The Different Types of Access Control Systems

Originally posted on October 8, 2020 @ 7:15 pm

Types of Access Control Systems


Interwest Communications is here to close the door on security threats to businesses.

Interwest’s access control systems are the solution to prevent, limit, detect, and correct damages and losses to your business as a result of intrusion and theft. Continue reading to learn more about access control, or contact us with any questions.

What is access control?

Access control systems are security practices and technology that restrict access to business data, property, assets, and systems. Access control systems are vital for most businesses, as they mitigate the risk of unauthorized access, loss of property and sensitive information, and damages to the business itself.

Steps of Access Control

The “steps” of an access control system are usually threefold: Identification, Authentication, and Authorization.

1. Identification – Who is this person? Are they a member or the organization or a stranger?

2. Authentication – Is this person really who they say they are?

3. Authorization – What does this person have access to?

A quality access control system addresses all three of the steps of access control, ensuring that the premises are kept secure.

Types of Access Control Based on Function

Types of Access Control Systems


Also called cloud-based access control, web based access control stores permissions on the web rather than on the physical devices themselves, allowing you to view, manage, and control permissions and reports from anywhere

The cloud also automates device updates and vacation settings for your convenience. Web-based access control offers a  simple, low-cost option that can be deployed quickly and easily to improve the overall security of your building.


When your access control system is mobile-based, you can manage every aspect of your building’s security from a smartphone. This is similar to a web-based implementation, and often both are compatible with the other. Mobile-based systems work by sending an unlock code to a cloud server via WiFi or a cellular signal.

This allows you to lock and unlock entry points in your business from anywhere, which is useful for granting one-time access to personnel who are delivering packages and performing maintenance. Mobile-based access control can also utilize Bluetooth or near-field communication (NFC) to unlock doors. This eliminates any possible inconvenience from slow WiFi or a bad cellular connection when you’re standing in front of an entry point.


IoT controllers and readers are connected to the internet and have firmware that can be updated in real time. This connectivity keeps your system up-to-date with the latest security patches. It can also prohibit unauthorized devices from communicating on the network which prevents hackers from circumventing your system.


Categories of Access Control Based on Implementation

There are different categories of access control based on how they are implemented and based on their function. Many access control methods fall under several categories, but an effective access control system combines administrative, physical aid technical access control to limit access to sensitive data and physical locations.

Administrative Access Control

Administrative access control is centered around the policies and procedures in regards to who has access to what, such as an Access Control List (ACL) with groups or individuals who have access and permissions. People are an important— if not the most important— factor in the equation when implementing access control systems. And people are the beginning, middle, and end of administrative access control.

Physical Access Control

Physical access control is the use of technology to deter, detect, direct, limit, and prevent physical access to specific spaces. Physical access control systems use fences, gates, doors, locks, badges, biometrics (facial recognition, fingerprints), turnstiles, video surveillance cameras, security guards, motion detectors, and the like to allow access to certain areas.

Technical Access Control

Technical access control limits connections to computer networks, system files, and data.

This style of control enforces restrictions on applications, protocols, operating systems, encryptions mechanisms, and so on.


Types of Access Control System Management

Access control management are the protocols used to determine and control user access. There are 4 types of access control management:

1. Mandatory Access Control(MAC)

2. Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

3. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

4. Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC)Mandatory (MAC)

1. Mandatory (DAC)

This is the strictest option and is primarily used by the military and other government entities. The operating system firmly controls access to all doors based on settings created by the system administrator. With a MAC system, it’s impossible for users to change permits that grant or deny entry to rooms throughout the facility.

2. Discretionary (DAC)

This is the default option for managing most access control systems. Unlike MAC, DAC allows business owners to make decisions about who can access which areas on the premises. Each entry point has an Access Control List (ACL) with groups or individual users who have permission to enter.

3. Role-based (RBAC)

Also called non-discretionary access control, this form of access control management grants entry to users based on their role within the organization. This allows stakeholders to effortlessly assign permissions based on job titles. IIf an employee is promoted and another is hired on to take their place, their changing position within the company will allow the person in charge to assign keycard access to the appropriate areas.

4. Attribute-based (ABAC)

As with DAC, this management style ties access to ACLs. ABAC manages access rights by evaluating a set of rules, policies and relationships using the attributes of users, systems and environmental conditions, such as times of the day or days of the week.

7 Benefits of Access Control for Businesses

Benefits of Access Control Systems

Always Know Who Comes & Goes

Many businesses have equipment and physical assets that are valuable. Access control systems keep track of who’s coming and going to ensure that someone hasn’t snuck in, or out, of the building. If a business is large with a lot of employees, it can be difficult for everyone to know who is an employee and who is not. Additionally, access control helps prevent strangers from slipping in undetected.

Keep Track of Employees

If a business has multiple shifts with large groups of employees coming and going at odd hours, access control can help organize the chaos and inform you if an employee is in the building when they shouldn’t be.

Secure Sensitive Information

Many businesses have documents or data that should not be accessible to everyone in the company. Thorough access control allows a business to limit the access to certain areas that hold hardware or software that this information is saved on.

Reduce Theft & Accidents

Access control allows a business to give only approved or specially trained employees access to areas that may hold valuable or dangerous equipment.

Multi-Property Protection

An integrated access control system will allow a business to grant access to employees who need to enter multiple or all buildings within a businesses’ purview.

No More Worrying About Keys

When an employee quits and fails to return their keys, the business is stuck with the expense of making new keys and possibly even changing the locks. The same would apply when an employee loses keys. If the employee left on bad terms, this also removes the chance that they will try to re-enter the building and do damage.

Protect Against Intruders & Unauthorized Access

Finally, access control systems prevent anyone without permission from entering. This is one more security hazard that you don’t need to worry about as a business owner.


Interwest for Access Control & More

Do you need to be able to control your business’s access points easily, efficiently, and in real time? With the access control features Interwest Communications provide, it’s as easy as opening up your smartphone.

When you know what’s happening you can act with certainty and your staff can efficiently identify and respond to issues. Our cloud based system seamlessly integrates video surveillance, access control, and overall business security so your team has the right information.

 Enjoy the benefits of our local technicians assisting you with 24-hour recordings, live feeds, alerts, and indoor/outdoor solutions for protecting your assets. You can learn more by reading The Guide to Integrated Access Control & Security Camera Systems, or give us a call at (800) 759-3960 for help planning the access control strategy for your business.

We don’t just provide security, you can rely on us for your business phone system and network needs. We provide a solid, stable, and scalable product line with an unmatched level of customer service and support by highly trained professionals. We’re there when you need help. Our local technicians can assist 24/7, whether that means a visit out to your location or just a quick phone call.