Keeping your property safe and secure requires a lot of thought. But adding a door access control system simplifies the process. The proper access control system enhances security and adds convenience for both your tenants and property staff.
Before installing a new door access control system at your building, you should consider the specific needs of your property and evaluate all your options. This post will guide you through all the relevant information needed to choose the best system for your property.
What is a door access control system?
A door access control system is a method of controlling who can open a door. The access-controlled door can be anywhere within the building — the main entrance, service or back doors, individual units, and so on. Essentially, you can install a door access control system at one or multiple doors where you want only authorized people to enter.
Whether you manage or own a multifamily building or commercial property, a door access control system is essential in keeping your tenants, staff, and assets safe. All door entry systems share the common goal of keeping doors locked for security purposes while providing a simple way for authorized people to access those spaces.
Types of door access control systems
There is a wide range of door entry systems. They can be as simple as the traditional lock and key method or as technologically advanced as a cloud-based intercom system. The type of door access control system you should choose depends on your building’s unique needs and infrastructure.
Common types of door access systems include:
- Manual door access control: Often considered as doormen or security guards, manual access control involves humans monitoring door entry activities. The person guarding the door checks the credentials of whoever is requesting access before letting them in.
- Mechanical door access: The traditional lock and key method is undoubtedly the most common mechanical door access method. But since a key can be easily stolen or misplaced, this puts your building at risk.
- Electronic door access systems: Electronic systems consist of an electronic controller and usually come in the form of a key fob system, keypad, or intercom. Today, given the ubiquity of the Internet of Things (IoT) — it powers our smartphones, TVs, watches, and even some cars — choosing a mobile door access control system is best.
- Mechatronic door access: Mechatronic door access control is commonly used at high-security commercial buildings. These systems combine mechanical and electronic access control. For example, before using a key to open the door, you must first scan a key card or key fob.
What is an access control door controller?
An access control door controller is the mechanism that tells the door lock to release after the person’s credentials are verified. The door controller connects to the reader, which can be in the form of electronic keypads, RFID readers, or another type of system that uses WiFi, near-field connection (NFC), or Bluetooth connectivity.
How does door access control work?
The way that door access control works depends on the type of system you choose. If you go with an electronic or mechatronic door access system, you’re on your way to future-proofing your property. Even more, you can rest assured that the building has a robust security system.
The specifics of how a door access control system works differ a bit between systems. But there are foundational components of almost every electronic door access system.
The four main components of a door access control system are:
1. Access control panel
The access control panel – or access control door controller – is the brain of the system. It comes in either the form of a physical device or cloud-based software that can be managed wirelessly from anywhere with internet access.
The control panel contains tenant and staff information configured by the property owner or manager. If the access credentials match the information in the database, then the control panel signals the door to open.
2. Access credentials
Access credentials are linked to every user and contain information about each person’s access permissions. They can come in one or more forms depending on the level of security you want in your building.
Common types of door access credentials are:
- Key cards or fobs
- Mobile app
- Biometric scan
3. Credential reader
The credential reader receives an encrypted tag number when a person scans their credentials. Then, the door access card reader system sends that information to the control panel to decode. The control panel compares it to the information in the system database. If the information matches up, then the system signals the door release to activate.
4. Door release mechanism
After the control panel authenticates the credentials, it signals the door to unlock. This happens automatically through either an electronic or magnetic door lock release mechanism.
5 benefits of door access control systems
All types of buildings benefit from door access control systems. If your property isn’t a public space, then you’ll want to control access into and within it.
The top five benefits of door access control are:
1. Audit trails of every entry event
Cloud-based door entry systems let you review entry logs from anywhere, anytime, without the hassle of mechanical or manual systems. With date- and time-stamped records of every door entry event, your property will always be secure. Additionally, audit trails in a video access control system include photos of every person who enters.
2. Reduce fire risk
Most, if not all, door access control systems have emergency protocols in place. For example, if the sprinkler system or fire alarm is triggered, the system will automatically unlock all the doors. As such, door access control systems may allow first responders, such as firefighters or emergency medical teams, to quickly access your entire building in case of an emergency.
3. Prevents crimes and theft
An effective door access control system prevents burglaries, package theft, vandalism, and other crime. All entrance doors will be locked while still allowing access for authorized tenants, staff, and visitors. What’s more, many systems come with an alarm management platform to alert you of break-ins.
4. Enhanced visitor management
With a video door access system, tenants can visually verify a guest’s identity before letting them in without going down to the lobby to retrieve them. If the system is also cloud-based, tenants can open the door for guests from anywhere with internet access. Some systems even have features like virtual keys that allow authorized guests to let themselves into the building using a PIN or QR code.
5. Seamless integrations
Cloud-based access systems can integrate with existing devices in your building. Integrating all your building automation systems provides tenants with maximum convenience and a seamless property access experience.
For example, some door access control systems integrate with property management software. Integrating these systems will automatically give door access to existing and new tenants and revoke access from those who move out.
Choosing the best system for your property
Invest in a robust door access control system if you want to keep your tenants, staff, and property safe. While there are many access control solutions to choose from, not all will check every box.
For example, properties with auxiliary and service entrances will benefit from keypad access control with a built-in camera. Meanwhile, the main entrance of an apartment or office building will benefit from a video intercom with a user-friendly interface for tenants and visitors alike.
As you search for the best door access control system for your property, keep these top features in mind:
- Mobile app: Nowadays, your smartphone is all you want to carry. These devices act like our wallets, car keys, and even transit cards. So you’ll want a door entry system with a powerful mobile app that offers multiple ways to open the door: swipe, tap, or voice control.
- Delivery management: Both commercial and residential tenants receive many packages and food deliveries on a daily basis. Choose a door access system that doubles as a package delivery system. That way, couriers can enter the building using a PIN code to securely place the item inside the building or even in a designated delivery room.
- Easy installation and maintenance: Door entry systems are meant to save you and your tenants time. So, the installation and maintenance process should also save you time and money. Choose a system that’s easy to install and maintain.
- IP65 rating: Pick a door access solution with an IP65 rating, especially if it’ll be installed outdoors. The IP65 rating indicates that the device is waterproof and dust-resistant, which will shield it against most weather conditions.