Regardless of their industries, business owners are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of their employees, business assets and business data. This is because workplace security incidents and devastating cyber attacks are on the rise. 

Whether an attack comes from an individual on the outside of your business or from the inside, such as a disgruntled employee, you may be left wondering what you can do as a business owner to protect what matters most. 

Despite digital technology evolving into a primary security tool, the first line of defense against any attack is physical security, such as access control systems and surveillance cameras. In fact, many physical security tools are now integrated with technologically advanced software and hardware to provide businesses with a more complex, intuitive approach to physical security. 

One of the most important aspects of physical security that is becoming more unified with digital technology is access control. 

Access Control Systems

An effective door access control system is one of the most important parts of a comprehensive physical security solution.

Door access control systems allow you to control how, where and when people can enter certain areas of your facility. Whether that means protecting the front entrance of a building from outside visitors or limiting certain employees’ access to particular areas of your business, access control systems provide a stopgap between an unwanted intruder and your business’s employees or assets. 

Modern door access control systems have evolved since the advent of digital advancements such as the internet of things (IoT). Innovative access control systems such as IP and cloud-based access control have become intriguing options for business owners. However, many businesses still prefer traditional lock-and-key controls or key cards. Some choose to utilize a combination of them all. 

To help determine what is best for your business, you first must understand all of your options so you can make an informed decision. 

Lock-and-Key Controls

Lock-and-key controls are the oldest access control method and are still utilized in most businesses, homes and commercial buildings. 

While this method certainly has its place, it may not be the most effective method for a business with complex access needs, because it requires every employee to have multiple keys for various areas. Business owners have to trust that employees will not lose, lend or copy their key, and in the event of employee termination, the owner has to rekey any door that the employee had access to. In addition, traditional lock-and-key controls do not have time-limiting capabilities or tracking options. 

As for outside intruders, lock-picking is an easy skill to learn, making the threat of intrusion a real concern if lock-and-key is your only method of access control. 

Conventional Key Cards

An upgrade from simple lock-and-key controls, electronic key cards are a popular choice for many businesses. Key cards allow for access point tracking, user permissions and user identification. 

Whether swipe cards with magnetic strips or RFID cards that use radio waves to signal an access control point, key cards allow business owners to have more control over who can access spaces and when. RFID door access control systems offer more security but are more expensive. Alternatively, swipe cards are more affordable but only offer low-level protection. 

IP Access Controls

Many businesses choose to use IP access controls, a system that offers the same benefits of a traditional access control system but has a simplified wiring structure, which reduces the cost of long-term maintenance. IP access controls offer businesses more flexibility and a simplified approach to managing access controls. 

Cloud-Based Access Controls

Cloud-based access control is the latest in advancements for door access control systems. With cloud-based access control, businesses can reap the benefits of IP access control while also experiencing the increased reliability and reduced maintenance costs of having an off-site database. 

Cloud-based access control systems include features such as the ability to turn any mobile device into a key card, manage access control from any internet-connected device and instantly update access permissions. The latter feature is invaluable in the event of an emergency requiring a complete lockdown. 

Protecting Your Business 

As physical threats increase, so does the need for businesses to take action and implement effective physical security solutions such as access control systems. Business owners must be up to date on how digital technology can improve the effectiveness of their access control solutions and determine which type of door access control system on the market today is the best fit for their business and specific needs.