How to Choose the Best Door Access Control System

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As a business owner or manager, you’re responsible for almost everything that happens on your premises at any time. Your door access control determines who enters your premises and when. It’s the first step to protecting both your employees and your facilities, assets, and intellectual property.

An effective door access control system gets staffers and contractors into and out of your premises quickly, ensuring unimpeded access to the resources they need to do their jobs. It also allows legitimate visitors access without compromising security and safety.

While that may sound simple enough, consider the typical physical needs of almost any organization, including:

  • Multiple full-time employees who need access on varying schedules
  • Contractors, suppliers, and work-from-home employees require only occasional access
  • Visitors, interns, and inspectors who may need extensive but temporary access
  • Multiple-door access to one or more buildings
  • Tiered security access requirements
  • Changing seasonal needs and scalability as your business grows

Taking these needs into account, a fully implemented door access control solution for even a small company can quickly balloon into a system including multiple access points, a passcode or keycard system, and the staffing, technology, and data hosting services to support it.

Add on top of this the need to connect your physical door access system with other supplemental security systems you might have installed, including:

  • Surveillance video
  • Motion detection
  • Alarm systems

Finally, consider that in many modern companies, physical and data security overlap. This makes it necessary to integrate any physical access control with protocols protecting access to your enterprise technology and databases. Suddenly, simply controlling who comes in the front door isn’t as simple as it used to be.


In fact, an awful lot hinges on your door access control system. It’s just one reason why it’s worth consulting a seasoned professional security company that can help you break down your access challenges into affordable, achievable goals.


First up, we’ve already mentioned the potential overlap between physical and data security in the modern company. Let’s clarify their relationship:

Physical access control: This affects who is on your physical premises at any given time. It’s relatively simple to manage by effectively limiting who has access to your property via control points (doors).

“Cyber” or virtual access control: This affects who can access your company’s enterprise software and databases. While people onsite may access onsite systems, it also includes anyone accessing remotely hosted systems via the internet.

While there are advantages to protecting both your virtual and real-world assets using the same system, you still need effective on-site access control to protect the physical safety of your employees and the integrity of your tangible assets.

That’s what an effective door access control system for businesses is all about.


In order to allow anyone to use a locked door, you need to enable access in some way. There are a number of ways to do this, but all require a managed relationship with the people you choose to trust.

  • Keys or passcodes: Physical keys or passcodes are given to trusted employees and others who need regular access to your premises. While simple to implement, they’re easy to duplicate, lose or pass on to others, making it hard to control who really gets in.
  • Card-based systems: RFID proximity cards are flexible, traceable, and hard to duplicate. These can be programmed to expire when no longer needed. However, they’re still easy to share, lose or forget at home.
  • Biometric systems: These use uniquely identifiable biometric data (like fingerprint, palm print, iris geometry, or facial feature) to enable access. While far harder to duplicate or transfer, these systems require employers to protect and store potentially sensitive personal data.


While it’s up to you to decide who gets to have access to your premises, you’ll likely need the help of a professional security supplier to:

  • Provide and install keypads, swipe points, touch-pads, and biometric scanners
  • Connect these to electronically controlled locks
  • Supply-associated technology, like centralized logging and monitoring systems

An experienced security company will also help you choose a door access system that works for your current and future needs. Consider these seven factors:

  1. Size: How big does your door-access system need to be? How many access points do you have in how many buildings? How should they be connected and managed?
  2. Security exposure: What is your organization’s security risk? Are you protecting just your physical property or valuable assets like cash, documents, research, or data?
  3. Ease of use: How easy is it for employees and approved visitors to use your system? How often do they need access? Is it robust enough to handle your workflows?
  4. On-site or hosted?: Are you planning to take care of your door access monitoring yourself or do you need an off-site hosted service from a dedicated security provider?
  5. Cost of maintaining: How much does it cost to keep your system running month after month? Consider maintaining and replacing cards and locks as well as hosting services.
  6. Upfront cost: How much does it cost to install a system? How does this match your available security budget? What will money spent now deliver in return on investment?
  7. Scalability and replaceability: Will a system continue to provide effective access control as you grow? What is the expected lifespan of your installed equipment?


Along with matching the right technology to your needs, a security services provider can set you up with a range of value-added features and services that can make your door access system more useful, secure, and resilient. Let’s take a look at some of these.


There’s a strong trend towards integration and interoperability as more and more devices can connect directly via wifi and internet protocols.

Service providers are increasingly bundling door access functionality along with video surveillance, motion detection, and alarm services as an integrated product, including on-demand monitoring of the same services.


Even the most basic access control system should generate a log of who has entered and exited and when. This audit trail can be a critical source of evidence in the event of a suspected crime or violation of company rules.


For smaller businesses, remote access can be a useful tool for granting access to your premises outside of business hours. It also enables you to update who can and cannot enter your premises – without needing to go to the office to do so.


If you need to be sure who can use personal information, proprietary data, or payroll information, dual authentication requires users to provide two forms of identification (one often randomly generated) in order to access the building or room where these are stored.


How do you prevent unauthorized people from accessing your building by waiting for a legitimate user to open a door and then “tailgating” or slipping in before the door closes fully?

There are several ways to prevent this, from requiring users to open a second door once inside to combining turnstiles with doors to make it difficult for an intruder to follow. Clearly marked video surveillance of an entryway is also a serious deterrent.


One of the big problems with keycards is that it’s easy for users to hand or “pass back” a card to one or more unauthorized persons as they enter your facility.

Strategies include logging when an identified user is inside the building, preventing multiple entries in a given time, or generating a two-step authentication code. Of course, if identifiable entry is critical, consider a biometric access system.


Criminals thrive when the power goes out. Make sure your access control system has backup power that keeps your premises safe while still allowing authorized users to get into your building or property.

Talk to your security provider about backup batteries and inverters to ensure your security doesn’t go down when the lights go off.


Workplace security starts with effective access control. Richmond Security offers a full range of access security services from basic entry/exit control to fully integrated solutions customized to your business’s security needs and budget.

All Richmond Security access systems include:

  • Real-time reporting and access, and a detailed audit trail
  • Full scalability, so you always have a system that meets your growing needs
  • User-friendly operation and maintenance, because simplicity is the key to safety

Richmond Security can provide on-demand hosted services for small to mid-sized businesses and on-site access control for large or enterprise-level clients throughout the RVA area.

We support equipment from industry-leading technology suppliers including Avigilon Alta (Formerly Openpath), Avigilon ACM, AMAG, Galaxy, and Lenel S2.

Contact us today, or click below to learn more about how Richmond Security can help you protect what matters most while keeping your doors open for business.


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