10 Features to Look for in an Access Control System Before Purchasing

When it comes to protecting your business, you can never be too safe. From theft to vandalism, your company faces many threats every day.

A quality access control system is one of the best investments you can make for the security of your property and employees. Not only will this system keep unauthorized individuals out, but it will also help you keep track of who comes and goes.

However, not all commercial access control systems are created equal. Before you make a purchase, look for the following features:

Access control system

1. Intuitive User Interface

An intuitive user interface is the first thing you’ll want to look for in an access control system. This will make it easy for you to configure and manage your system, even if you’re not technologically savvy.

Ideally, the user interface should be easy to navigate and have a clean design. It should also be responsive so that you can access it from any device.

2. Automatic Door Management

If you have a large facility with multiple entries and exit points, it can be challenging to manage all the doors manually. This is where automatic door management comes in handy.

Your access control system will automatically open and close doors based on pre-determined schedules with this feature. This capability can save you time and ensure that all entry and exit points are secure.

3. High Security Credentials

Approximately 61% of all reported security breaches last year were attributed to leveraged credentials. This is especially concerning in regard to access control systems, as weak credentials can leave your facility vulnerable to attack.

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To combat this, choose an access control system that uses high security credentials such as biometric authentication or smart cards. These methods provide an extra layer of security and make it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access your facility.

4. Scheduled Backups

No matter which access control system you choose, it needs to have a reliable backup plan. In the event of a cybersecurity threat or system failure, you want to be confident that you can restore access quickly, without data loss. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying $150 or more to rebuild your system’s configurations.

Scheduled backups should perform automatically if your commercial access control system is on the cloud. However, if your system’s deployed on-premises, you’ll need to consult your provider to ensure regular backups occur.

5. Customizable Reporting

A commercial access control system should also allow you to generate and export detailed customizable reports. These reports can help you quickly identify any unusual activity, audit employee access, and more.

Some common access control reporting capabilities include:

• History of door activity (information about who opened which door and when).
• Times of day access was granted or denied.
• List of visitors who have accessed a specific door or area.
• Detailed logs of system alarms and notifications.

Reports can save many months’ worth of transactions on hard disks or sync to a Cloud platform, depending on your system.

6. Real-Time Activity Monitoring

An access control system should allow you to monitor activity in real-time with video management add-on features. With this feature, you can immediately identify any unauthorized access and take appropriate action. Considering there are roughly 6.5 million reported property theft cases in the U.S. each year, this capability is critical.

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Many access control system providers offer seamless integration of video surveillance to their solutions. This gives you the ability to see who is trying to access your facility and helps you better protect your property and employees.

7. Mobility

A good commercial access control system should also be mobile-friendly. This means you will be able to use it on a smartphone and tablet, making it easy to manage access on the go.

The best systems will have dedicated mobile apps that allow quick and easy access permissions management. They should also provide real-time updates on who is trying to access your facility.

8. Unique Alarm Capabilities

In the event of an alarm, you’ll want to be confident that you and your employees will be able to identify it quickly. However, if your system sounds like other alarms in the building (i.e., fire alarms), it will be challenging to determine which type of emergency is occurring.

When each alarm is distinctly different, you’ll be able to take appropriate action immediately. Therefore, your access control system should offer unique alarm capabilities.

9. Scalability

Commercial access control systems should be able to grow with your business. For example, as your company expands and employees come and go, you’ll need to add or revoke access permissions quickly and easily.

Look for a solution that can quickly scale with your needs – without requiring a costly and time-consuming overhaul. Your access control system provider should be able to guarantee this process.

10. Ongoing Customer Support

No matter how good your access control system is, you’ll likely encounter some problems along the way. Therefore, selecting an access control system provider that offers reliable and timely customer support is essential.

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Look for a company with a team of experts available to help you resolve any issue on an ongoing basis. This peace of mind can be invaluable, especially when dealing with a critical system like access control.


As you can see, a commercial access control system is a critical investment for any business.

When selecting a system, it’s essential to consider all of the features and capabilities that are important to you. By choosing a provider with a wide range of features, you can feel confident that your facility is secure.

Brian Kozlosky

Brian Kozlosky, President/Founder of 2 Krew Security and Surveillance - headquartered in Kittanning, PA. With a Bachelor of Science from Slippery Rock University, I have 15+ years of experience operating a successful security and surveillance company. You can get in touch with me on LinkedIn.

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