Access Control Buyer's Guide


An Access Control System Buyer's Guide

Top 5 Things To Know Before Buying An Access Control System

Access Control Systems are a staple for many businesses in various industries. They are the peace of mind solution for those needing to authenticate and authorize individuals going in and out of secured areas. But what exactly is an access control system?

Access Control System

An access control system is a digital security solution that restricts entry to a commercial or residential building. Not only does an access control system limit and restrict access to buildings, but it also acts as a remote monitoring system. You can see who goes in and out at all times right on your mobile device or laptop. Restrict entry, view visit history, monitor attendance, it’s all possible with an access control system. 

Now that you have a general idea of what an access control system is, let’s take a look at the top 5 things you need to know before buying an access control system. 

1. Database Storage

Before you begin looking at the different types of access control systems and features, it’s important to know what a database storage is, and the difference between a cloud and server-based access control system. This is the first, and most important step in choosing an access control system.

Within every access control system there is a database storage. The database is where you can set access permission, schedule building access, manage access, and monitor who goes in and out. There are two types of database storage solutions which are cloud storage and server access storage. Depending on your industry, one may be more suited for your needs. 

Cloud Based Access Control

Cloud-based access control allows users to access the network from anywhere using a mobile device or computer. Employers can easily grant access or deny access into the building with the push of a button. It is a cost-effective and affordable solution for those needing a reliable system. In addition, when the power goes out there is no need to worry, all the information is stored in the cloud beforehand. 


  • Remote Management
  • Flexible Pricing


  • Reliant on internet connection
  • Recurring costs

Server Access Control

A server access control system, often referred to as an on-premise system, is exactly what the name entails, it’s strictly an on-site security solution. The hardware and hard drive are located within the building, and cannot be accessed by an outside location. This means your company is responsible for securing and managing the server. Server access control systems have an increased layer of security protection due to files only being accessible at one location. 


  • Full system control
  • Local data storage


  • Requires on-site technician 
  • Higher cost due to wired setup and IT expenses

2. Access Control Model

Businesses must determine the most appropriate model of access control system for their needs. There are 3 main types of systems you need to know about which are Discretionary Access Control (DAC), Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), and Mandatory Access Control (MAC). 

Discretionary Access Control

DOC is a type of access control that allows business owners control over access rights and permissions for all employees and visitors. Traditionally, this type of control would be given to a security expert, which is why DOC is considered the least restrictive of the main 3 types of access control systems. 

Managed Access Control

MAC is a commonly used  type of access control for those looking for top tier security. MAC provides elevated security by giving only one person, normally a security officer, access to control and monitor the premises. Unlike DAC, MAC does not allow anyone but the security expert to control the system, including the business owners themselves. MAC is considered the most restrictive type of access control. 

Role-Based Access Control

RBAC assigns and restricts access based on your role within the company. Meaning an employee’s role determines the amount of access they have into certain areas of the complex. This is put into place in order to keep lower-level employees away from sensitive information only accessible to managers. For example, a billing specialist may have access to a room with confidential information, but the new intern would not. RBAC is seen as a flexible access control solution that works for many businesses. 

3. What’s Included in an Access Control System?

access control keyless system

There are various types of access control systems that can help businesses improve their safety measures. It’s important for businesses to know the difference between each system, and which is right for them. Take a look at some of the different types of systems and what they include. 

Keyless Entry Systems

A keyless entry system, as the name implies, is a digital security system that does not require a traditional key. This allows business owners to keep their property protected while also remaining digitally savvy. Not only are they convenient, but keyless entry systems are also touch-free, making it an ideal health solution for many. Check out some of the keyless entry systems below:


  • ID Cards and Badges
  • Biometric Readers
  • Key Fobs
  • Keypad
  • Mobile Apps
  • Interactive Voice Recognition

Door Readers:

  • Proximity Reader
  • Magnetic Stripe Reader
  • Bluetooth Reader
  • QR Code or Barcode Reader
  • Smart Keypad Lock

Security Hardware

Several types of security hardware can offer smart solutions for many businesses including:

  • Intrusion Detection
  • Video Surveillance
  • Alarm Monitoring
  • Environmental Detectors

Integrating Access Control with Payroll and Time and Attendance

Many access control systems are tied automatically to payroll and time and attendance systems within a company. Because of this, companies can monitor when employees begin and end their shifts while simultaneously automatically determining their payroll based on this information. Resulting in accurate timely pay.

Top Access Control System Manufacturers

It’s important to know the top access control companies when looking to buy a system. Each manufacturer's system is catered to a different industry, check out the top 5 access control manufacturers and determine which is best for you.

  • Honeywell: Best Manufacturer for Healthcare
  • Salto Systems: Best Manufacturer for Hotels and Hospitality
  • SecuraKey: Best Manufacturer for Fitness Centers
  • Genetec: Best Manufacturer for Schools
  • HID Global: Best Manufacturer for Offices

Common Access Control Industries

Access control systems can be utilized in a variety of commercial industries including:

4. Price


When all is said and done, the deciding factor for many is the price. When buying an access control system there are many factors that play into the final price including the hardware, set-up, and recurring costs. 

Hardware Cost

When determining whether to buy an access control system the very first thing you’ll need to establish is the hardware cost. On average, a small to mid-sized business should expect to spend $1,000-$3,000 on security hardware. 

Access Control hardwareSecurity CamerasSensors and AlarmsDetectors
$800-$1,200 per door
Including items like card readers, key cards or fobs, door locks, and more.
$100-$600 per camera
Depending on location, type of camera, and more.
$150-$600 per item
Items include motion sensors, glass-break sensors, intrusion alarms, window and door monitors etc.
$60-$300 per item
Detectors include smoke and CO2 sensors and security panels

Set-Up Cost

Once you’ve purchased the hardware, the next step is to hire a company for the set-up and installation. This will cost on average about $300 to $700 depending on the number of hardware items that will need to be installed. 

Set-up and installation 
Depending on the number of hardware items

Monthly Cost

If you opt to have a security professional oversee the company's security system on a regular basis you’ll need to pay a monthly cost for the service. On average, a professional monitor can cost anywhere from $15-$120 per month. 

Professional Monitoring (by Month)
$15 – $120 per month
Depending on the number of devices being monitored 

5.  Our Recommendation Based On YOUR Needs

At 360Connect it’s our goal to make sure your business succeeds, and to do that we need to make sure you and your employees are safe. You’ve read the buyer’s guide, now follow the next 3 steps to get up to 5 FREE quotes on an access control system.

1. Fill out the Access Control System Form

2. We Share Your Requests With Up To 5 Suppliers.

3. A Local Supplier Will Reach Out to You With A Quote

It’s that simple. Get started today and learn more about how 360Connect can help grow your business. 

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