Countless businesses and organizations invest in deploying security cameras because they know that security is a top priority. However, many people may not know that in addition to surveillance cameras, access control systems are equally essential to any comprehensive security plan. If your security system only relies on security cameras and traditional locks, it can create many operational inconveniences for your employees, negatively impacting your business. In some cases, they don't even provide adequate security. Companies that manage warehouses, industrial buildings, and commercial buildings can greatly benefit from adding an advanced control system to their security plan.

This article will explain why you need to add access control to your security system and what advantages it will bring to your business. The second part of the article will cover all the different types of access control in the market and show you how to choose the best solution for your business.

Limitations Of a Security System Without Access Control

When discussing security systems, unsurprisingly, many people would think about security cameras first. While you are on the right track, a security system that does not have access control integration is not a complete security system. As a matter of fact, sometimes, it can negatively impact your security and by extension your business.

If you have a warehouse or a commercial building, you may be dealing with hundreds or thousands of people going in and out of your facility on a daily basis. If your facility has many rooms, which is valid for the majority of modern businesses, there are easily tens and hundreds of thousands of accesses you need to worry about. Relying on traditional locks and keys to provide access for hundreds of employees is a logistical nightmare. It certainly is not ideal if you also want to monitor, track, or manage these accesses, let alone some advanced and smart features.

Limitations Of Lock and Key Systems

Lock and key systems have been the traditional method of securing buildings for many years. However, as technology quickly advanced, lock and key systems have slowly becoming less effective in providing adequate security for many businesses. There are many reasons for that. For example, physical keys can be easily lost or stolen, which compromises the security of your building. Additionally, keys can be easily copied or duplicated, making it difficult to definitively track who has key access, making it challenging to manage access control effectively.

Even when there are no criminal activities involved, it is very frustrating and tedious to manage so many keys, locks and employee access efficiently. Businesses at least need some sort of digital management system for access control. Moreover, traditional lock and key systems do not provide any audit trail, which means there is no record of who accessed the building, when they accessed it, which rooms they went to, and for how long. This lack of visibility makes it difficult to identify potential security breaches promptly.

Overall, not having a digital and smart access control will make access management very difficult, time-consuming, and even risky. To warehouses, industrial buildings, and commercial buildings business owners, you will feel these negative impacts on your business every single day. You will not only need to add an access control feature to your security system but also consider using access control systems with advanced smart features, which we will discuss in later sections.

What is Access Control?

Simply put, an access control system is a sophisticated security solution that helps to manage and control who has access to a building or specific areas within a building. An access control system can include a variety of components, such as card readers, biometric scanners, and keypads. It can use cloud-based software to track, log, and authenticate all accesses. An enterprise-level access control system requires hardware and software to work together seamlessly.

After integrating an access control system, users only need to carry encrypted cards or install a smartphone app to gain access. Alternatively, some more advanced systems allow users to gain access by scanning their fingerprints or iris.

Access control systems usually give users great flexibility for customization to meet their unique business needs. For example, suppose a warehouse facility wants to restrict access to areas containing sensitive equipment or hazardous materials. In that case, the business owner will be able to customize what rooms are accessible to staff given their card type or profile.

Key Advantages of Advanced Access Control Systems

The key advantage of an advanced digital access control system over a traditional lock and key system is that it can monitor and track who enters and exits a building or specific areas within it. This information can be used to identify potential security threats or to investigate incidents that may have occurred.

Electronic access control systems can also grant or deny access based on various criteria, such as the time of day, the day of the week, and the user's credentials. A sound access control system should give you as much flexibility as possible to customize these criteria, which will improve your business operation efficiency. Similarly, you will be able to create temporary access to your cards or remove access the moment a card is reported lost. A digital system can also provide a detailed audit trail, making identifying and investigating security breaches easier.

While traditional lock and key systems are not going to be obsolete anytime soon, they are no longer adequate to provide overall security to modern businesses. Electronic access control systems offer excellent control functionalities, better visibility, and more advanced security features, making them a more practical option for many businesses and organizations.

Risks To Your Server Room

There are a few more risks to your server room when you do not integrate access control into your security system. A data center is the most sensitive area of every business. You should never give unlimited access to all your employees. Contrarily, you should only provide access to your server room to trustworthy employees when their jobs require them to enter those areas. If you are not properly managing your server room access, some risks will seriously jeopardize your business operations.

Data Breach

Data breaches are one of the most significant risks a business could experience. We are not just talking about losing your business's important data, but confidential customers data. Imagine all your hospital records or insurance documentation being leaked because anyone can walk in to where the information is stored. Without a strict access control management plan in place, unauthorized individuals will have easier access to your servers or storage facility, potentially damaging sensitive hardware, or steal valuable data.

Ironically, your business’s biggest data risk could be via your own staff. In some cases, if you are not managing your server room access properly, something as simple as inexperience can cause sensitive data leaks or loss. Unintentional mistakes like someone taking photos in a room full of confidential info, or an inexperienced engineer working in the wrong room full of fragile equipment. None of these actions are malicious or criminal, but they are equally devastating to your company’s hardware or reputation. When you are a company with hundreds of employees, an automated access control system is vital to keep your operation running smoothly and safely.

Incorrect Resource Management

Incorrect resource management can also be problematic when there is no access control in place. As we just mentioned, you should only give access to people who have the skills and necessary knowledge into restricted areas in your building or office. For instance, when you provide access to people who are unfamiliar with your network system, they could easily mismanage your network equipment or data functions. This could easily lead to poor network performance or even an outage. Another example could be inventory management in a warehouse. Preventing theft is one of the more obvious access control applications. What about increasing safety by only providing qualified staff access to hazardous materials? Or how about restricting access to stock that can only be released at a certain time? Whether its by accident or not, this can easily be avoided with an access control system that only grants entry to authorized personnel.

Benefits Of Access Control

We have already covered some conceptual advantages of having an access control system. This section will cover specific use cases where a digital access control system excels over the traditional lock and key system.

Know Who Is Arriving

Knowing who enters and exits the building is essential to any security system. An access control system can provide real-time monitoring of who enters and exits the facility or individual rooms. Business owners can track visitor and employee movements, which is helpful in case of theft or other crimes committed on-site. It is also valuable in helping automate management tasks like tracking employee hours or analyzing customer habits.

Lost Keys

As mentioned earlier, physical keys can be lost, stolen or duplicated easily. It is a significant security risk when any of those cases happen. However, having an advanced digital access control system eliminates all those concerns. In addition, if an employee loses their key card, you can simply deactivate the lost one remotely so no one else can use it and then issue them a new card instead.

Using card is no different from what you see in hotels, but more advanced access control systems have biometric options such as fingerprint scanning or even facial recognition technology. These methods ensure that only authorized users have access to certain areas within your building.

It is incredibly challenging to duplicate digital keys, and it is impossible to steal biometric information such as fingerprints and iris. Therefore, an access control system can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized entry compared to using a lock and key system.

Temporary Digital Access

Another important benefit of access control systems is their ability to grant temporary digital access easily. This can be especially useful when you need to give visitors or employees access to your building or certain areas but don't want them wandering around unsupervised.

For example, you can grant temporary digital access to visitors or employees who don't work at the facility regularly, such as contractors or delivery drivers. You can also revoke that temporary access if necessary.

You can pre-program these accesses, which makes access control more automated and efficient while reducing security risks.

Remote Access/Mobile Credentials

Remote access and mobile credentials are two essential benefits of access control systems. Having these two features will give you more convenience and further improve access control efficiency.

With remote access, you can grant someone access to your building from anywhere in the world. This can be particularly useful if you need to give someone temporary or occasional access to a facility but don't expect them to come into the office every day. For example, suppose a delivery driver is coming to your warehouse, and you are further away from your office. In that case, you can give access to this delivery driver remotely from anywhere in the world. Imagine you are on the top floor of a condominium building. You can provide access to your visitors in the lobby without going all the way to the ground floor. Isn't that convenient?

Mobile credentials are similar in concept. They allow users who don't have physical keys on hand, like delivery drivers, to enter through doors using their phones instead. They're also helpful when it comes time for maintenance workers or other people who might need access at all hours. Instead of worrying about carrying around heavy keys all day long and possibly losing them, these individuals can simply use their smartphones as digital keys instead.

MAC Address Whitelisting

MAC address whitelisting is a feature that allows you to restrict access to specific devices. This can be useful if you want to further ensure that only certain people have access to your security system. In this case, instead of filtering people, your security system will only give access to devices from the MAC address whitelist. That means knowing your network or security access credential is no longer enough to access the network. Users need to access your network from an authorized device from the whitelist. This will lower your chances of being hacked by stealing your network access credentials.

You can also use MAC Address Whitelisting in conjunction with other security measures, such as automation systems and door locks. For example, an office building may have an automation system that controls the lights, HVAC, and other systems. After hours, the automation system can lock all doors and activate the security system. When you have a MAC Address Whitelist, only approved devices can access the network and control the automation system. This ensures that unauthorized individuals cannot gain access to the building or modify the automation system after hours.

This security measure is commonly used in office environments, schools, hospitals, and other institutions where unexpected access to the facility or network can pose a severe security threat.

Types of Access/What Access Control is Suitable for You

Security system access control can take many forms. There are many hardware and software players in the market. Depending on the specific security needs of the business, it can be overwhelming when shopping for these solutions. This section will help you to make faster and better choices for your business.

Doorbell System/Intercom

Doorbell systems and intercoms are among the simplest forms of access control. They allow visitors to request entry by ringing a doorbell or using an intercom to speak with someone inside the building. The person inside can then decide whether or not to grant access.

Today the doorbell and intercom systems could have very smart features. For example, many doorbells have built-in security cameras these days, allowing you to see who is at the door from your smart devices. Doorbells and intercoms these days also have Wi-Fi capability, which means they can connect to the internet wirelessly. They allow you to use cloud functions such as storing security footage in the cloud and remote controlling your doorbell and intercom from anywhere in the world.

This type of access control is often used in small residential buildings or small businesses, where few people are coming and going, and the security needs are relatively minimal.

Key Card or Fob

Key card and fob access control systems are more complex than doorbell systems, but they are still relatively simple to use. Each authorized user is issued with a key card or fob that they can use to gain entry to the building or specific areas within the building. The card or fob is programmed with unique information that allows the access control system to identify the user and grant or deny access accordingly.

Normally, users need to tab or scan these key cards with a card reader. More advanced manufacturers offer wireless key cards. You do not have to take out these key cards from your wallet or purse. A card reader radiates a wireless signal, and your wireless key card will passively send the reflected signal back to the reader for authentication. This type of system provides more convenience for your employees, and it reduces the chance of losing them since no one ever needs to take them out. In the long run, this is a more beneficial feature to improve efficiency and reduce risks.

Large businesses and organizations these days typically choose key card systems for their ease of use. Similarly, condominiums with more complex security needs and hotels also adopt this solution for access control.


In order to gain entry, keypad access control systems require users to enter a passcode on a keypad. This type of access control is similar to the key card/fob system, but it does not require users to carry a physical card or fob.

Keypad access control is commonly used in businesses and organizations where many people need access to the same area, but where it is not practical to issue individual key cards or fobs to each person. Some keypads even offer multiple access codes, allowing multiple people to have their own, unique code. Unfortunately, this also comes with the risk of bystanders seeing the code being inputted and replicating it to trespass.


As mentioned earlier, biometric access control systems use a person's unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints or facial features, to grant or deny access. This type of access control is highly secure, as it is virtually impossible to fake or duplicate someone's biometric characteristics.

Biometric access control is commonly used in high-security environments such as government facilities, banks, data centers, and research labs.

Bluetooth/Wireless Entry

Bluetooth and wireless entry access control systems use mobile apps and wireless technology to grant or deny access. Nowadays, everyone is inseparable from their smart devices, such as smartphones and smartwatches. Authorized users just need to install an app on their devices. In that case, their smartphones or smart watches become their key cards or fobs. Instead of scanning specially made cards, users can use their personal or business phone for authentication.

Similar to wireless key cards, some manufacturers offer wireless solutions which allow users to keep their smart devices in their pockets when authenticating access. These solutions typically use Bluetooth technology to enable this feature.

Bluetooth and wireless entry access control systems are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a high level of convenience for users and can be easily integrated with other smart building technologies.


Our partner, Openpath, is the market leader when it comes to access control solutions. OpenPath offers a top-rated, end-to-end access control solution that includes hardware, software, and access methods. Their hardware products are UL 294 and FCC compliant, which means they meet the US, Canadian and European standards. It offers different types of touchless enterprise access control with Wave to Unlock capabilities, encrypted key card entry, key fob systems, and unlock via the smartphone app, Apple Watch, and tablet app.

Openpath’s software offers robust access control features and takes both user safety and wellness into consideration. Openpath also offers cloud-based access control solutions that provide secure, touchless access to buildings and facilities. Of course, with Openpath solutions, you have the ability to manage all your accesses via the internet remotely.

Openpath's open API architecture offers limitless integration capabilities for full customization and automation across the entire enterprise. It also provides backward compatibility, enabling you to integrate their solutions on older hardware. This makes scaling your security system much easier. Additionally, Openpath offers business intelligence tools, audit logs of admin portal activity, customizable visitor access, and an App Marketplace for IT-approved integrations.

OpenPath is now part of Avigilon Alta, which offers end-to-end video security solutions to businesses of any size. You will have seamless integration between access control and your security camera systems. This makes your security system operation much easier with better interoperability. You know for certain that security is a business of trust. Ideally, you should only choose products with the best features from reputable companies.

Integrate Access Control to Your Security Systems

You will not have a complete end-to-end access control system until you integrate your access control functions with your security systems. It provides businesses with more convenience from both operation and security standpoints.

At Panopticon, we partner with the trusted security solution providers, such as Avigilon Alta and Openpath. They offer market-leading products and solutions with the most advanced features mentioned in this article.

Security system with automation features

As mentioned earlier, a security system with automation and door locks after hours is a comprehensive feature that ensures the safety and security of a building or facility. You can program your system to control various systems within the building, such as digital locks, lighting, HVAC, and security cameras. This ensures that the building is secure and energy-efficient, even when no one is present.

Plus, you can remotely manage your system, allowing security personnel to keep an eye on the building and respond to security breaches in real time. In case of a security breach, you also have the ability to activate an alarm even when you are not on the premises.

Notifications For the Number of People Entering a Room

A security system with notifications for the number of people entering a room is one of the advanced features that can enhance the security of a building or facility. This feature requires you to have an access control system in place in areas where you wish to monitor traffic. The system will then send a notification to the security team or building management system when it detects unusual activities. This feature ensures that security personnel and building management are always aware of who enters restricted areas and can take appropriate actions. There are several benefits that come with this feature.

First, obviously, it improves security. The system can help detect and prevent unauthorized access to restricted areas, such as server rooms, storage areas, or other areas that contain valuable assets.

Second, it enhances safety. The system can help prevent overcrowding in areas that have capacity limits, such as conference rooms or event spaces. This can reduce the risk of fire hazards, accidents, or injuries due to overcrowding. After the COVID-19 pandemic, this feature is applicable to any business or facility.

Thirdly, it enables real-time traffic monitoring. If you are running a warehouse, you may want to keep track of all the shipments going in and out of your facility. The system provides real-time monitoring of the number of accesses, which can help manage traffic flow at your facility. You can use this information to make better operational decisions.

Additionally, it allows users to customize notifications. For example, if your office or residential building has a Christmas party or a birthday party, and you expect to have higher traffic than usual. You can turn off the notification or change your notification triggering limit to a higher number. That way, you don't have to deal with constant security notifications or false alarms.

License Plate Control

Instead of tracking people, owners of warehouses, industrial buildings, and commercial buildings all need to deal with vehicle access. Luckily, security solution providers allow you to integrate access controls into the security camera system. Your access control system can easily manage vehicle access with dedicated license plate recognition security cameras

With license recognition technology, your security administrator can quickly grant temporary visitors access to your garage. Your regular employees or customers can use the access key card or fobs when they are in their vehicles. Entering and exiting a parking garage can be hand-free and friction-free. Below are some benefits of this feature.

The most obvious benefit is that it can streamline the process of entering and exiting the facility for authorized vehicles, as there is no need for manual input or intervention.

Secondly, your system can automatically verify the license plate of vehicles entering the facility and only allow authorized cars to enter. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access and can prevent theft, vandalism, or other malicious activities.

Similar to monitoring people, oftentimes, business owners want the ability to monitor and manage vehicles accessing their facility in real-time for operation and security reasons. An access control system allows real-time monitoring of the vehicles entering and exiting the facility, which can be useful for security and management purposes.

Integrating access control with the license plate recognition system will also help reduce costs associated with security personnel. You can operate it remotely and automatically, granting access to authorized vehicles.


An access control system is a critical component of a comprehensive security plan for warehouses, industrial buildings, and commercial buildings. By implementing enhanced security and control over who has access to your facility or specific areas within a building, businesses and organizations can better protect their assets and people. Many companies and organizations are turning to more advanced security systems which can provide more robust security and greater control over access. Whichever solution you choose, Panopticon will help you to integrate access control into your security system. Your business will be more efficient and more secure. Book your appointment today at 416-613-8828.