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January 24, 2021


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Access control

Your guide to procuring secure door entry systems

In this guide, you’ll get to grips with the elements of door entry systems, discover how door entry systems make your building safer, and understand how to choose the right door entry system for your site.

Elements of door entry systems

What is a door entry system?

A door entry system is also known as an access control system. Entry door systems control admission to your premises for security purposes. They are put in place to effectively provide access to specific people – be it staff in your office, suppliers to your warehouse, or even carers to an elderly resident’s home. In doing so, they omit unwanted visitors, such as criminals, from gaining access to your site, stealing your assets and damaging your property.

How does a door entry system work?

There are several types of door entry systems and access control systems. These include:

  • Security doors and door locks: Security doors can act as a successful form of access control. There are varying types of locks which can permit access to the right people. These include deadbolt locks (which involve keys being given to permitted personnel), handlesets, (which also use keys), keyless locks (which can be opened by a code – more information below), mortise locks (which use a key), and a smart lock (some of which can be opened using Bluetooth via an app or smartphone).
  • Safe key storage: Rather than hiding a spare key under a mat, safe key storage is a secure box to leave your key in that can only be opened with a specific code – often granted to permitted visitors. This is commonly used for Airbnb properties, for example, so that when a paying visitor arrives, they can access the property themselves without the owner having to meet them there.
  • Intercom entry systems: An intercom system provides audio verification. They allow security personnel to speak to those wanting access to the property or site. This can help identify whether they should permit access, especially if security personnel choose to ask qualifying questions to confirm someone’s identity or visiting purpose. However, they require manual monitoring. 
  • Chubb-MobileAccess-21Video door entry systems: Video door entry systems provide audio-visual verification. They allow security personnel to both see and speak to those wanting to access the property. They are often used on an exterior door. However, they still require manual monitoring.
  • Remote door opening: Intercom entry systems and video door entry systems don’t necessarily provide entry access – they simply provide identification and verification. They need to be paired with a remote door opening system which can allow security personnel to permit or omit entry. Remote door opening systems also allow security personnel to grant access without having to manually unlock and open the door. Some apps allow remote door opening from anywhere, which means you won’t need a security guard present on site to fulfil the role.
  • Proximity readers: Proximity readers rely on proximity access cards. These are contactless cards that send a low radio frequency to signal to a door access reader, which allows a permitted visitor in from a distance. Proximity access cards do not need to be manually inserted into a card reader, they only need to be near one. Cards can of course be deactivated once permitted personnel are no longer allowed access (such as if staff leave a company, if a contractor no longer works on your site, or even if a card is stolen). If you wish, you can add an additional security measure to this entry system by requesting ID verification upon entry which is approved by a security guard.
  • Key fobs or access cards: Unlike proximity access cards, some cards or key fobs will need to be swiped against a machine or tapped against a reader. This is a common way to increase office security, as they allow staff to come and go, but protect unwanted intruders from being able to access office assets, data and hard drives. Mobile devices are also now being used, with credentials stored securely on an employee’s or visitor’s smartphone device.
  • Keypad door entry systems: Keypads require codes to permit access. Permitted personnel will be given the correct code and will have the freedom to enter and leave the site when they need.
  • Biometric door entry systems: Unfortunately, keypads are at the risk of codes being shared between permitted and non-permitted visitors, which is why biometric door entry systems can bolster security efforts. They read biological or physical features, such as fingerprints and retinal scans. However, these can be expensive and have previously raised privacy concerns.

Each access control system and entry door security measure works in a different way. Depending on your budget and the level of security you need for your premises (whether its commercial or residential), the access control system you need will vary.

You may also choose to include multiple door entry systems for optimal security, using, for example, video door entry systems on exterior doors, key fobs on internal barriers and keypad door entry systems on high-risk rooms which contain expensive or private assets. Security buyers looking to enhance airport security, for example, are likely to procure a strategic blend of different door entry systems, with some areas requiring more stringent access control than others, and some personnel requiring more access than others.

How door entry systems make your building safer

Why should you invest in door entry systems?

There are several factors that pose a risk to your business security. Doors are the most common point of entry for assailants, so it’s crucial that your access control system is in place to prevent or delay a criminal’s attempt to enter your property. Regardless of what sector your business is in, door entry systems are crucial.

Data published by the Home Office found that in 2018, the construction sector witnessed 910 criminal incidents per 1,000 premises, while the transportation and storage sector witnessed 2,755 crime incidents per 1,000 premises.

Even in the world of home security, data by Which? reveals that 65% of 1,330 homeowners have deadlocks on their doors, 57% have outdoor security lighting and 45% have a burglar alarm. Access control security measures are crucial.

Beyond bolstering your security efforts, door entry systems act as a prominent signal of technological advancement, and make your visitors feel that you take the safeguarding of your premises seriously. Likewise, with offices, door entry systems can provide a professional and contemporary experience to clients, staff and candidates interviewing for roles. It indicates that you care for the wellbeing and safety of your people and property.

How do key door entry systems make your property secure?

Key door entry systems essentially deny access to the wrong people. They only permit access to trusted individuals. They prevent you from providing access to criminals, ‘smash and grab’ assailants and act as an additional obstacle to seasoned criminals’ attempts to steal any of your assets. 

Choosing the right door entry system for your overall access control strategy

How do you choose the best door entry system for your business?

You’ll need to assess the level of security you need, and what your budget is. The highest form of access control security – such as biometric door entry systems – will require a higher budget. However, if you’re simply looking  to safeguard an elderly relative’s home and allow carers to come and go throughout the day, you might wish to simply adopt a safe key storage. Likewise, if you need to regularly change who should have access to your site, you might benefit from proximity cards or access cards, as you can disable cards manually and frequently.

The best place to start will be deciding on your priorities and thoroughly assessing your site’s needs and your business’s budget.

It’s worth looking at independently tested products, too, and comparing them on an online marketplace such as IFSEC Global’s Directory to get a sense of your options.


Keep up with the access control market

The physical access control market is moving fast. Find out where you stand with the latest edition of IFSEC Insider's comprehensive 2022 State of Physical Access Control trend report, covering all the latest developments within the market. We assess the current technology in use, upgrade plans and challenges, and major trends on the horizon after receiving the views of over 1000 security, facilities and IT professionals.

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