Closeup of mobile phone being used to obtain access through a security checkpoint

Access control systems monitor who is on your premises and what assets they can access

You’ve got a business to run (and a life to live) and can’t be everywhere at once. With employees, vendors and customers moving about on your premises, it’s important you know who they are and what assets – cash, electronics, equipment, supplies, data and more – they have access to.

An access control system…well…controls physical access to your assets. In its most simple form, think of it like a lock and key. In today’s systems, the lock and key are digitized for ease of administration, improved security and a better user experience.

Access control systems can be managed physically on-premise or virtually in the cloud.

It can be designed to work with your video, intrusion and fire detection systems to further enhance your business’ security.

Key components of an access control system

  • Management console: This is the administration system. Admins can set and manage access rules, monitor current access and review historical access.
  • Access device: In the good old days, this would be a physical key. Today’s access devices come in many shapes and forms like cards/badges, fobs and even apps on your mobile devices. They utilize technologies such as barcode, readable magnetic strip, RFID tag and Bluetooth that can be presented or detected near an access point.
  • Access point: This is the area you want to control access to and its entry point. These digitized locks utilize a particular technology to operate. Some access points require an access device to make physical contact, like swiping or holding a card up to a reader or punching a code into a keypad. Some access points are contactless, meaning they can proximally sense a nearby access device (like a fob in your briefcase or a card on your person) without placing the access device to the reader. And, some access points are biometric, like hand, voice or eye scanners.
  • Visitor management console: This is a special, limited system for external users. They can self-register, capture their photo, print temporary visitor security credentials and sign out at departure. Not all businesses need a visitor management console.

How to choose an access control system?

Businesses considering an access control system should think through these questions:

  • 1

    Does your industry have any specific compliance requirements? Your access control system should adhere to any standards set by or followed within your industry.

  • 2
    What assets do you want to protect? A large clinical system with multiple locations will have very different assets to protect than a small consulting business operating from a single office location. And, don’t forget about non-physical assets like access to data. Electronic data needing protection may require additional features like multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption and more.
  • 3

    How are the assets accessed? How many access points need to be controlled? Look for a system that accommodates all types of your various access points.

  • 4
    Who should have access to assets…and who shouldn’t? Look for a system that can accommodate types and levels of users. Consider if visitors should be allowed to self-register and obtain instant access, or if you’ll need more robust credentialing.
  • 5

    What is your budget? There are a couple of components to the cost of an access control system. Upfront costs include the hardware (e.g., devices and readers), software and installation. Recurring costs include software license or subscription fees, plus ongoing costs for maintenance, IT and administrative staff.

  • 6

    What other security and management systems do you have in place? A standalone access control system most likely will not be that useful, particularly over time. Look for a system that can integrate with your other tools.

Compu-Gen Technologies offers digital access control systems designed specifically for your needs

There are many access control systems out there, but one size does not fit all or even most. We work with industry-leading vendors and will help determine the best access control system for you.

Our solutions secure your assets and allow you to easily manage credentials and access points and monitor current and historical activity.

And, we offer an entire suite of solutions to create a holistic system for you including video and other security systems, managed IT support, telecommunications, point of sale systems and merchant services.

Receive our latest information and news in your email
Table of contents
Related articles
Receive our latest information and news in your email
Related articles