Access control systems are designed to keep your business, employees and office secure by preventing access to unauthorized visitors, restricting employees from accessing specific areas and managing all employees’ access to your space.

Giving each of your employees a master key to your business is insecure and unsustainable. Overtime keys are lost and stolen, increasing your business's risk of a security breach. Using an access control system, you can connect your doors and electronically powered locks to control your employees access to your business. Employees are provided credentials, and those credentials are presented to a proximity reader to unlock the door. Common employee credentials include mobile, key cards, key fobs, and biometric authorizations.

Balancing security and convenience in physical access control is the age old paradox of any security system or user interface. Often the credential is viewed as the most important piece to the employee perception of security. When an employee leaves your organization, credentials can be deactivated to prevent future unauthorized access to your business.

Physical access control is a security system; access is logged and tracks which employees enter your business, which door was accessed, and when they entered. With access control software, either cloud based or local, you can track in real-time as credentials are used throughout your business. Most software includes suspicious access notifications, alerting security managers when a credential is used during non-business hours.

 

 

The Best Access Control System Criteria

From the many access control systems available, there are dozens of options for your organization ranging from expensive, local systems that run on your own servers to customizable cloud-based access control systems with hundreds of features and over-the-air (OTA) updates. You could easily pay thousands of dollars up front for a local control panel system, or find something that offers monthly billing to scale with your business and fits your budget.

There’s no way to include every system available on the market, so we've compiled criteria to our research for how we’ve ranked the best access control systems below. The criteria for our inclusion of the systems below are based on:

  • Security technology, system type, and credential options
  • Access reporting, visitor management, and time tracking
  • Installation requirements, installation ownership, and maintenance
  • Customer support, training availability, and self-service documentation

We then grouped the access control systems by type and listed them each in the appropriate category. Pricing can be difficult to compare since access control can be priced on materials, installation labor, maintenance, and number of users in the system. In the summary for each access system we do our best to list pricing in the simplest terms of cheapest setup per month cost to account for the disparity.

best access control systems

With each access control description below, we will also include a screenshot, a brief summary of their system, and a link to the full review page with more information. Use this guide as a snapshot and any interesting access systems that may fit your business needs, click through to the review page to learn more.

Below we start with the categories and links to specific brands further down the page.

 

 

The Best Access Control Systems for Business

Click on a category below to learn more about the type of access control system or jump to a specific system directly by clicking its name.

 

 

IP Systems - Cloud Based Access Control

Managing your contacts didn’t used to be so difficult. When you started your business, you had a handful of suppliers and customers, and few enough team members that you could memorize their email addresses.

Managing your contacts didn’t used to be so difficult. When you started your business, you had a handful of suppliers and customers, and few enough team members that you could memorize their email addresses.

ADT (Protection1)

ADT access control

ADT is an international company that provides electronic safety and security solutions to primarily residential units. ADT focuses on making home spaces safe from a variety of elements, such as break-ins, fires, floods, and more. It also provides a one-to-many solution for homeowners who want to create a smart home environment, allowing them to connect a variety of home appliances and IoT devices to the physical access control system.

Managing your contacts didn’t used to be so difficult. When you started your business, you had a handful of suppliers and customers, and few enough team members that you could memorize their email addresses.

Like many other commercial access control solutions, ADT can connect to a number of 3rd party emergency hardware as well as support its own brand of security hardware.

For a deeper look at ADT features and pricing, see our ADT Review.

Bosch Security Systems

Bosch access control

Bosch Security Systems is a worldwide company that specializes in security and communications products. Bosch focuses on video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, fire detection, and voice alarms. They work with local partners to service their international customer base to deliver and implement on complex projects.

Bosch sells access control products through local channel partners. They have a variety of access control panels including the AMC2- Access Modular Controller and Access Easy Controller. New controller and panel models connect to cloud making Bosch an IP access system. Also listed are magnetic contacts and mounts, request-to-exit buttons, back-up batteries, professional access control software, readers and access cards. Readers are designed to read PINs, biometric credentials, and proximity cards.

Access Professional Edition is their proprietary web software that gives managers the ability to customize their system video verification, alarm verification, intrusion system management, and ability to adjust cardholder privileges.

Purchasing Bosch Commercial Access Control requires contacting a local partner for a site visit and quote. Pricing varies based on partner you are working with.

For a deeper look at Bosch features and pricing, see our Bosch Review.

Brivo Access Control

brivo access control

Brivo is a Cloud Based Access Control System that specializes in securing assets, people, and facilities against unauthorized access. A SaaS company, Brivo works with property management companies, commercial offices, government institutions, to deliver the Brivo physical access control and video services.

Brivo OnAir is the company's flagship product that allows you to monitor, manage, and control your facilities in real-time from anywhere. Connecting their system requires 3rd party hardware and an internet connection. Brivo OnAir features hosted entry control, ID management, and connections to doors and devices.

Brivo does not usually deal directly with end users during the sales process. Rather, they work through a network of dealers, resellers, and integrators to package Brivo services and for clients. Initial fees and average set up cost hovers above $3000. The monthly subscription is calculated by number of key card readers and user credentials you are managing on your system. Brivo currently integrates specifically with mortise lock solutions, in particular two brands of wireless locks: a Schlage AD-400 and the Salto XS4 SALLIS Escutcheon.

For a deeper look at Brivo features and pricing, see our Brivo Review.

ISONAS Access Control

isonas access control

ISONAS is a pure IP Access Control system for businesses and organizations worldwide. Minimal hardware is required to setup the system. Door readers connect to the internet and are powered over an ethernet cable (PoE). ISONAS can retrofit old panel based systems into an IP system which works with their branded Pure IP management software.

ISONAS’ system is lightweight, with all credentials stored on site within the readers, making offline access a possibility. They offer two readers which include a proximity card only version and proximity card plus a pin pad. Readers are compatible with ISONAS proprietary cards and key fobs as well as third-party credentials. As for integrations, ISONAS does not have capability to connect to fire and alarm systems, but can connect to third-party video management systems.

Hardware, accessories, credentials, and software can be purchased by contacting the team directly. Warranties are available on all hardware and services. Online training and support for partners and customers is available.

For a deeper look at ISONAS features and pricing, see our ISONAS Review.

Kisi Cloud Based Access Control

kisi access control

Kisi is a Cloud Based Physical Access Control System that consists of door controllers, proximity readers, and management software. The system is operates purely in the cloud making it an IP access system for businesses. Kisi manufactures its own proprietary hardware (controllers/readers) and engineers and supports the software in-house. Kisi sells directly to clients as well as through their global reseller program.

The Kisi door controllers connect to the cloud management software via ethernet cable or WiFi connection. Once synced, administrators of the facility can share keys, control access permissions based on time and door, and see access reports for unlock activity. Kisi has many software integrations with CRMs, coworking management platforms, and IP video systems such as Ring.

User credentials for the system include mobile apps for Android and iOS devices that communicate with readers using NFC and Bluetooth. In addition, key holders can use Kisi Passes which are Kisi’s own, more secure version of the traditional proximity card. Kisi’s readers are powered of ethernet (PoE) and will soon offer offline caching for emergency scenarios.

The entire Kisi system can be purchased on the Kisi website. They allow you to purchase hardware and software, and provide installation coordination services to help hire a professional locksmith company in your area. Support is provided over the phone and on LiveChat. Support documentation and training materials is thorough.

For a deeper look at Kisi features and pricing, see our Kisi Review.

S2 Security Systems

s2 security ip based access control

S2 Security offers advanced physical security solutions for the modern office. S2 Security is the leader in IP-based integrated security systems: access control, video management and mobile apps.

S2 products are the access control and video management systems of choice for Fortune 500, education, health care, manufacturing and government customers around the world. Learn more about some of the representative markets we serve. Some markets S2 Security serves: education, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, health care, and technology

S2 IP access control system architecture maintains a complete database on an S2 Network Controller and distributes the data to S2 Network Nodes (portals) supporting one or two readers, assuring that the access control capabilities function during network outages.

For a deeper look at S2 Security Systems access control features and pricing, see our S2 Security access control review.

Salto Systems Review

salto systems

From its inception in 2001, SALTO was created with one objective: to devise a world-class access control system that was simple to use and extremely efficient, giving users the ability to control all their access needs and secure all their doors without complex and expensive wiring. Such a solution had to be simple to install and set up, cost-effective, reliable, complete and future-proof. What resulted was our pioneering SVN platform -- the first stand-alone, battery-powered electronic locks for access control.

Salto has recently rebranded its cloud-based wireless locking solution as SALTO KS, Keys as a Service.

For a deeper look at Salto Systems access control rebrand, features and pricing, see our Salto access control review.

Control Panel Access Systems

Managing your contacts didn’t used to be so difficult. When you started your business, you had a handful of suppliers and customers, and few enough team members that you could memorize their email addresses.

Managing your contacts didn’t used to be so difficult. When you started your business, you had a handful of suppliers and customers, and few enough team members that you could memorize their email addresses.

Tyco Integrated Security Access Control

tyco access control

Tyco is a leading provider of security products worldwide. They have a wide ranging of products and solutions for access control, event management, intrusion security, video security, and information management. Because of the full suite of security products and sub-brands, the access control system has native integrations with video, fire, and security systems.

This full-stack access system allows you detect suspicious entries and revoke credentials remotely. In addition, the robust event history will track and backup all activity for auditing and compliance purposes. Tyco software acts as an identity and a visitor management system for all types of businesses. The service & installation of the hardware is provided by a local Tyco partner on behalf of the global corporation. Contacting the company support line is widely known to be difficult and a poor experience.

Tyco has a full line of enterprise grade controllers, software, modules, and card readers. IP Controllers are designed to connect to third party readers and in-house software known as AC2000. They also have their own line of readers which support credentials such as IP cards, biometric (fingerprint), and other smart cards and key fobs. To get Tyco for your business, you will contact them via the website and wait for them to connect you with a local partner for a site visit.

Note: Tyco recently merged with Johnson Controls. We expect major branding implications in the coming year. This information will be updated as soon as it's’ available.

For a deeper look at Brivo features and pricing, see our Tyco Review.

IDenticard Systems Access Control

identicard premisys access control

IDenticard is known for the customizable ID badges and credentials for employees which can be used for access control. In addition to custom badges and identity management, IDenticard provides readers from the following vendors: Allegion, Essex Electronics, Fairpointe Data, HID, and Morphotank. The readers are the latest available to mass-market and include proximity card readers, barcode readers, and magstripe readers.

The PremiSys access control system, you can create custom photo ID badge designs to add branding to your organization's proximity cards. Additionally, you will be able to grant the badge access to specific doors and times. PremiSys is priced on the number of doors connected to your system and how many user credentials you need to issue. The Pro version allows for elevator controls and video integration while the light version restricts users to only mobile credentials and cardholder management.

IDenticard badging products are available for purchase online while readers and PremiSys access management products must be purchased through a partner. What the company adds in customization and branding for businesses, it loses in practical security and safety features.

For a deeper look at IDenticard features and pricing, see our Identicard Review.

Stanley Security Access Control

stanley security access control

Stanley Physical Access Control provides a full out-of-the box access kit that can grow with your business. The Stanley PAC Access Control Starter Kit includes PAC access software, a two-door controller, 2 ONEPROX GS2 MT Mullion Readers, 20 proximity cards, and a USB enrollment reader for activating cards. Cards and fobs that use this type of Card Serial Number (CSN) technology are susceptible to being copied and used for break-ins.

Using the Starter Kit you can control up to 250 doors with 25,000 cardholders. The system card readers require connection to the door panel unlike most modern providers. This type of wiring and installation is difficult to maintain and inefficient. Stanley’s flagship reader is EyeLock which is iris detection and authentication technology. The PAC Access software is managed locally at a workstation and allows for auditing and reporting by the administrator.

Stanley is known for it’s doors and locks, and this access control system integrates seamlessly with those complementary products. The primary downfall of this particular system is the weak credential technology. Protocols are far behind what others in the industry use for authentication encryption.

For a deeper look at Stanley Security features and pricing, see our Stanley Security Review.

Honeywell Access Control

honeywell access control

Honeywell is a global provider of security products which gives it a leg up when it comes to access control. The panel based system and generic door controllers make it compatible with scores of security products and accessories on the market. This makes the system versatile in the office environment, but decreases system security due to the piecemeal approach.

Door panels are installed locally and require Honeywell’s WIN-PAK access control system to manage credentials and generate reports. Honeywell offers readers that can authenticate keypad credentials, barcodes, key cards, and biometric fingerprints. Like all panel based systems, the readers must be wired back to the panel to function. Honeywell access control panels can control up to 32 doors in the facility.

Because of Honeywell’s expansive. security offering, the system pairs nicely with alarms, fire safety, video surveillance systems, and much more. The system is flexible and scalable, and comes from a trusted name in the industry. The downfall lies in the fact that support for the product is non-existent and relies on local vendors knowledge and experience. Additionally, Honeywell does not offer a mobile app for unlocking doors through mobile credentials.

For a deeper look at Honeywell access control features and pricing, see our Honeywell Access Control Review.

Vanderbilt Industries Access Control (Bright Blue)

vanderbilt access control

Vanderbilt Industries added access control to it’s growing stock of security products by acquiring Siemens’ security division in 2014. The access control system is known as ‘Bright Blue’ and integrates nicely with Vanderbilt proprietary readers, credentials, video management system, and security management systems. The system is centrally controlled by a door and reader controller that connects to the internet via Ethernet cable.

Vanderbilt provides two version of the access control system: bright blue and lite blue. Lite blue is an OP-based reader interface meaning that while the doors are connected locally, the readers communicate with the lite blue software through the cloud. Lite blue can connect 2-8 doors and controller credentials for up to 5000 cardholders. The bright blue system can control up to 32 doors, but aside from that has the same features as lite. With both systems, the management portal can be accessed remotely from the web-browser.

Vanderbilt offers a nice all-in-one security system complete with video, access control, and facility lockdown. The downfalls include poor product support, inability to send firmware upgrades OTA, and no mobile or biometric access credential.

For a deeper look at Vanderbilt access control features and pricing, see our Vanderbilt access control review.

Mobile Access Credentials

Controlling access to your space can be provisioned in a number of forms. Mobile access credentials are an up and coming solution to provide a modern and secure way for authorized key holders to access a specific door. The benefits of mobile credentials include added convenience, increased security, and remote control of a physical location.

Most mobile credentials use near field communication (NFC) or Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to authenticate a phone and grant access to the visitor. Access is usually managed in the cloud with one primary administrator to grant and revoke mobile credentials.

HID Mobile Access Credentials

HID mobile access credentials

HID Global provides mobile phone based credential based on bluetooth and NFC technology. HID cards and credentials allow to integrate nearfield proximity readers with other access control systems.

HID Global is at the forefront of access credential solutions. Create security identities but also management and the use itself are strengths of HID Global Mobile Access. Unique features are robust quality, innovative designs, and industry leadership. OEM's come to HID as well as developers and integrators to integrate HID mobile access into their security project around physical access control. Increasingly IT departments and IT security looks for strong authentication and credential management but also card personalization, visitor management and identification technologies. HID Global is an ASSA ABLOY Group brand.

It is worth noting that HID's mobile access passes are a great alternative to hackable HID cards, Wiegand vulnerabilities or simply the wide range of HID passes.

For a deeper look at HID access control features and pricing, see our HID mobile access credentials review.

 
 

Talk to our team to get Kisi in your office.

Kisi has a team of experts standing by to talk to you about access control. If you have questions, click below to talk to the people who know it best.

(646)-663-4880

or

// // //