Serving Southern California Since 1984
Get A quote

Components Of Electronic Access Control And How It Works

Posted on January 11, 2020

As a business, you need quality access control systems to help you coordinate who enters your building, report possible security violations, and record traffic for future analysis.

Whether you decide to use key cards or mobile credentials, you face several basic challenges that come with learning any new complex device, which is why it’s critical that you understand how the device works.

In this article, we will take a look at the basics of building access control systems, the different components that make up an electronic access control system, and how it grants a user access to a particular building or location.

To learn more about how access control systems work and how your business can benefit to these electronic door locks and security systems, continue reading below.


Commercial building access control systems are essentially digital networks that control access to security portals (i.e., the entrance or exit of a building). Most of these electronic access control systems may also function as an intrusion warning system.

Such control systems consist of several devices, modules, databases, and interface terminals to help manage the building access control system from start to finish (i.e., granting access to a particular section of a building or database based on a user’s credentials).

When a user provides their credentials to the building access control system, the system reads the data to ensure the user credentials match with the credentials in the database. If the credentials are a match (or vice versa), the system sends a signal to either allow or disallow access.

However, there are several internal components that monitor and facilitate the framework of an electronic access control system that many users may not be aware of.


The internal components of an electronic access control system are what makes it possible for the database to recognize individuals and credentials and either approve or disapprove access.

Let’s take a look at some of those components below.


All building access control systems are centralized around a server.

Whether you are using an on-site server or utilizing storage in a digital cloud, the server stores and maintains a list of accepted certificates that are given to individuals.

This list can be updated as needed to reflect changes in your system. The server also records all entry and exit data, allowing you to retrieve information for later use.

With a cloud based access control system, on-site servers and a dedicated IT team are not necessary to monitor the system.


The cloud-based software is what enables business owners and their employees to communicate with the access control system. Essentially, the system software is the bridge between consumer and technology that simplifies the security process while keeping the property and its occupants safe and secure.

The system software can provide anything from basic start-up to business security and technology preferences, but the main objective is to allow or disallow users to gain access to a building or database of information and set up authorization procedures to verify the credentials of the user.


Access control points are crucial for building access control systems. After all, these are  the points in which a user gains access to a particular location. 

While doorways are the most common electronic access control point, gates and elevators can all be used as control points as well.


Credentials can be practically anything that stores data (i.e., access cards, key fobs, PIN codes, and cell phones).

Each credential has a unique identification number assigned to it, which will be read by the access control panel. For areas that require more extensive security, it is often suggested to require more than one type of credential to allow access (i.e., two-factor authentication).

Two-factor authentication readers are very popular, often incorporating two different credentials such as a card reader with a keypad for added protection. Credentials must not only be recognized on the approved list of users but also from two separate individuals to allow access.


Keypads and card readers are used to read the information on a user’s credential and send it to the control panel for processing and are usually placed near the main door frame of a building or secure location. If the credentials are approved, the system approves access and allows the user to enter.

For areas that are considered to be “high-risk,” biometric access control readers or facial recognition tools may be used to authenticate a user’s identity using biometric features. These are seldom used in domestic and commercial buildings, but they are fairly popular in locations that require strict access control or two-factor authentication.


Electronic access control panels are a tiny device that mimics a desktop control panel or a smartphone app and determine who is attempting to gain access to a building or particular location. Electronic access control panels include programmable processors that can delegate unique roles, as well as time and date windows to individuals allowed to perform their designated roles.


Last but certainly not least, once a user’s credentials have been verified and their access has been approved, the electronic access control system completes the authentication process and provides a signal to the system that the doors may be unlocked.


Though an electronic access control system may seem easy to understand on the user-end, there are several unique components that a building access control system is dependent upon.

As such, it’s critical that you have a team of professionals to install your building’s electronic access control system.

At Action 1st Loss Prevention, we have been providing building access control systems for commercial companies in the Orange County area and surrounding communities for more than 30 years.

From corporate offices to manufacturing complexes and commercial buildings, Action 1st Loss Prevention can help your business stay secure with an electronic access control system that fits your company’s needs and budget.

If you’re looking for a commercial locksmith company that will ensure the safety of your business with secure building access control systems, contact Action 1st Loss Prevention today.

Get protection you can count on from the leading service provider of commercial security solutions in Southern California.
© 2020 Action 1st All Rights Reserved

Southern California Located