What is Access Control? And How Do I Do It?

What is Access Control? And How Do I Do It?

Simply put, access control is a system that decides who can gain entry to different spaces. Access control can be as simple as a lock and key or more complex like biometrics.   

You experience access control solutions when you log in to your laptop with a password or use a FOB to open the door to your office building.   

What do we at Active Witness love about access control?   

There are so many ways to do it! Access control solutions are everywhere, and the possibilities are endless. But don’t worry just yet! Because there are so many options, it doesn’t mean that all of them are good or safe.   

Let’s look at different kinds of access control solutions and what they mean for commercial, residential, and visitor management purposes.  

What is Commercial Access Control?  

If you thought your home security was complicated with all the doors and windows to manage with locks and keypads, the commercial sector is a Pandora’s box!   

Commercial access control has many facets and layers, all of which have lots of possible access control solutions. But what are the elements of access control for commercial facilities?   


Identification is a vital part of secure access control for physical facilities, yet it often is taken for granted or missed. Think about the last time a keycard was lent out; the assumption is that the registered holder of the card will be the only one using it, but we know that isn’t how that works most of the time.   

With a biometric access control system, you can guarantee that those accessing the facility have been granted access because, simply put, you can’t lend out your face to others.   


Authentication takes the credentials offered and ensures they match those allowed access. The depth and level of authentication will depend on the hardware you use. For example, simple keycard scanners will give you basic authentication, while a biometric reader is more sophisticated and exact.   

And we’ll even do you one better with multi-factor authentication. Active Witness uses integrated hardware (what we refer to as Sima) and cloud-based software to provide single (secure/dynamic QR codes) or multi-factor credentials (QR + Facial Verification) for highly secure and customized facility access. This system will make you wonder why you held onto your keycards for so long!  

Learn More About Keyless Access Systems


Ah yes, the final phase that puts the access into access control. Once the identification has been authenticated, the system authorizes the credentials releasing the lock and allowing the user to enter.   

A robust authorization system is reliable and accurate, reading credentials right every time. A system like Active Witness pairs authentication hardware with adaptive cloud-based software keeping credentials secure, easy to issue, and accessible from mobile devices.   


Visitor Management Software  

It’s all good and fine that your staff can get into a facility, but what about visitors? Especially for facilities like gyms and clubs that require many customers to have access, finding a sound visitor management system can change the way that you do business.   

A visitor management system gives credentials that allow access to customers. A gym, for example, might use a facial biometric system to allow customers to work out during gym hours without hiring someone to check passes at the door.  

Visitor management is just one aspect of access control, but for some companies, the most important. A good visitor management system will collect data so your business can better understand the comings and goings of your clients to offer better service and solutions.   

That’s the true power of well-thought-out visitor management systems!  

Learn More About Visitor Management

Cloud-Based Access Control Software 

Out of all the access control options (keys, fobs, biometric solutions, etc.) There are only a few that are cloud-based.   

Why a cloud-based system? Well, I’m glad you asked.   

Remember when your laptop crashed and all your photos from your last trip were gone forever? Then you kicked yourself because “had you just put them on the cloud, this would all be fine!” Well, it’s the same for your access control solution. With a cloud-based system, you don’t need to worry about lost cards, credential corruption, or computer crashes. Instead, everything you need is secure and accessible from whatever device you use.   

Cloud-based access control solutions create consistency in your security plan, which is why the access control market is heading that way.   

Access Control means something a little different for each business and facility. But, with some research and expert advice, you’ll find the right fit for you in no time.   

Want to Learn More? Get our Free “Ultimate Guide to Access Control”