Choosing A Door Access Control System

Whether you’re moving into a new building or simply revamping the security on your existing premises, thinking hard about what sort of system will work for you is paramount. The first thing to consider is lock type and access protocol.

Maybe you have workers who have left and not returned their key. Or maybe the company that occupied the building before you still have copies. Even if you’re confident that your security is not compromised yet, giving it an overhaul every few years is a good way to stay safe and protected.


Before we start looking at options, consider these important questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your door access system?

Usually the main purpose is to keep people out of areas which they are not supposed to enter. This may include doors to car parks, the main entry doors, doors to personnel files or otherwise. Do you need to track who has used the door, and when? Or do you simply need a basic system that will keep your premises safe when you are not there?

  1. How secure does it need to be?

If you’re running a simple business with few valuables left on site, you probably aren’t going to want to invest thousands in the latest all singing, all dancing Fort Knox style access control system. Similarly, if you run a retail premises with a lot of stock and possibly cash left at work overnight, a basic keypad or swipe card might not be enough. The aim is to buy only what you need, without going overboard and paying for features you could live without.

  1. How big will the access system be?

Think about the number of doors you need to secure, and the role each one plays in the security of the building. Will some doors be used by customers, and some only by employees? What are those doors made of, and are any designated as fire doors? The answers to these questions will have an impact on the type of security you can use, and the choices you’re going to make.

You should also consider whether you need controlled access in both directions or in just one. In a controlled exit system, your employee will need to enter their code or swipe their card to get out, as well as in. In a free exit system, either the door senses someone approaching and unlocks for them to leave, or there is a door release button they need to push. By law, your access control system needs to allow people to exit the building if the power goes out or if there is a fault with the system, so consider this when planning your design.

Planning your access control system

There are a whole bunch of options available which you can consider when redoing your door access system for your business. It can begin to feel rather complicated, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll find it’s actually not too bad. The elements you need to plan for are:

  • A method of getting in through the door
  • A plan for getting out through the door
  • A decision on the type of lock to be used
  • A plan for how the system is controlled (e.g. for users not authorised to enter that door)
  • What functionality that access point needs

By applying each of these elements to every access point or door you wish to secure in the business, you can start to come up with a plan for what you need.

Types of door locks

There are a number of types of door locks available to use, which broadly fall into the following categories:

  • Standalone locks: These are locks which only work on that door, and can feature a keypad lock, proximity card or a good old-fashioned key. If they are electronic, they are powered by battery, therefore are not susceptible to power cuts. They can be installed and ready to use in minutes, and some even feature a reader function, which can download the audit trail from the lock. However, they are not connected to any security system and are not part of your wider security network.
  • Key switches: These look like standard key operated locks, but actually are connected to your network to assist with electronic auditing.
  • Keypad locks: These are very cost effective and are often used in single door entry systems. They use simple codes of between three and 10 numbers, which are manually punched in, much like opening a safe. The downside of these is that users often write the code down, or lend it to other people, making it less secure.
  • Card readers: Easy to use but an expensive system to install, these offer card based entry for all your users. Some use barcodes, others magnetic strips, and some are proximity activated, opening a door when the card is sensed to be within a few feet of it. A lost card is no problem, because it’s a simple matter of a few taps on the PC to deactivate it and reprogramme a new card for that user.
  • Biometric systems: The Ferrari of the door access control world, biometric systems rely on physical characteristics of the user to allow them to gain entry. This could be fingerprints, retina scans, handprints and more. They are by far the most secure option, but are very costly to install and can feel a little intrusive to users who are not accustomed to this type of system.

The type of lock system you need will depend greatly on the level of security your business requires. Digital door locks have proven to be highly useful in a variety of situations, and are a great, low cost, easy to install choice for businesses not concerned with having a centrally controlled access system.

The digital door locks we sell are often used in public buildings like hospitals, offices and schools. Their low cost and ease of installation means they can quickly be applied to a door which needs to be secured, and will provide instant protection for that room or area of the building.

The benefit of digital locks like these is that they are highly straightforward in terms of their operation. There is very little that can go wrong, and your security won’t be compromised in the case of a power cut or computer virus entering your network. They can be programmed to allow free access at certain times of the day, for instance to allow the cleaners to reach every room, and then to restrict access at other times.

Digital door locks can be installed on all types of doors, including timber and multi point locking UPVC doors too. They are safe for use on external doors, and can be reprogrammed with new codes quickly and easily. They eliminate the need for a key, so that the risk of a key being lost or copied is removed.

For further advice on choosing door access systems for your premises, speak to one of our team, who can provide product knowledge across all of our locks and workplace security equipment

Related Articles:

Does Your Workplace Need A Safe?

Taking Care Of Your Keys In The Workplace

Does Your Workplace Need Security Mirrors?