Building Access Control Systems – Types And Methods Of Access Control

Apr 30, 2023 | Access Control

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What is a Building Access Control System?

A building access control system is a path setup to make sure only designated or authorized personnel are granted access into your building or room. This bulks up your security and protection for your environment, data and information, workers e.t.c. With building access control systems, traditional keys aren’t available. Instead, users gain access by entering a unique identifier such as a card number or personal identification number (PIN).

Benefits of Building Access Control Systems

Increased Levels of Security & Safety

A large company leaves an opportunity or creates a chance for visitors to come and go undetected. One of the benefits of using access control systems is that unauthorized people can’t gain access. Since doors need qualifications before they unlock, only those you’ve given or have the required qualifications or credentials can access the area. With this system in place, you can be sure everyone in your building is supposed to be there, whether you know them or not.

Easily Secure Restricted Areas

An access control system gives you data on who enters and exits a building or a specific room and when. You can make sure people are working when they are supposed to be and restricted areas are fully secured. Any user who accessed a specific area at any time is known, incase of theft or accident.

Saves Money

You save money on locks and security personnel with access control security. An access control system can verify or identify a person’s identity without the need or help of a security guard which in turns saves salary cost for a security guard.

Increased convenience and peace of mind

Access control systems let only trusted and authorized individuals inside and keep others out. You are free to carry out a background checks and keep out anyone without the right credentials. This gives room for increased convenience and improves peace of mind.

Building Access Control Models

These access control systems are used in safeguarding valuable resources from unauthorized access and are set up to make sure personnels can only access objects using secured methods. These methods includes; 

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

This type of access control system assigns access rights solely on the rules made by the users. The concept behind DAC is that users can choose who has access to their objects. The DAC model benefits by using access control lists (ACLs) and capability tables. Capability tables usually contain rows with ‘subject’ and columns containing ‘object’. The essential part of the security  within the operating system(security kernel) scans the tables to know if access is granted. 

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

RBAC is generally used when system administrators need to entrust rights based on organizational roles rather than individual user accounts inside an organization. It sets forth an opportunity for the organization to talk on the concept of  ‘least privilege’. This grants an individual only the access required to do their jobs efficiently, since access is only linked to their job.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

The formation and application of MAC is mostly used by the government. It uses a stratified path to manage and control access to files/resources. Under a MAC territory, access to resource objects is swayed by the operating system solely on what the system administrator configured in the settings. It is impossible for users to alter access control of a resource.  “Security labels” are also used by MAC to entrust resource objects on a system.  Each user account is also assigned classification and category properties. This system grants users access to an object if both properties align. When it comes to the most secure access control MAC gets the accolades but a considerable amount of planning and a high system management due to the frequent refurbishing of objects and account labels is required.

Web-based Access Control Systems

A web-based access control system otherwise called a cloud-based access control system has the ability to make available remote access control. Such a system uses Internet protocols (IP) to transmit signals and data. An access control system that is IP-based can be used both as a hardwired platform and as a wireless solution.


Additionally, a web-based physical access control system makes available an additional layer of security by spontaneously collecting data on all events that occur within the system. Checking the security events log and adjusting most of the system’s settings can be done anywhere and anytime remotely.

How does a web-based access control system work?

Web-based access control systems can make use of both cable and wireless networks to help control readers and locks. However, a technology known as PoE (Power over Ethernet) uses connections that supply power and data to a connected device through an individual cable. Making it easier for you to be able to power and control a security device over a single connection.

These systems work by allowing you to always know who is entering or leaving your property coupled with the time of entry or exit and which door the person is using. 

Choosing Between Cloud-Based Access Control and Onsite Legacy Systems

Firstly, understanding the difference between a cloud-based system and an onsite legacy system is essential. A legacy system needs a computer server on the spot in order to operate the access control system. The server will also require occasional maintenance and updates meaning you will need a professional.


A cloud-based system makes use of a server elsewhere, and your access control system connects to it remotely. This means a server is required on the spot at your facility and also you don’t need to stress about having an IT professional to update and maintain it. With that said, you will have to pay a subscription fee for the remote server that your system runs on. 

Why Choose a Legacy System?

Having a legacy system will help you benefit from this two main advantages:

  • You have total control: You own the servers. It is your staff, or a company that you’ve hired, maintaining your equipment.
  • Data: When you control your own servers, your data is always local.  Backing up that data is required, but it will also be more secure. 

Why Choose a Cloud-based System?

Few niche users may prefer legacy systems, while most will prefer the comfort and other benefits of cloud-based systems. These benefits include:

  • Remote control: You can remotely control the features of the system that matter to you from anywhere, 24/7.
  • Lower costs: Cloud services generally mean lower costs for you with less hardware and less management. 
  • Scalability: The cloud gives you freedom to expand your access control system to other facilities with ease. 

We recommend speaking to a professional before making your choice on an access control system.

What Are The Options For the Access Control System?

Electronic Access Control

Electronic access control (EAC) makes use of computers to solve the restrictions of mechanical locks and keys. The electronic access control system uses the credentials presented to grants access.

Benefits of Electronic Access Control

  •  Implement the System with Ease
  • Deter Criminals at Various Access Points
  • Reduce Employee Theft
  •  Protect Secure Data
  •  Enjoy Cloud Access

Hosted Access Control

Hosted Access Control grants you control over security remotely making use of your web browser. It’s access control the efficient way. A hosted access control is an interface that reduces risk and cuts out maintenance costs for hardware and software.  Central servers store data to grant appointed users the login details or make modifications. Authorized or designated users can access the system remotely from anywhere. 

Benefits of Hosted Control Systems

  • Hosted access helps to manage and organize employees. It alerts if someone has gained entry for a specific area or if they are absent from work 
  • Access control features restricts access towards particular areas of the facility that protects sensitive and confidential documents or resources present
  • It grants access to only authorized people and drastically reduces theft or unauthorized access
  • Provides a remote access feature for viewing and control

Physical Access Control

Physical access control systems are a type of physical security made to limit, restrict or allow access to a specific area, room or building. PACS are installed in order to protect businesses and property like Commercial businesses, Educational institutions,  Healthcare facilities, Government organizations, Industrial campuses from vandalism and trespassing, and are mostly useful in facilities or businesses that need strong levels of security and protection. 

Benefits of Physical Access Control Systems

Been aware of the benefits/advantages of physical access control systems will assist companies in making decisions that suit their security needs. Some of the benefits include;

  • Secure Entry
  • Automated Temperature Scan
  • Auto Check-in
  • Fast and Accurate Identity Recognition
  • Logging and Reporting Features for Easy Compliance
  • Enhanced Privacy and Encryption

Managed Access Control

Managed access control is a security system that uses technology to manage or control access to a building or property. This system can control access to specified areas within a building, limit access to sensitive and confidential data, or monitor and organize employee activity.  [1]


Managed access control systems generally include keycards or fobs, biometric scanners, and software that manages and controls access rights and provides well detailed access reports for who was in which room and at what time.

Benefits of Managed Access Control Systems

  • Increased Flexibility with Remote Access
  • Decreased Equipment Cost
  • Less Maintenance

Biometrics Access Control 

A biometric access control system is a digital entry system that uses biometrics technologies to manage and control physical access to a building. The system identifies individuals who should be granted access into a secure area using facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, palm recognition, and other methods.

The Benefits of Biometrics

The detailed and accurate identification management given by biometrics allows it to offer many benefits over traditional access control devices.  Here are some of the amazing benefits of biometrics.

  • Ensure Proper Identification
  • Audit Trail
  • User Friendly
  • Security

Features Required In A Building Access Control System

Access control system for businesses  have features that allow for greater control, more security and improved safety. Here are some of the features required in a building access control system.


Access Authority Configuration

Access authority levels can be configured for all badge-holding personnel Inside the back office. This is done by rating organization locations based on the degree of authority needed to gain access. User badges can be configured to authorize users to certain access authorities once this step is complete.

Automatic Door Management

The success of any top notch Access Control solution is the ability or capacity to schedule or fix door commands systems at a particular time or in specific events or occasions. This feature is well known with organizations that are often open to the public during the day and closed at night.

Unique Alarm Notifications

As a way of differentiating between emergency and non-emergency events, different notification sounds can be configured in the Access Control back-office. Additionally, some Access Control solutions can also be designed to make it known to certain employees like security teams if an alarm has been triggered by spontaneously sending an email. 

Back-Office Accessibility

Access Control has moved to become more accessible and user-friendly. These changes have been created to assist organizations in everyday operations and increase the ease in which back-offices can be accessed, remotely and on-site. 

Scheduled Backups

It is essential that the chosen solution offers the ability to backup the access database. If your Access Control solution is set up on Cloud, this isn’t an issue, with regular backup performances occurring. However, if your solution is to be set up on-site, the risk of rebuilding all configurations and settings after a server crash can cost a critical amount of time and energy.

Custom Reports

A good Access Control solution is overly capable of running and exporting different customisable reports. The flexibility of your chosen Access Control solution directly influences the variety of reports and fields that are available for report generation.

Fast and Secure Hosting

Most modern Access Control solutions can be hosted in different ways, either by On-Premises, On Cloud or as a Hybrid. While each of these hosting options contains personal advantages, when it comes to deciding where to host your Access Control solution, Cloud is far superior.

Photo Notifications

This feature isn’t offered by all Access Control solutions as part of their standard package, nevertheless, notifications can be configured to display photo captures as badge users go through access-protected doors, offering security team members and other relevant departments improved and enhanced visibility of who enters and leaves the  location in question.

Elevator Control

In most large organizations, it is needed for some floors to authorize restricted access. In these cases, a feature of Access Control called ‘Elevator Control’ can be made available. 

Third-Party Integrations

With several departments making use of Access Control on a daily and regular basis, many popular industry Access Control solutions have been developed to integrate with select third-party applications as a way to increase office efficiency and enhance on-site security. 

Video Management Add-Ons

If your organization has the vision/goal of total security, the chance to integrate with a Video Management  solution can offer complete visitor visibility in areas of confidentiality and other areas through the company premises. Video Management equips security teams with the right tools required to make real-time decisions making it easier with total visibility. 

Emergency Evacuation Add-Ons

With strict regulations and acts enforcing laws that are created to safeguard or protect everyone on-site, Emergency Evacuation solutions have been developed or made to alleviate risks and enhance the probability of safe evacuations in emergency situations.

Choosing the Best Building Access Control System Provider: What To Consider 

One of the most essential things to think about or look out for when looking for an access control system is personnel control policies, device models  and know the mechanism of their operation. The implementation models of the access control system are different and it is essential to know exactly what type of access control you want. You can assign them permission-based on rank and position in the organization (Role-Based Access Control). Also, you can assign access based on specific names on a list (Discretionary Access Control).

  • Operating system and how compatible they are with other systems
  • History and Reliability of the Manufacturer
  • Consider the level of security
  • Know the type of hardware you need

Factors to consider when selecting a system are discussed below. [2]

Confirm the Industry Type

This is the first step. You have to confirm the industry type and standard you want to follow with it. Before the thought crosses your mind about installing access control, confirming how many resources you own at the moment is quit essential.

Models and Hardware

This is one of the most essential things to look out for when choosing the right  access control systems. Before you make an investment in such a system, ensure what kind of models and mechanisms you need for your business. In the marketplace several models are available and with different mechanism.

The Level of Security You Want

Making a decision about investing in an access control system can be very difficult due to many factors but it is very important you confirm the rate of security you want within the organization. If you want to cover a large building through corporate access control systems, then you have to manage or control different access control needs. To confirm the level of security you need, you have to give factors like the location of the business, number of employees, office hours, surroundings and the crime rate in the area some thoughts. But to secure your property, it is best you choose measurements like biometric access for your commercial premises.


The cost can be one of the major factors if you have a tight budget. Such access control systems come with components like biometrics access, fingerprint access, CCTV cameras, smart cards and lots more. Though cost of such a system varies from one brand to another.

Before making any final decisions, check out the features, mechanism, hardware and reputation of the manufacturer.

Components of an access control system

  • Access Cards
  • Card Readers: Wireless proximity readers: NFC and RFID Reader, Standalone proximity readers, 
  • Access Control Keypads
  • Electric Lock Hardware
  • Electromagnetic Locks
  • Access Controllers
  • Control panel or controller
  • Alarm Systems
  • Access Control Software
  • Remote mobile doorbell intercom: Video Intercoms
  • Backup Batteries
  • Power Supplies
  • Cables and Wires

The Best Access Control System

The best access control system is that  which meets the security needs of your business. It should be reliable, secure and user-friendly. What makes an access control system to be considered great in the first place? 

First and foremost, the system should be able to provide reliable access control. This means it should meet your security needs by allowing authorized personnel access while denying access to unauthorized personnel. It should also include features such as authentication (e.g., biometric), encryption, authorization and revocation of access rights. In addition, it should be able to track and log user activities for compliance purposes.

The system should also be easy to use and intuitive enough for even novice users to understand quickly. There should be an obvious path from one level of security clearance to the next, so that personnel can easily move between different levels of access without having to re-enter credentials or passwords. This makes the system more efficient and user-friendly.

Finally, a good access control system should be flexible and customizable for different organizations. It should have features that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of an organization, such as integrating with other systems or creating custom reports. This ensures that each organization can get the most out of the system without sacrificing security.

By implementing the right access control system, organizations can ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive information and resources. This increases security while minimizing the risk of data breaches and other malicious activities.



  1. Access control in buildings.  
  2. Access control systems: All you need to know! | Building and Interiors.