5 min read

What Does an Access Control System do?

What Does an Access Control System do?

What if you could control access to your business or office with the swipe of a digital key? Sounds like something out of a spy movie, right? Well, it’s not! Access control systems can do just that. With an access control system, you can prevent unauthorized access, and grant or restrict entry to specific individuals within your business premises. These systems are central to maintaining physical access control. 

This means you can tailor who has access to different areas of your business based on job role and department. Businesses use electronic access control systems for a number of reasons: they create transparency in operations, facilitate ease of staff movement throughout the building, and reduce liability from unauthorized persons accessing restricted areas. 

The right access control system will also streamline operations by eliminating the need for physical tokens and cards and reducing the risk of theft from stolen keys. Here is everything you need to know about access control systems and how they can affect your business.

What is an Access Control System?

Common access control systems have two main components – a control panel, and an electronic locking system. The control panel is where you program who has access to which areas of the business. 

You can program the control panel to grant or restrict certain individuals from areas like the loading bay, office spaces, and the warehouse floor. The electronic locking system is what controls the door locks. The system will have specific sensors that trigger the locking mechanism when someone enters or exits a door. 

The sensors can also be programmed to open when someone with access to the system swipes their key fob. A keypad is another common feature of many access control systems. You can use the keypad to grant or restrict certain individuals access to specific areas throughout company facilities. 

With security platforms like access control systems, you can control everything from access levels to access management while solving difficult security challenges. An access control solution typically includes things like an access control panel, access control readers, and access control software. 

Types of Access Control Systems

There are two common types of access control systems. Both types have a wide range of capabilities depending on the access control manufacturer. The first is an area-controlled system, which allows you to grant or restrict access to an entire floor or building. This system is ideal if you want to grant or restrict access to everyone in a specific building. Some of these systems use a key card or other types of login credentials. 

The second type of system is individual-controlled, which grants or restricts access to specific individuals. This system is ideal if you want to grant or restrict access to specific employees or contractors. 

There are many different types of access control systems, including keypad systems, biometric systems, card swipe systems, and RFID systems. Certain systems use adaptive access control, an access badge, or an anonymous access token. It's important to understand that almost every business should have access control equipment, a model for access control, an access control paradigm, or some form of access control. 

By having some form of access control, businesses can manage things like who has access during operations and access to company documents. 

Some access control systems are designed for single doors, while others can control an entire building. Before you decide on an access control system, you need to evaluate your business security needs and choose a system that meets those needs.


How Do Access Control Systems Work?

An access control system uses a database to store information on who has access to specific areas of the building. This database may be on-premises, online, or a combination of the two. 

The database will store information on a person’s name, ID number, and the areas of the building they have access to. You can grant or restrict access by entering this information into the database. The system will use sensors to determine if someone has access to a specific door or area. 

When someone swipes their access card or fob near the door, a sensor will process the signal and grant them access. If you don't have a commercial security integrator or an alternative of access control that can manage an access request without granting access to unauthorized individuals, you need to speak with a security professional. Organization based access control systems that use a common access card or mobile credentials can make your business more secure. 

Benefits of Installing an Access Control System

When someone gains unauthorized access to company property, an entire corporation can be taken down within a few business days or less. As such, there are many benefits to installing an access control system at your business. The first is transparency in operations. It’s important for businesses to be transparent in their operations and have a clear record of who has access to what. 

With an access control system, you can track who enters and exits specific areas of your business, like the warehouse floor, shipping and receiving docks, and office spaces. This will allow you to audit operations and ensure everything is running smoothly and securely which is why it's so important to have some form of access control in place. 

Another benefit of an access control system is facilitating ease of movement for your staff. If you have multiple departments with staff members who travel between offices, you need a system that will allow easy movement through the building while still maintaining strict security standards. Businesses use these systems to identify human users and to distinguish a legitimate user from an illegitimate one using things like a biometric feature to establish an association of users. 

An access control system will allow you to grant or restrict entry to specific employees to specific areas, like the server room, the CEO’s office, or practically anywhere on company property. If you're unfamiliar with security systems news or how mobile devices are used in access control situations, you need to talk to an expert. 

Whether the system uses cloud services, biometric scans, smart cards, card readers, or some other component to make access decisions, using technology to govern access rights should be a top priority.

Today, it's essential for most businesses to have network access control systems, and cloud-based software to manage access permissions and access to systems throughout the company. Given the level of sophistication of the modern criminal, having security lighting, security mechanical locks, and basic network security is simply not enough. 

Your business assets are under constant threat from criminals which is why it's so important to have authentication factors and authorization procedures in place. 

These systems for security are an integral part of any security center, business, or commercial property as they make it easy to manage access control lists. Almost any common security risk associated with a physical property can be managed by using access controllers or an access control matrix.

Sophisticated systems use a standard language to manage services of authorization. Many businesses also use Cisco secure access control or a Cisco secure access control system. 

How to Choose the Right Access Control System for Your Business?

Now that you know what an access control system is and how it works, it’s time to choose the right system for your business. There are tons of options when it comes to access control systems, but not all of them are right for every business. Your first step is to determine your business security needs. If you have a lot of real estate to secure, you might need a full access control network. 

The nature and extent of your security risks will help you narrow down the different types of access control systems and find the one that best fits your business. An access control management system is an integral part of any security management system which makes it an essential component of building access control as well as a key safety feature overall. 


Here are some questions you should ask yourself: 


  • Who should have access control credentials to get into the building? 


  • Where do they need access to? 


  • What areas of the building should they have access to? 


  • Do you have any physical security systems in place and if so, do they need any additional features?


You should also consider your budget and timeline when choosing an access control system. Additionally, if you expect your business to grow in the coming years, you’ll want to choose an access control system that can scale with your business.



You can choose the right access control system for your business by answering some important questions and considering your business security needs and future growth. For example, do you need physical security systems, cloud based access control systems, or attribute based access control? What kind of implementation feature, resource controller, or IoT-enabled devices do you need?

You should know that for most businesses, access control systems with card technologies, an organizational query language, and built-in biometric technologies are integral to virtually any business with a physical presence 

Access control companies are essential services that help businesses keep their properties and other assets secure. If you don't know what terms like user attributes, or resource attributes are and how they relate to authentication in situations involving unauthorized users, you need some help. 

If you're ready to take the next steps to upgrade your access control and video surveillance to a unified platform check out our QxControl software