrading costly and necessary.
  • One of the most important aspects of your access control system is the service and support you will get. To demonstrate, you should receive timely, responsive returned calls or quote requests. In addition, if you’re not getting the support you need in a timely fashion, you’re not with the right company.

Using your existing WiFi network, many possibilities are opened up. Using your existing network, your access control plan can (and should) allow your business to remotely control other areas like an exterior gate.

  • Almost as important as the number of doors for your installation is the question of how many card-holders you have and the different access requirements for each. With well-defined access levels, you can be assured that everyone has the access they need to their specific areas.  Does your organization often get visitors? Will they need credentials for access?
  • Administering the access levels needed can be assigned by a manager or multiple system administrators. Easily managing levels is an advantage of browser-based software – taking the load off of one person for administering all doors.
  • Temporary badges can be assigned to visitors and contractors within your access control system.

Are there highly valuable items or documents that require high security?

  • You may need several types of security throughout your facility. Guests may need different access than employees, while administrators might need full access. Additionally, there may be spaces within your facility that require more intense security (or another level of security). Where are those areas?
  • Enhanced security is available with an anti-passback feature. Users must follow a sequence in order to gain access and exit areas. This type of enhancement is particularly useful if your business has turnstiles at entry or tailgating issues with parking or entry. Ask us for more details.

Would it be helpful or even essential to be able to lock down your facility at a moment’s notice remotely?

  • How important is it for you to be able to access your facility remotely? Look for systems that function on smart devices. Browser-based systems can make this easier to achieve. If your access control has an app, that can increase your ability to administer the system.
  • A lock down feature is essential in any access system. Secure every door in your facility with one command yet provide access for first responders. This feature is built into both systems used by Information Controls for access.

Need Tech Support?

Our customer support portal is a centralized hub for the online support and project management tools we utilize with you to manage your Attendance on Demand or Attendance Enterprise system.