Blake Fire and Security Systems

Access Control for Doors: Smart Entry Solutions

Date: 13 March 2024

These days your building’s security cannot be taken for granted. This blog post is a comprehensive guide to access control for doors. We cover everything from simple code locks to advanced biometric systems. You’ll learn how to enhance safety, manage permissions and maintain security within your budget. We provide insights into the systems’ workings and help you navigate through installation and management. By the end you will be confident your buildings will end up with your access control system being a perfect fit for your buildings and the people using them.

Key Takeaways

  • Access control systems offer customisable security solutions that range from simple keypads for single doors to networked or cloud-based systems for multiple entry points, with additional features like biometric readers and multifactor authentication to enhance security.
  • It’s essential to consider the environment, traffic flow, and integration with existing security systems, such as CCTV, when implementing an access control system, ensuring devices meet the necessary ratings for outdoor use and provide seamless operational compatibility.
  • Access control systems should be user-friendly and support centralised management and monitoring, with robust reporting and analytics to inform security management, and must include backup power solutions to maintain functionality during outages.

Understanding Access Control for Doors

Access control operates like a virtual doorman, managing entry into digital or physical spaces like campuses and buildings. It can limit access to physical IT assets and secure areas, using electronic user credentials, access card readers, and auditing reports.

Special software allows for centralised management of access rights and permissions, resulting in a secure and organised system.

Types of Access Control

Access control systems come in various forms. Standalone systems, ideal for single locations, are typically operated by numeric codes, passwords, key fobs, cards, or tokens. For multiple access points, there are networked systems, capable of handling many users, doors, and providing different levels of authorisation.

Then there are cloud-based systems, which allow for remote data management and eliminate the need for onsite physical servers, adding convenience and scalability.

Key Components of Access Control

A variety of key components form an efficient access control system. Access control points like doors or turnstiles are where access to a space is electronically controlled. Devices like electronic keypads, card readers, and biometric scanners are used to authenticate a user’s credentials at these points.

The access control panel then processes these credentials against configured permissions to either grant or deny access.

How Access Control for Doors Ensures Security

By allowing only authorised individuals entry to specific facilities at predetermined times, access control systems implement security. For higher-security areas, they may employ multiple-factor authentication, which requires two or more methods of identity verification before granting access. Electronic access control systems enhance building security, providing a more efficient and adaptable solution compared to traditional lock and key systems.

In case of a security breach or other incidents, these systems can isolate affected areas and log entry data to aid in investigations.

Access control for doors in Southend and Essex

Selecting the Right Access Control System for Your Budget

The decision for the right access control system is not only a matter of security, but also finding a suitable solution that aligns with your budget. The cost of access control systems is influenced by factors such as system type, ongoing licensing fees, installation requirements, and potential integration with video surveillance. Businesses should evaluate systems based on the method of access, server hosting options, types of integrations available, and the requirement for touchless or contactless access features.

Always confirm the compatibility of CCTV and access control brands to ensure successful integration.

For One or Two Doors

If you’re looking to secure single or dual-door scenarios, digital locks are often a cost-effective and simple solution. Selecting a digital lock capable of withstanding high-traffic areas is vital to guarantee long-term use and reliable operation.

Access control kits designed specifically for single or dual-door scenarios offer a cost-effective solution for small buildings. Some benefits of these kits include:

  • Cost-effective solution
  • Easy installation
  • Suitable for small buildings
  • Provides basic security

For locations where minimal complexity and wiring is preferred, standalone access control systems are suitable choices, especially for internal doors needing basic security.

For Multiple Entry Points

Implementing access control for several doors requires a thorough evaluation of each area’s function, anticipated traffic flow, and any unique requirements, like those for fire exits. Multi-door access control kits typically feature a blend of technologies such as keypads and proximity readers, functioning in unison to form an effective security system.

Systems with IP (Internet Protocol) connectivity offer a scalable solution that can adapt to increased demand by integrating new doors and access points as a facility expands.

Fob operated access control for doors

Considerations for External Use

Access control devices intended for outdoor use need to possess the following features:

  • Appropriate IP and IK ratings to resist weather, vandalism, and the like - Ingress Protection and the K is from “Kinetic” to differentiate from IP rating
  • Built-in camera capabilities with features like low light or infrared for effective performance in various lighting situations
  • Ability to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations while maintaining performance and durability.

When securing external doors, consider whether both entry and exit points require similar levels of control, potentially necessitating devices on each side.

Blake’s: Your Local Fire & Security Partner

At Blake Fire & Security Systems, we understand that securing your premises is about more than just installing security equipment… in this case access control for doors!

It's about creating a safe, compliant environment for your business to thrive. That's why, as your local fire and security experts, we're committed to providing bespoke solutions tailored to the unique needs of your business. Here's what that looks like:

  • Bespoke Solutions with a Personal Touch: We conduct thorough site surveys to understand your specific security challenges and tailor your access control system to meet those needs precisely. Expect a system that’s a perfect fit for your business.
  • Rapid Response, When You Need It Most: Emergencies don't wait, and neither do we. Being local means we can offer swift remote support or be on-site fast. Your downtime is kept to a bare minimum and your access control runs smoothly. So your business is always protected, as far as is humanly possible.
  • Dedicated Support and Seamless Maintenance: We believe in building lasting partnerships. Our ongoing maintenance and support services ensure your access control system remains reliable over time. With Blake's, you're not just getting a provider; you're gaining a partner dedicated to the security and compliance of your business - we're accredited to NSI Gold standard. Because we have a concerted dedication to accreditation… your Insurance company will be happy!

Choose Blake Fire & Security Systems for a local company that is Big enough to cope AND Small enough to care! Ensuring your premises are compliant and the people within are safe and secure.

Door Access Control Features

Instead of traditional mechanical keys and locks, door access control systems employ electronic credentials such as key cards, mobile phones, or biometric data. Proximity readers offer a simple and reliable form of access control, enabling communication between the electronic credential and the control system. Keypads provide the convenience of using a single PIN for multiple door access, and they can enhance security when used in conjunction with other methods for two-factor authentication. Building access control can also be augmented with integrated lift control, restricting floor access within elevator-equipped buildings.

Importantly, these systems should support inclusivity with features like voice control and hearing induction loops for users with impairments.

Biometric Reader Integration

Biometric door access control systems enhance security by using unique physiological characteristics for identification. Biometric readers improve security over RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) card credentials by identifying individuals through inherent biometric traits rather than something they possess.

Key features of biometric door access control systems include:

  • Enhanced security through unique physiological characteristics
  • Multifactor authentication for an extra layer of security
  • Encoded data to maintain privacy and prevent data theft

These features make biometric door access control systems a reliable and secure option for access control.

Biometric technologies such as fingerprint, face recognition, palm vein and iris scanning rely on a person's unique physical traits for secure and reliable user identification.

Proximity Readers and Keypads

Proximity readers simplify management and require minimal upkeep by enabling the assignment of multiple access points to a single card or FOB. Keypads provide the convenience of using a single PIN to unlock multiple doors and can be used in conjunction with other security measures to enable two-factor authentication. Electronic keypads can integrate proximity readers for additional entry options using cards or fobs, combining the strengths of both systems.

However, the scalability of proximity reader systems can present challenges with the management of lost or stolen cards/FOBs and may lack central management features.

Break Glass Options for Emergency Exit

Breakglass units are a fundamental component of access control systems, ensuring immediate door release in emergencies such as fires. These emergency units are often coupled with magnetic locks on fire escape routes, allowing for quick door release when activated.

Safety regulations commonly mandate the inclusion of break glass options, serving as a fail-safe mechanism for emergency exits.

Access Control for doors from Paxton

Installation and Power Supply Considerations

Most access control systems use either 12V or 24V DC power supplies, making the selection of the correct power supply unit (PSU) a crucial step in ensuring system reliability. Regulated power supplies are recommended for access control systems as they provide a stable, maintained output voltage, protecting the system from fluctuations due to mains power surges or temperature changes.

To choose the appropriate PSU output amperage, one must calculate the total amperage of all access control components and electric locks, using their stated operating voltage and current requirements. For access control systems with multiple doors, it is often recommended to use one power supply per door to prevent issues; however, powering multiple doors with a single supply can be an option if the supply’s amperage is sufficient and the doors are in close proximity.

A plan for power outages in access control systems should be established, which can include the use of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) or an external 12V power supply, along with considerations for implementing fail-safe or fail-secure locking mechanisms.

The Role of Lock Release in Access Control for Doors

Various types of lock release technologies such as:

  • Maglocks
  • Electric strikes
  • Solenoids
  • Automatic gate controllers
  • Switchmode technology

are employed in access control systems to match different security levels and functionalities. Lock release mechanisms must be integrated with access control systems to enable doors to unlock when an authorised user presents their credentials, which can include smartphone access.

To ensure that lock release mechanisms function effectively, the power supply unit must be chosen with ample amperage to accommodate the activation current and potential surge current during the locking device’s activation.

Access Control Management Software

Centralised management software is crucial for systems with multiple entry points, facilitating the efficient management of credentials and access permissions. Some benefits of centralised management software include:

  • Enhanced building security
  • Efficient management of credentials and access permissions
  • Remote access capabilities for administrators to manage system permissions and monitor entry and exit activity from central locations or via mobile applications.

Modern access control systems provide scalability, with the ability to create various user profiles and handle growing numbers of doors and access points; these benefits are amplified with cloud-based access control solutions, which offer ease of management and potential savings on server maintenance costs. This is how you manage access control for doors throughout your buildings.

Integrating access control policies and auditing within an organisation’s IT environment is vital for enforcing security measures and compliance.

User-Friendly Interface for Administrators

User-friendly software for access control management ensures increased buy-in and adoption from administrators and staff. Software with a clean interface that avoids overwhelming users with options on a single screen is preferred for administrative tasks, while intuitive operation and familiar navigation enhance efficiency for system administrators.

Networked access control systems offer several benefits, including:

  • Centralised management of access permissions
  • Quick adjustments to access permissions as needed
  • Real-time monitoring of entry and exit events
  • Simplified task management for administrators

Customisable Access Rights for Users

Access control systems use different models like Discretionary Access Control (DAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for defining how access permissions are assigned. Automated provisioning systems facilitate the setup of user permissions based on their specific job responsibilities and workflows within access control frameworks.

Users are enrolled into the system with their information correctly registered, specifying access levels, authorised doors, and any applicable time restrictions.

Reporting and Analytics for Insights

Monitoring and reporting are integral components of electronic access control systems, providing an audit trail of access events for security and compliance. Access control software typically includes analytics and reporting features that automatically capture and store access log data. Advanced access control systems analyse access patterns and generate reports that highlight security lapses and workflow bottlenecks.

Access control systems offer the following features:

  • Real-time monitoring and auditing capabilities, allowing administrators to track access events and identify suspicious activities
  • Reporting features that can track visitor access and provide insights into visitor management and behaviour
  • The ability to generate custom reports based on specific criteria, enables administrators to focus on particular areas of concern within the access control data.

Integrating access control systems with existing IT systems can provide comprehensive reporting, complete audit trails, and even time and attendance tracking. Real-time security notifications and an audit trail are important for monitoring building activity and responding promptly to security threats and emergencies. Access control logs serve as valuable evidence in the case of security incidents, increasing accountability by logging every access attempt and its associated credentials.

Access Control Systems for Essex businesses

Integrating Your Access Control with Your Existing Security

Access control systems can be enhanced by integrating with other systems such as:

This integration provides comprehensive security coverage. Access control management software can streamline administrator workflows with automation features and flexible integration capabilities.

Integration capabilities of access control systems with office workflow and property management software allow for automatic updates to the user list, reflecting real-time changes in tenant or employee status. Analytics within access control systems contribute to security and operational efficiency by offering insights into peak access times and user access patterns.

Surveillance Camera Compatibility

Modern electronic access control systems often integrate with surveillance cameras to enable comprehensive security management and oversight. Integrating access control data with surveillance footage enhances the overall security posture by providing a more complete overview of security events.

Benefits of integrating access control systems with surveillance cameras include:

  • Monitoring and detection of potential access issues before they result in breaches
  • Proactive security approach
  • Enhanced security management and oversight

Integrated access control systems can automatically trigger recording on surveillance devices or send notifications to security personnel when unauthorised access attempts are detected. The combination of CCTV with access control can identify tailgating events, automatically alert security staff, and thereby prevent unauthorised entry following an authorised user.

Alarms and Alerts for Added Protection

Access control systems feature the following capabilities:

  • Integrated alarms to monitor and track unauthorised access by visitors or employees, contributing to improved situational awareness on the site
  • Lockdown capabilities to prevent unauthorised access and enhance overall security
  • Automated emergency protocols that may unlock exits during fires or lock down entrances which improves safety and control

Access control software with analytics capabilities is instrumental in emergency situations, providing quick identification of who is present in a facility at any time.

Backup Solutions for Power Failures

External power sources for access control points must be reliable, with a system designed to either fail safe or fail secure during a power outage. Most access control systems require a battery backup to remain functional in case of a mains power failure, and boxed PSUs for these systems often include a battery backup output. Backup batteries in power supplies are an optional but crucial element to maintain security during power outages and require regular maintenance and eventual replacement.

A fully charged 7aH backup battery can provide over 9.5 hours of power, but capacity should be derated by 10-20% to account for the voltage drop before a battery is fully drained. A 24V DC regulated transformer rectifier power supply is ideal for components like hold-open magnets or door closers but is incompatible for use with a backup battery.

Tailoring Access Control to Your Needs

Proper planning is required to design an efficient access control system. Considerations should be made for the number of users and doors, as well as specific security and safety requirements. Perform a detailed site review to identify all necessary access points, including external and internal doors, gates, and barriers. Evaluate whether every door or gate requires access control to avoid unnecessary hindrance to traffic flow. When choosing your system, consider the scale of the project and potential future expansion, which affects your budget, device choice, cabling infrastructure, and system growth ability.

Adopt the practice of least privilege, restricting access to only the resources essential for employees’ job functions. The choice of authentication methods should align with the number of users and necessary speed for authentication, especially in high-traffic scenarios. Design access control systems inclusively, with devices in accessible locations and additional functionalities for users with limited mobility or hearing. For multiple properties, facilitate access using a single credential type to unlock various locks across different locations.

Internal vs. External Door Security

In access control systems, internal and external doors have differing security requirements. External doors necessitate higher security measures due to exposure to weather and the possibility of vandalism. Access controls for external doors should have weather-resistant and vandal-proof equipment such as high IP and IK ratings to endure environmental factors.

For internal doors, especially in high traffic areas, it’s beneficial to reduce controlled access points to improve movement while maintaining security. Specific internal doors in large businesses can use standalone access control systems for an additional layer of security separate from the main system.

Access control, Fire alarms, Emergency lighting, CCTV systems

Retrofitting Existing Doors with Access Control

Access control systems can be a viable option to retrofit existing doors. Keypads and PIN readers allow for straightforward retrofitting of existing doors, particularly for interior spaces with existing control measures. Different mounting options, such as flush or surface mounts, can be used when retrofitting doors with access control units to match the material and aesthetic of the door.

A robust Wi-Fi connection is essential in retrofitting buildings with cloud-based systems, and the use of WiFi extenders might be necessary for larger facilities to maintain a dependable connection.

Scalability for Growing Businesses

The term ‘scalability’ in access control systems refers to the system’s capacity to expand, for instance, to accommodate a larger premises or an increasing number of personnel. Selecting an access control system that can scale is critical for businesses planning future growth, ensuring seamless integration of added doors or users without the need for complete system replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three 3 types of access control?

The three types of access control are ABAC (Attribute-Based Access Control), PBAC (Policy-Based Access Control), and ACL (Access Control List), each with its own set of strengths and limitations. Understanding these methods will help you effectively manage access to resources.

What is access control on a door?

Access control on a door restricts who can enter an area or room in a building or use a particular resource. It can be implemented through mechanical digital locks.

How do access control systems ensure security?

Access control systems ensure security by allowing only authorised individuals entry at specific times and employing multiple-factor authentication for higher-security areas. In case of a security breach, they can isolate affected areas and log entry data for further investigation.

How can I choose the right access control system for my budget?

When choosing an access control system within your budget, consider factors such as system type, ongoing fees, installation needs, integration options, and touchless access features to find the right fit. Focus on evaluating these criteria to make a cost-effective decision.


In conclusion, access control systems are an integral part of modern security, offering a range of solutions to suit different needs and budgets. From single door access to comprehensive multi-door systems, these systems ensure security, efficiency, and peace of mind. By understanding the various components, features, and considerations of access control systems, you are set up to choose a system that fits the needs of your business.

Choosing a local accredited company to handle design, installation and commissioning is a good idea.

With Blake Fire & Security Systems, you can rest assured that your compliance and security is in expert hands. We’re your one-stop-shop for ALL your fire and security needs, not just access control. From passive fire protection and commercial intruder alarms to sophisticated CCTV systems and, of course, access control.

We understand the importance of reliability and compliance for your business, which is why our planned maintenance adheres strictly to industry standards. Your systems will work seamlessly, day in and day out. Isn’t it time to say goodbye to juggling multiple vendors?

Choose Blake's for worry-free fire and security systems tailored to your business needs.

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