Access Control Installation: Step-by-Step Guide

Discover how to design, build, and install commercial-grade access control to increase employee safety and protect your business assets.


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Are you looking to install the best access control system to protect your business or commercial property? Would you like to control who has access to your building, when they have access to your building, and even allow entry into the building using your smartphone?

Welcome to the world of commercial access control installation and cloud-based access control solutions.

Access control systems come in various configurations, sizes, integration capabilities, and use cases. Some door entry systems only need to cover four doors in a relatively smaller building. Others need to access to more than 20 doors in a large office and require both fingerprint scan and prox card authentication. 

In access control installation, integrating the video surveillance system will deny access to unauthorized personnel entering the essential spaces in your building and record video footage of anyone attempting to exchange credentials. 

Access control is essential to all business security systems thanks to its ability to keep out intruders.

Download your free copy of the guide to keep in your back pocket. Or, if you’re ready to dive in, continue your journey below.


Installing Access Control

Access control installation ensures individuals’ security and controlled entry into a building or facility.

The access control installation process involves several key steps, each vital in creating a secure and efficient access control system.

  1. Begin by establishing the necessary wiring for the access control system.
  2. Measure and align the electric door lock and strike, and proceed with the access control installation.
  3. Install the door reader securely in the designated location and connect the door lock to the door reader, ensuring proper wiring.
  4. If your current system involves a reader controller, wire the door reader to the controller or network as needed.
  5. Install the access control management software on the designated system.
  6. Test the credentials on a single door to ensure proper functioning.
  7. Determine the individuals who will serve as system administrators and specify their privileges for making changes to the system.
  8. Identify all authorized users, define the doors they can access, and establish any time restrictions as necessary.
  9. Enroll users into the system, ensuring that their information is registered correctly.
  10. Perform comprehensive testing of the access control system to verify its functionality and security.
access control installers

How Access Control Companies Secure Businesses with Keyless Entry Systems

It is the most apparent – and significant – benefit of a new access control system and the primary reason for making the switch. More secure solutions are effective at keeping out unauthorized personnel, are more complicated to bypass than regular locks and keys, and contribute to an overall more significant safety in businesses and facilities of all sizes.

When an employee loses a key, and you take your facility’s security seriously, it can be necessary to switch out all the locks to ensure no one who finds the key can use it. But with an access control system, there are no traditional keys to worry about: employees use either PIN codes (knowledge factors) for access or access cards, which are easy to disable and revoke individually within the system for losing keys.

With modern technology, access control companies can help you keep track of who comes in and out of your building, enabling you to keep records and logs of every employee or visitor who comes through those doors. It can be convenient when something goes missing or a breach of business security systems occurs, as all visitors, employees, and other personnel who have come and gone can be tracked and verified. Want to find out who came in first? Who came in in the middle of the night? Easy and done.

When using traditional locks or basic locking door handles, switching them out or changing the code when an employee leaves the company or is denied further access is often necessary. An access control system gives you complete control over each employee’s credentials and permissions. You can deactivate their unique access code or revoke their access card without changing the entire system’s settings and credentials for each user. You can integrate and sync your system directly with your HR database for easy cross-referencing and updating.

With modern access control models, there is virtually no end to the number of custom permissions and rules you can set. Want to limit certain employees’ access during certain hours? No problem. Restrict access to certain rooms? Easy. Even set up the system to require multiple authentication factors for some individuals but not others? That can also be done. Access control system installation gives you massive depth and breadth of control and allows truly customized access solutions.

Building off their nearly infinite customization options, access systems allow you to choose from various authentication factors and credential types and even mix and match them within systems. Many systems (especially cloud-based) now let users use their smartphones to control and unlock doors, like any other access card.

Cloud-based access systems are becoming increasingly popular and make controlling and monitoring the comings and goings of your business easy as they allow for easy, convenient mobile access and control on your phone or tablet. Mobile apps such as Brivo OnAir integrate seamlessly with their respective cloud-based systems, allowing you to control various functions such as setting up and eliminating user permissions, adding or removing roles, changing credentials, and even viewing access logs, all from virtually anywhere in the world.

As cloud-based control systems become more innovative and advanced, they can update and improve their software, integrating new security features and updates. The servers are stored off-site and maintained by the external cloud security company, which takes care of all the right access control equipment upgrades and maintenance, ensuring you spend more time on what matters to you – your business – and less on the logistics and details of door locks. However, when you need to change something, log on to the app and customize it to your liking.

Some facilities and businesses have multiple buildings and campuses, and personnel must easily access and move between these facilities throughout the day. Carrying several keys – or even several swipe cards – is hassling and time-confusing. Thankfully, today’s access control companies can set up systems to allow one access card or credential to access many different locks – even in different locations. Cloud-based systems and mobile credentials are particularly useful in these situations.

While installing an access control system costs money up-front, they are becoming more and more affordable – and the security they offer can save you thousands of dollars (if not more) if the possibility of a security breach becomes a reality. Cloud-based control systems also eliminate many of the costs associated with installing and maintaining a server, as those are handled remotely by the cloud security service. Access control installation’s few costs should be seen as an investment in your business and employees’ overall safety and security.

Door Access System Types



Keypads might be the easiest of the bunch. Instead of necessitating that employees carry around a physical key or keycard, keypads allow businesses to use a single keycode or PIN code to unlock the door. Employees only need to memorize it. More advanced systems can even give employees a unique keycode for extra security.

The drawbacks to keypad systems include that they are usually much less high-tech than their counterparts, and most cannot be remotely accessed or managed. Only the most advanced and expensive keypads allow much customization, too, and setting up individual codes, rules, and valid and invalid credentials can be limited.

Also, when employees leave the company, it can be necessary to change the code on all the locks – though this is still much easier than changing out all the physical locks when traditional keys are used.

Key Card Access Systems

Keycard entry systems are often a step up from keypads regarding customizing, features, and other capabilities. Key card door entry systems will have more smart features and are almost always a part of a more extensive, integrated access control system that lets you set rules and other critical access info.

Unlike keypads, however, a keycard access control system still requires some physical credentials – a swipe card, prox card, or a smart card. These are still much more convenient than traditional hard keys and allow for much more customization, but they can still be lost and need replacing.

In the case of employees leaving or a single key being lost, however, they can be much more convenient, as the system admin can blocklist that single card.

card door access control security system
Mobile Access Control System: An Extensive Buyers Guide

Smart Locks & Mobile Credentials

Smart locks with mobile credentials can be the most advanced keyless entry system, allowing for complete customization and unlocking doors straight from your phone.

Many smart locks and wireless control systems will also take multiple forms of credentials, such as swipe or prox cards, and be lockable and unlockable via smartphone or other devices.

PIN Code Access Control Systems

Many forms of access control readers and credentials exist, but few are as convenient for business security systems as PIN coder readers. Simple and affordable to install, PIN code access control readers are one of the easiest ways to take your access control to another level. Please keep reading to see how they could help you do the same.

How Do PIN Code Readers Work?

Access control installers can attach PIN Code Readers to a few different types of electronic locks – both standalone and attached to a complete access control system and network.

Standalone locks will usually contain access control hardware and software necessary to lock and unlock the door when the PIN code is punched in; once the code is entered, a small electrical current will trigger the actuator, which controls the door lock via a small motor, either locking or unlocking it as necessary.

If the electronic door lock is part of a more excellent access control system, the PIN code will work just like any other form of credential, triggering the system to check the database of users, valid and invalid credentials, and permissions to verify the user’s identity, before unlocking the door and allowing access.

PIN code readers might be more straightforward and less technologically advanced than other access control authentication factors (think smart cards). Still, they provide their benefits as well.

PIN Code Readers

Reasons to Use PIN Code Access Control Systems:

They’re Cheaper

PIN Code readers will generally be one of the least expensive access control readers to install, as they are generally less software-intensive than swipe cards, prox cards, and knowledgeable card access control readers. Electronic locks costs run around $100, but this makes them more capable of being integrated into a new access control system.

They Don’t Require A Physical Card

Physical swipe cards and prox cards in key card door entry systems can be lost or stolen, making unauthorized access to the doors, which is inconvenient and needs replacement. While most prox or swipe cards are relatively inexpensive, creating them and handing them out to all authorized users can add up – another reason why PIN code access control readers can be much more cost-effective.

Most Are Smart Phone Compatible

While PIN code readers can be employed on standalone electronic locks, newer models will still support the features found on an access control management system and smart locks, such as remote monitoring and control via mobile app and automation for programming it to lock and unlock automatically at certain times of day, among other functions.

Types of Card Access Control & Door Card Reader Systems

Access control companies make proximity cards out of several different materials. Still, they all work similarly: by being held near the door card reader without physically contacting the reader. This sets them apart from swipe cards or other contact-style cards, which need to make physical contact with the reader.

Proximity Cards can be Active or Passive, running off 125 kHz radio frequencies. Passive Cards are powered by radio frequency (RF) signals from the reader that reads the encoded number embedded on the card. These are the much more common forms of proximity cards used in access solutions.

On the other hand, Active Proximity Cards are powered by internal lithium batteries, sending out their 125khz frequencies to contact the card reader. They generally have a better range (up to 5 or 6 feet), but the battery must eventually be replaced. When it comes to access control, however, they are used less often.

Proximity cards almost always use some form of the Wiegand protocol to communicate with the card reader. Basic Proximity Cards are usually thin, the same size as a credit card, and made from PVC with a wireless antenna embedded in the plastic. Clamshell proximity cards use two different layers of PVC glued together, with the antenna between them, while composite proximity cards use a blend of PVC and polyester.

Swipe cards, sometimes called magnetic stripe cards, function using none other than a magnetic stripe, almost exactly like those found on credit cards. At the most technical of levels, swipe cards work first by modifying the magnetism of the particles in the magnetic stripe on the card, which is then picked up and read by the magnetic reading head found in the card reader at the access point.

However, all you need to know is that a swipe card works by being swiped through the card reader at the door, and the user’s access code and credentials are immediately read.

Swipe cards are one of the oldest forms of crucial card door entry systems (if not the oldest) and are generally reliable – though the magnetic stripes tend to wear out over time.

Smart Cards are the latest access control card technology for commercial security systems and, as the name implies, the most advanced. Contactless smart cards are like proximity cards but further, build and improve on the original technology.

Instead of running off 125 kHz frequencies as proximity cards usually do, smart cards run much faster, usually transmitting at 13.56 mHz – which is far faster, more powerful, and more reliable.

They are also capable of writing data, in addition to just reading it, which allows them to store much more information and makes them useful in a whole host of different applications, in addition to standard access control uses.

Like regular passive proximity cards, smart cards do not have an internal power source; instead, they use inductors to conduct an RF signal from the antenna embedded in the card reader when placed within proximity. Data can travel at much faster speeds – anywhere from 106 to 848 bits/second – which makes them excellent when speed is crucial (hence why they are often used on public transport systems).

Furthermore, smart cards can be combined with other card technologies, such as proximity cards or magnetic stripes, allowing for a whole range of customizable credentials, information storage, and enhanced security within a card access system.

What are RFID Cards?

Another term you will see frequently being discussed, as it relates to card access control, is RFID Card. While RFID cards might sound like another technology, RFID merely refers to the technology that proximity cards already use: Radio Frequency. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is used when necessary to identify an object, whether a package in transit or a car in production.

Access Control Installation: The Ultimate Guide RFID tags

IP Access Control​

One popular form of Access Control is IP Access Control. But what’s so great about this latest form, and why are so many offices opting for it?

At its most basic level, an IP Access Control system is very similar to traditional Access Control; they identify users and grant or deny them access to specific entry points according to the permissions and protocols specified in the local server. They usually do this via an Ethernet connection to a specific network created for the access control system.

However, IP Access Control differs from traditional access control; systems are connected directly to your existing Local Area Network (LAN) and get power over Ethernet. This makes them more accessible, more straightforward to set up and allows them to track all data necessary to control and monitor access points and locks.

IP Access Control can be accessed from any computer on the network instead of traditional access control, which can only be managed from the server itself.

security integration
smartphone access control

Types Of IP Access Control

Embedded IP Access

It is an inexpensive, quick, easy-to-install solution for operating a low number of doors and access points. Embedded IP Access stores valid and invalid credentials and data on a single control panel directly connected to the browser and is usually hosted on a single site.

Server-based IP Access

It can operate more access points and websites than Embedded IP Access, allowing for more scalability and advanced security. It stores all the necessary information on the server, which manages multiple control panels and is linked to by the browser.

Hosted IP Access

It can control and access thousands of websites in various locations with multiple control panels. It features its own backups and security features on its server, with redundant and dispersed backups. Hosted IP Access allows for the most excellent scalability of all IP Access systems and the most secure and adequate backups.

If you have questions about access control or want to learn more, Safe and Sound can help. Give us a call today.

Telephone Entry Systems

Most telephone entry systems work simply by communicating via phone lines and allowing visitors outside to speak with people inside the building. In such cases, the entry system uses the existing phone line already running within the interior of the building and the property.

Some newer systems now use IP networks to communicate; these are not telephone entry systems in the strictest or most traditional sense but function much the same.

Many modern systems also offer the benefit of remote communication, allowing you to speak with visitors on your phone (or similar) even when away from the building.

Read about how to choose the right apartment building intercom system here.

What are the Benefits?

1. Increase Security

Telephone entry system's simple operation doesn't mean they aren't secure. The increased security they offer is their biggest asset. They allow you to quickly and easily communicate with people at your business's front or back door and instantly give them access. They give you complete control over security, keeping unwanted visitors out while letting the right people in. Secure entrances mean a safe workplace. Compare this with an unsecured or unlocked door. Anybody who feels like it can just walk right into an unsecured door. A reasonable access control and telephone entry system solves that problem.

2. Convenient

This goes hand in hand with their increased security and simplicity. A telephone entry system is so quick and easy to use that you can see who is waiting at the entrance and let them in – or not – within minutes. No one needs to walk to the door and open or lock it physically; press a button, and it does it automatically. Modern systems can even be accessed and controlled remotely, letting you open the door or speak to a guest from virtually anywhere.

3. Works With Video

While in most cases, a telephone entry system with an intercom will be enough on its own, the system can be integrated with video surveillance to give you a live feed and view of who's at the door. This takes the convenience of a telephone entry system to the next level, making your building access control and security more accessible and more effective than ever before.

Biometric Fingerprint Scanners

biometric fingerprint access control

Biometric scanners are the next big thing in the security business, and it makes sense. Looking at access control technologies for business security systems, the biggest hurdle isn’t finding new and innovative ways to lock doors – finding more secure ways to authenticate identity.

PINs can be discovered, cards can be copied, and keys can be pickpocketed. No security system is perfect, but biometric scanner identification factors are hard to forge when it comes to identity verification.

Biometrics means “the measuring of the living” – body parts. Humans can do this quite easily, but since teaching a computer to recognize a person is difficult, it’s broken down into manageable chunks. While computers can be programmed to recognize retinas, voices, and even faces, some of the most common biometric scanners are designed for fingerprints.

Types Of Biometric Fingerprint Scanners

  • Optical scanners use the same image sensor found in a digital camera to render a 2-dimensional print image. While physically reasonably robust, this type of sensor is the easiest to trick with prosthetics or high-resolution images of a fingerprint.
  • Capacitive sensors use the minute differences in print ridges and valleys as electronic contact points to derive a map.
  • Ultrasonic scanners bounce a precisely calibrated sonic pulse against a fingertip and, rather than mapping the fingerprint itself, map the return echo and use that data to derive the shape of the print. This is the most precise but most fragile type of scanner. Once the scanner has mapped your fingerprint, it’s converted to a Wiegand number and sent to the controller for verification against the approved whitelist.

How Biometric Fingerprint Scanners Work

Almost every access control system recognizes Wiegand numbers for transferring your credentials to the security panel for verification.

This practice originated in the 70s when keycards were embedded with special magnetic wires invented by John Wiegand. The arrangement of these wires created a specific number sequence that identified the card.

Fingerprint scanners use an algorithm to convert your fingerprint’s optical, capacitive, or ultrasonic map into a unique Wiegand number. The panel can then read your fingerprint identity like it used to read keycards.

How to Choose Wireless Access Locks For Your Business

What Kind Of Credentials Will Work Best?

This is generally one of the first considerations in selecting a wireless access communication system: what kind of credentials are you looking to use? If you have a lot of turnover or lots of guests and contractors onsite, intelligent cards or prox cards are likely the best choice, credentials that can be quickly and cheaply coded and reprogrammed as people come and go. You might also want to look at mobile credentials, which lets users download an app and set up a credential profile that is then allowed and given appropriate permissions by the systems administrator – no additional keycards or effort necessary. PIN codes and biometrics are common choices, usually best used in systems with fewer visitors and tighter security needs.

What Else Needs To Be Protected?

Wireless access control locks can often be used for more than just doors; gates, elevators, windows, and similar can all be controlled via wireless access control, creating an all-in-one system that can be controlled in a single unified spot. If permissions allow, all these access points can be controlled with a single credential – of your choice – simplifying access and operations and increasing convenience. Systems integrators can help you find liftgate openers and elevator lock systems that your system might need.

Do You Want Remote Access And Cloud Management?

Almost all wireless access control locks and systems are compatible with or include cloud connection and remote access features; locks can be locked, unlocked, and barred remotely straight from your smartphone, while system databases and whitelists can also be accessed and modified, revoking or creating credentials on the spot. If this is an essential consideration for your security needs, there are many different locks, such as Brivo OnAir.

Do You Need Intercom Or Video Options?

Intercom option locks are becoming popular as part of access control systems, both for commercial operations and private areas. Video intercom-capable access locks are found on front gates, automatic garage door openers, and apartment buildings. Communicating with visitors and access control installers directly at the access point – and even with employees who do not have or have lost their credentials – makes managing access more straightforward and more accessible. The video also provides visual identity verification before access is granted.

Mobile Access Control

An electronic door lock is critical to your commercial access control system. Your card readers or fingerprint scanners are only worth a little if your doors unlock when your credentials are approved.

Your locks need to be wired into your entry system so you can control them without a mechanical key – which means more than automatically unlocking them.

You need to be able to lock the door lockdown in the event of a security breach, unlock all of them during a fire or earthquake, and you want to keep a log of when they were opened.

We can now do almost everything with our smartphones, so it seems only fitting that they can now be used as credentials. Mobile access control credentials provide an easy, convenient, and cost-efficient alternative to access cards and biometric credentials.

They utilize the device the user already carries with them, and considering how ubiquitous smartphones are, they make access control accessible to virtually everyone. They also provide a range of features that traditional access control options do not and work with control systems of all sizes and configurations.

How Mobile Credentials For Access Control Work

Mobile access control credentials allow users to access facilities with only an app on their smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.

Almost all mobile control systems are compatible with iPhone and Android, the most popular smartphone operating systems, and many will work with lesser-known platforms with access control options as well. They can function through a variety of technologies, such as:

Mobile Access Control systems use Bluetooth to communicate between the smartphone (or other device) as well as the credential reader. They often do this through Bluetooth Low Energy. Bluetooth Low Energy uses much less external power supply and data than regular Bluetooth and can stay on in the background and immediately initialize when within range of the access control reader (usually a few feet), transferring signals and information instantaneously. To unlock the door, you can simply press a button on the appropriate app, or even unlock using a twisting motion of your phone that imitates a key turning and unlocks the door.

Near-Field Communication allows users to set up connection between the reader and the smartphone, using induction of electromagnetic fields. Phones will usually need to be within very close range (often a few inches) of the reader, and not all phones are compatible with NFC technology and software. This is the same technology in mobile payment method as well, such as Apple Pay.

Many systems now use Wi-Fi as well, as it provides a simple method of connection using an IP-based network. Wireless-enabled door locks are connected to the wireless access point via the IP network, and can be configured in an entire network of access points and door locks. They are then controlled via a software on a computer or server, or via mobile app on smart devices. In some cases, Wi-Fi network connections also allow for remote access with increased range, as the smartphone only needs an internet connection to establish credentials when necessary.

Some mobile access control systems even work with QR codes, with readers that simply scan the QR code provided on the smartphone to unlock the door. This is perhaps the easiest and most accessible form of mobile credential available. Each QR code is uniquely generated by the software to guarantee security.

Sharing & Receiving Access Credentials

With mobile access control, sharing credentials with users is easy and can be done via integrated systems, apps, email, and text messages. Credentials and bar codes can be sent to the employee, who will pull it up on their phone and swipe it at the access point.

Access controls with mobile credentials usually work with a variety of different credentials. They’ll usually have a backup method of accessing the system if mobile passes do not work, such as with a backup access card or key.

Smart Phone App for Access Control

Mobile credentials are helpful for their convenience and the many features often found in the app, including all the hardware or software, integrating a host of other security features. For system administrators, these include remote viewing of video footage at access points, accessing activity logs, and quickly changing and customizing access permissions. They can even lock and unlock the door lock remotely on demand. Users can customize the app to organize their passes and credentials how they need them most, placing all the credentials in one easy-to-access place.

How HID Installation Helps Your Business

Access control brands such as HID offer contact-free mobile access. HID access system installation allows employees using the mobile app to gain access to doors, gates, networks, and more using just their smartphone. They can also use intuitive hand gestures for completely touch-free entry.

HID access control readers remotely communicate with iOS and Android devices, sensing when authorized users’ phones are nearby. HID Mobile technology also lets business operators manage who can access facilities using their devices.

5 Common Myths About Wireless Access Control Systems

At first, this one sounds like it makes sense; if your smartphone is accessible via an Internet connection and can already be hacked, couldn’t someone hack your phone, gain access to your access control apps and credentials, and then make their way into your facility? Thankfully, this isn’t as much of a concern as it sounds.

Smartphones already come with high levels of encryption and security built into their firmware; millions of users trust them every day to safeguard all their personal data and banking info, and smartphones aren’t easily hacked just because of their ability to access the internet.

The phone’s security measures are, of course, in addition to the security measures and encryption integrated into the mobile access control application, and together, they provide a secure, multi-layered defense against hacking. While accessing an access control system remotely does not require a VPN, like a hosted system might, it often.

You could say mobile credentials are often more secure than their physical counterparts; swipe and prox cards do not support the level of encryption that a smartphone and app can, and switching to mobile access credentials could lead to a more effective door access control system for your business.

Honestly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cloud-based access control systems, especially those with mobile apps and credential options, are often much easier to manage, set up, and modify credentials, etc, than traditional systems.

As the access control database and pertinent information are hosted on the cloud, it can often be accessed remotely from anywhere, right on your mobile device or computer; you’ll be able to manage, create, and revoke credentials, change permissions and rules for controlled doors and users, and customize system settings remotely and efficiently. Most of the time, this can be done right in your browser.

On the other hand, traditional wired or IP access control systems generally need to be managed and accessed from a computer on the server network, limiting when and where you can access it.

Many believe wireless access control components will not integrate and work with their existing wired system. Installing new wireless components or systems will require replacing any pre-existing system.

Thankfully, this isn’t true; with the right components, access control contractors can integrate wireless access control systems with the system already installed in your building. In most cases, they will even be built upon the existing framework. In many others, wireless access control can be further integrated with a pre-existing CCTV system running on the same network.

Integrating wired and wireless access control is relatively easy; ensuring component compatibility (using the ONVIF standard, for example) will make the process even more accessible, and the suitable systems integrator will have the skills and experience to make it happen.

Again, this is not true; what credentials an access control system does or does not work with depends on the specific panel installed – not whether the system is wired or wireless. With the right panel and software, your wireless access control system can work with PIN codes, fingerprints, biometric credentials, swipe and prox cards, and wireless smartphone credentials. Many panels will now also support two-factor authentication, giving twice the security with the same number of panels. This eliminates any worry surrounding it.

If you spend a lot of time ordering, creating, and managing prox cards and permissions for a large facility, switching to a wireless panel could simplify the installation process, saving you time – and money.

It was a seemingly minor complaint that could be particularly annoying – if it were true. While many wireless access control panels run off battery power, they also don’t run all the time; many are in “sleep” mode until awoken or until wireless credentials come within range.

This means they spend most of their time powered down, don’t use nearly as much energy as a wired system, and only occasionally need their batteries replaced; some brands even claim their panels can last up to two years on a single high-end lithium-ion battery.

Cloud-Based Access Control vs Server Based Access Control

Cloud based access control vs server based access control

Server-Based Systems

On-site servers are the traditional way to handle access controls. A server (or servers) and door controller are installed somewhere on your premises, usually requiring a dedicated room and terminal.

When someone runs their credentials through a door card reader, the door controller receives the ID, and the server compares it to the approved ID database (known as a whitelist). You can only manage your server through its dedicated terminal, making it very secure.

Installation & Maintenance:

The drawbacks to server-based systems are the high cost and invasive installation. Servers are costly to purchase and set up, and since you don’t want wires exposed, the installation to hide them can be difficult if your building is already built or used.

All servers require constant updates to keep up with security breaches or new OS features, so you’ll need a dedicated on-site team of technicians to ensure your server doesn’t crash the next time your machine needs an update.

Cloud Based Access Control

Some newer systems store your whitelist and manage your door controls on the cloud. Instead of your readers sending credentials through a wire to your server, they’re compared on your security provider’s cloud hosting server.

Because your system is Web-based, you can access and manage your whitelist from anywhere if you have a cellular or wireless device. This is just one advantage of cloud-based access control.

Installation & Maintenance:

Since you don’t need an on-site server, the initial cost is lower, and the installation is less invasive. However, cloud-based systems still require a control panel that communicates with your router, so some installation is still required.

You also won’t need to employ in-house technicians to update your server. However, you will be paying for a cloud subscription, and you won’t have as much control over your data as you would with your server.

cloud vs server based access control

Access Systems: Choosing The Right Server

If you prefer a server-based system, you value reliability and detailed control over the ability to access your database from off-site. You’ll need a dedicated server room and an IT team to keep your access control system online, but you’ll own the whole system outright and won’t be at the mercy of someone else’s server.

If you decide to go with a cloud-based access control system, you’re choosing the versatility of remote access over the reliability of a hardwired system.

You might have to pay a continuous fee for your network on top of the basic licensing fee, but it’s much cheaper than employing technicians and maintaining a server room.

Server-Based vs Cloud-Based Smart Phone Access Control

Mobile credentials work for businesses and facilities of all sizes. Server-based mobile systems are more expensive to set up and install up-front than regular systems.

Still, they can provide increased cost savings over time, as they eliminate the need to create, update, and replace physical access cards. Thus, they may be out of the reach of smaller businesses but can be a convenient improvement for medium- and larger-size companies with the budget needed to install access control.

On the other hand, cloud-based mobile access systems are significantly less expensive to install and use over time. People are also less likely to lose their mobile phones than smaller, generic access cards.

5 Common Myths About Cloud Access Control

This is a common myth about access control that many people believe, but it’s an outdated and inaccurate statement. The control panel must be connected to the internet to conduct administrative tasks like adding users and credentials or configuring schedules and permissions. Still, most worthwhile systems now come with integrated memory in the door controllers.

This way, the system can handle on-site tasks like accessing whitelists, permissions, user credentials, and door information. The door card reader can still authenticate a credential if the internet is disconnected.

Brivo OnAir offers a system that can host information for up to 250,000 users in the built-in memory and record up to 60,000 events offline for detailed records of everything that occurs.

Cloud service providers take all the necessary precautions to secure their systems from hacking and tampering and ample measures to back up important data. True cloud systems use redundant backups located in different and varying locations. If one server goes – due to technical difficulties, natural disasters, or hacking – the system will connect with another server, working seamlessly the entire time and without a hitch.

Brivo, the most popular cloud-based access control company, uses AES 256 encryption algorithms. These are similar to what’s used in government and banking. They use a 4096-bit key length, which creates extreme security strength. There’s no reason to be worried about security when using cloud access control if you choose the right cloud-based access control provider.

Cloud-based access control solutions save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. The most substantial savings come from eliminating the costs of running and maintaining servers on network-based systems.

Instead of paying for physical server equipment and hosting and a technician to maintain those servers regularly, you sign up for a subscription from the cloud service. The cloud service then handles all the servers’ repairs, maintenance, and upkeep on their end. This is a much more cost-effective way to have an access control system.

Second, switching to a cloud-based system eliminates licensing fees. With network systems, a license must be purchased – usually in packages or increments – to run the system, and these licenses must often be renewed at specific intervals. With cloud-based systems, doors can be purchased one at a time, allowing you to pay for what you use, and are rolled into a monthly or yearly subscription.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Some brands and access control systems are much better than competitors regarding features, security, and sheer capability. Network systems retrofitted for cloud service, for example, generally need more redundancy and diverse servers than accurate cloud systems include.

The best cloud access systems from brands like Brivo offer redundant backups and servers – and a host of valuable features such as APIS – for connecting and customizing with other programs and access control devices and automatic software updates that many systems don’t offer.

They may accomplish the same things, but cloud-based and network-based access control systems work differently. Network access control systems run off a self-contained network, storing all the data and door information on the network’s physical server. Cloud-based systems use controllers connected directly to the internet, where all needed data is stored on a remote server.

Where people sometimes need clarification is the fact that hybrid cloud-network systems exist. This allows you to have the flexibility and scalability, as well as redundancy of cloud systems, while having some of the reliability of network systems.

Commercial Entry Systems

How AI-Phone Video Intercoms Bring Business Security To The Next Level

Access control systems are a critical part of keeping your business secure. They prevent unauthorized entry to crucial points of your building and log traffic, allowing you to stay updated on anomalies or potential threats.

Whether you use biometric fingerprint scanners, card readers, PIN codes, RFID key fobs, or your smartphone, you must manage your database through a network connection.

There are two main types of access control system networks to choose between these days – server-based and cloud-based access control.

Aiphone JP Series Video Intercom System

Video Integration

Traditional and more old-fashioned intercoms generally employ telephone or audio connections, but AIPhone's new intercoms – like the JP Series 7" – incorporate touchscreen video into the intercom control panel. Placed at the front door of your business or apartment building or your property's gate, you can easily see and verify who's at the front gate or any of four camera locations. You're not limited to one viewing station; each system allows for various viewing locations inside, allowing you or other staff members to check the front door quickly. The video is provided by a built-in PTZ camera, which features a 170-degree wide-angle lens – wide enough to virtually eliminate all blind spots and give you a complete view of everything around you. The camera even includes settings for adjusting to different lighting situations.

Picture Memory

Live video feed isn't the only way to view video feeds from AIPhone; their Picture Memory feature allows you to record images and stills of visitors from the video feed and store them on both SD and SDHC cards. This allows you to see who rang the doorbell at a later date and keep a record of everybody who visits for future reference.

Hands-Free Communication

Video is excellent, but other ways exist to communicate with visitors outside the building. AIPhone intercom systems also allow for hands-free communication using headsets and VOX technology. VOX always leaves the built-in microphone on but is programmed only to transmit audio inside when voices above a certain programmed level are detected. There is no need to hold down the call button or press to answer – visitors speak, and you speak back. AIPhone's Call Partitioning also allows you to choose which interior stations calls go to and from which doors these calls come, and you have complete control over all incoming and outgoing communications.

Versatile System Integration

If you run a large business or facility, you need to cover a lot of doors and entrances – if only because of the sheer number that your building might contain. AIPhone knows this and designed some of their video intercom systems for scalability and to work with a massive number of door stations – up to 120- with the right system. Smaller systems with more advanced video capabilities will still be capable of working up to 8 door stations, more than enough to cover most smaller businesses and buildings. This is due to their IP network functionality. Many AIPhone systems also run off Power-over-Ethernet, allowing you to use a single Cat5 or Cat6 cable to power the system and feed the network signals, saving installation time and costs. If you formally stationed a guard at various doors and entrances throughout the building, switching to a video intercom can also cut down significantly on costs.

3 Ways Automatic Gate Openers Like LiftMaster Help With Security

automatic gate opener

Automatic door openers might be more closely associated with your home garage than with commercial security, but they also play an integral role in access control.

Both commercial and residential properties need to be secured at all angles and entrances, and front vehicle gates and garage-style overhead doors call for exceptional security.

That’s where commercial door and gate access control systems can make securing large gates and garages easy – especially when integrated with your business’s existing access control system. Here’s how gate access systems from brands like LiftMaster and Door King secure your space.

1. Easy To Use

One of the primary benefits of access control is ease of use and convenience. There is no need to carry keys, and employees can swipe their badge or type in the appropriate PIN code to unlock the door lock. In this case, commercial door openers work like garage doors or gates. Personnel must swipe their card or enter their credentials, and the door – whether it's a garage-style lift door at your warehouse loading docks or front gate – will swing open, allowing them to enter unrestricted. Visitors usually don't need to get out of their cars.

2. Convenient And Reliable

The right access control equipment is convenient and offers lower installation and maintenance costs. Commercial door opener systems such as Liftmaster make the most of wireless technology, with the access control panel and door opener capable of connecting via WiFi and wireless link technology. This saves on installation costs and time, ensuring you don't have to run expensive and complicated wiring through walls or underneath driveways. Liftmaster even includes Local System Memory, which ensures smooth entry and exit even when the internet connection goes down.

3. Do Everything Access Control Systems Do – And More

Commercial door openers aren't like your typical home garage door opener; they're robust, competent systems that can be integrated with your current access control system or set up independently. You can set them up with a keypad, door card reader with swipe or proximity cards, or remote-control reader, just like any other commercial access control system, allowing you to choose the best system for your business. Old-fashioned intercom and keypad systems are still a possibility, too. Commercial door openers, like those from LiftMaster, are cloud-connected, allowing access for everything from remote viewing and monitoring to changing settings and permissions, just like any other access control system. LiftMaster Cloud Smart Access Control can also send text and email alerts, allowing you to see whoever comes and goes throughout the property and giving you easy and complete control over your system. An instant alert will let you know if a suspended code or credential (from a former employee, for example) is used. And – you can do all this from your smartphone or computer. Liftmaster Cloud works over WiFi, Cellular, wired connections, and even DSL. Liftmaster commercial gate and door access control systems have extended features not found in everyday access control systems. These include touchscreen access control systems allowing visitors to quickly call from a list of contacts over secure VoIP to verify identity and real-time alerts.

The Bottom Line: Commercial gate and door openers from LiftMaster are convenient, dependable forms of access control, making securing both front gates and overheard-style lift doors easy and possible. If you want to secure your business or residential property properly, they’re integral to the access control installation setup.

Essential Steps for Access Control System Installation

  • Identify the areas within your facility that necessitate varying levels of security (how many doors, the size of the facility, and its integration with other security platforms).
  • Evaluate if you need a cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid access system.
  • Determine the preferred methods to grant access (key fobs, PIN codes, card readers, biometric fingerprint scanners, RFID, or mobile devices). Feel free to consult an expert for any inquiries.
  • Request a price quote from an authorized access control provider and select an appropriate installer.


What is access control, and why do I need it for my facility?

Access control is a sophisticated security system that serves as a digital gatekeeper for your facility. It meticulously manages and restricts entry and exit to specific areas, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access them.

This system is indispensable for safeguarding your property, valuable assets, and personnel from unauthorized intrusion, enhancing overall security and control within your facility.

Is access control installation a complex process, and can I do it myself?

Access control installation is an intricate process encompassing hardware, software, and network components. We strongly advise against attempting it yourself. Engaging a skilled professional with expertise in access control systems is essential. Their experience ensures proper installation, configuration, and security measures, guaranteeing the system functions effectively and safeguarding your facility, assets, and personnel.

What security measures should I consider during installation to protect against potential vulnerabilities?

When installing access control, prioritize security measures. Incorporate robust encryption protocols to safeguard data. Keep software up-to-date to patch vulnerabilities. Maintain secure credential management practices to prevent unauthorized access. Collaborate closely with your installer to ensure the system is configured with security as a top priority, bolstering the protection of your facility and sensitive information.

Can I integrate access control with other security systems during installation?

Yes, integration is standard and enhances overall security. You create a comprehensive and synergistic security solution by integrating access control with a current security system like CCTV cameras or alarm systems. This integrated approach enhances your facility’s overall security posture, ensuring a seamless and robust defense against potential threats.

Why Brivo OnAir is the Best Cloud-Based Access Control

Office security camera system

Suppose you’ve been following the security industry or you’re looking to install an access control system of your own. In that case, you’re probably aware of the developing industry for cloud-based access control management platforms.

These allow you to use various access control and security systems (door unlocking, video recording, and visitor tracking) from any web-connected device. They’re an indispensable tool for any business, and there’s no better one on the market right now than Brivo Cloud-Based Access Control.

With Brivo, you don’t have to deal with door controllers. Brivo uses the cloud to communicate with your panel and verify your credentials without the hassles inherent to server-based systems.

Instead, you use a modern interface for any number of doors with access control options to lock or unlock the doors, add or remove credentials from your allowlist, and much more through a secure web connection.

Brivo OnAir Benefits:

Brivo’s user interface is intuitive, uncluttered, and functional. From the main page you’ll be able to set schedules, groups, and access for your employees or guests. At a glance, you’ll know where you are, where you’re going, and how to get there, whether you’re checking in on your system or revamping your white-list.

Brivo’s web portal isn’t picky – it’s just as versatile accessed from a smartphone or tablet as from a full desktop. It’s one of the cloud conveniences you’ll come to rely on when managing your access control system.

Want to get rid of keycards? Pair the Brivo Onair app with your account and you can use your smartphone to access your building – unlock your doors with a simple button. It’s the same NFC-antenna technology behind your phone’s tap and pay feature, and it’s just as secure.

Brivo has the same encryption standards as server-based access control, but because your account is on the cloud you can manage the software from any web browser without compromising that security. Your server knows exactly how to talk to the Brivo cloud, but the signal never goes from the cloud to your server, so the connection can’t be hacked. This encryption is also standard for online banking and shopping, so your access control system is protected by the same protocols you already trust.


Brivo’s cloud-based access control management system is a single point of contact for any number of secured facilities. It can manage a suite of warehouses or apartment floors just as easily as a single unit, all from the same web interface. No matter the scale you’re dealing with, Brivo simplifies your process, and the habits you form with the interface translate smoothly between multiple access control systems even if they use different authenticators.

With your security cameras integrated into Brivo, you can tether real-time video feed to your activity log so you can literally see who’s accessing your building. With additional customization options for security reports – frequency, content, sources, and delivery – Brivo is the most versatile tool in your security systems arsenal.

How Access Control Systems Work

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