access control systems

What to Look for in an Access Control System

An access control system is a vital part of your security system. You want to choose it carefully to ensure it will meet your needs entirely while also smoothly integrating with your existing components. The system’s security level will be your top priority, but you also want to ensure its longevity and usability. You want it to be operational for a long time before it requires replacement. Plus, it should be user-friendly so that it doesn’t lead to operational headaches.

Types of Access Control Systems

Before you can consider all the options in control access systems, you need to ensure you know the types of systems available.

There are several types of card access systems, including:

    • Proximity card access systems use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to detect a card near the reader. The system verifies the user’s credentials when the card is detected and grants or denies access.
    • Magnetic stripe card access systems employ a magnetic stripe on the back of the card to store user data.
    • Smart card access systems utilize a microchip embedded in the card to store user data. The card is inserted into a reader, and the system verifies the user’s credentials .
    • Biometric card access systems incorporate biometric technology to verify a user’s identity, such as a fingerprint or iris scan. The user’s biometric data is stored on the card.
    • Key fob card access systems use a small device, such as a key fob, to store user data. 

Each of these types of card access systems has its own advantages and the choice of system will depend on the specific security requirements and needs of the organization or facility.

Managed Access Systems

A managed card access control system is a type of access control system that is managed and maintained by Alarm Detection Systems. In this type of system, ADS is responsible for managing the system hardware, software, and security protocols, while you, the customer, are responsible for managing the users and access rights.

Managed card access control systems offer several advantages over self-managed systems, including:

  • Reduced upfront costs: With a managed system, ADS maintains the hardware and software, which can significantly reduce upfront costs for the client organization.
  • Increased reliability and uptime: Because ADS is responsible for maintaining and monitoring the system, it is less likely to experience downtime or other technical issues.
  • Scalability: Managed systems can easily be scaled up or down to accommodate changing needs without additional hardware or software investments.
  • Enhanced security: Managed systems are often subject to regular security audits and updates, which can help to reduce the risk of security breaches.
  • Simplified management: With a managed system, you do not need to invest in the resources required to manage the system, which can free up time and resources for other business priorities.

Overall, managed card access control systems can offer a range of benefits for organizations looking to implement an access control solution, particularly those with limited IT resources or expertise.

Considerations Before Choosing an Access Control System

Once you know what type of system you want, consider additional factors to ensure you get the right one. It’s important to take the time to review every point because this will help ensure you purchase the product that meets all your needs and will operate properly to provide optimal security. 

There are three main categories to consider:

  1. Usability
  2. Function
  3. Longevity


Usability means the access control system is easy to use and provides features that make it easy to integrate. Above all, it should have a user interface that is friendly and simple to understand. You want hassle-free managed access.

There should be a limited amount of training required for users. It needs to be straightforward and something most people will find reasonably intuitive. And the setup shouldn’t be complex or require a lot of time.

User experience is also essential. A mobile app will likely be quite helpful so that you and others can manage it when you are away from the business. At the same time, make sure the mobile app is secure and that you can control who can use it. 

Having a system with an authentication process that works for your business is also helpful. Keycard access, for example, may be great for many companies, but for others, it can become too complicated to maintain. You may find a system with multiple authentication options is a good choice. 

Note that access control systems requiring dual authentication are the most secure. If this would work in your company, buying one of these systems is worth considering. 


Function is all about whether the system will work for you. Does it meet your needs? Will it operate within the setup you already have in place?

The access control system must integrate with your existing system. If there is a problem, it can mean more expense for you to get everything working together properly. Look at hardware capability, too. Don’t focus solely on operations and forget you need every part of the system to align. 

Another critical aspect of function is the system’s reporting capabilities. You should be able to generate reports that will work with how you manage your system. For example, if you like to run reports on each individual or sector, you must ensure the system can do that. 


Longevity, as mentioned, is a top priority. The last thing you want is to have to replace the access control system in a couple of years. Implementing a new system can be complicated and time-consuming, so you ideally want something that will last for many years.

When considering longevity, you want to ensure it will be able to grow with your business. If you need to add to your system, it should be flexible enough to allow for that. 

You also want updates to be simple. Ideally, it will be an automatic process requiring very little from you or your staff. But if you like to be more involved in updates, ensure the system allows for that. 

Get What You Need Now With ADS

Once you have explored all the options and are ready to purchase, you can contact us at Alarm Detection Systems (ADS). We are ready to help you no matter your needs. 

ADS has helped numerous business and residential customers in Northern Illinois and Colorado to secure their properties. 

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Important Notice

ADS’s managed access system portals may experience temporary outages for security updates starting this Friday, August 25th. Please wait and try again at a later time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Maintenance Notice

ADS’s managed access system portals may experience temporary outages for security updates starting this Friday, August 25th. Please wait and try again at a later time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Make the switch to alarm detection systems today.
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Protecting your home and the things that are precious to you is what we do.
Make the switch to alarm detection systems today.