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Key card access systems or key fob entry systems are ideal for securing and managing entrances in any building or facility. By using a key card system, you can ensure that the right personnel have access at the right times while prohibiting unauthorized entry and limiting access to restricted areas.
While key card access control systems are a great way to improve physical security, they can also be integrated with commercial CCTV systems or alarm systems for added security benefits. In other words, these access card systems are incredibly versatile and user-friendly, with various options depending on your needs.
However, choosing the right access card systems for your business can be challenging. In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about key card access control systems to make the best decision for your business.
Sleek, easy-to-install card readers for any entry
Backward compatible with legacy key cards and fobs
Fast, reliable card readers with remote unlock
Intuitive, cloud-native management software
Real-time alerts and detailed audit logs
A key card access solution is a combination of card credentials, door card readers and locks that limit access to a building or space. This door card access system operates by verifying the information stored on the key card through the security card reader. The key card door lock system will permit or deny access based on the access privileges assigned to the cardholder.
Card access security systems consist of several different components:
Today’s key card door entry security systems generally rely on RFID access or magnetic stripe technology, allowing users to tap, swipe or use proximity to a key card machine to access a secured area.
The key card is programmed with an individual’s details so key card readers can identify them. Then, when someone swipes or brings their card close enough to the scanner, it captures the information and sends it to the controller for verification.
The controller verifies the user’s identity against the database and grants access if they are allowed in that area. It can also trigger additional security measures, such as alarms or text alerts to security personnel.
If the door access card reader system requires additional security, it can be set up to use keypads. These devices enable the cardholder to enter a personal code in addition to presenting their card. Combining these two measures helps ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive areas.
Finally, the door access card system software ties everything together and allows businesses to track who has accessed which areas and when. It provides even more control over who is entering the premises.
Organizations that need to track the movement of personnel and secure areas with sensitive information may consider implementing key card door lock for business solutions. Having a reliable, customized physical security solution is critical to protecting company assets. Still, it can be challenging to determine which type of key card system best meets your organization’s needs.
Here are some types of key card door lock solutions along with their best applications:
A magnetic or swipe card access system works with cards with magnetic stripes on the back that can be read by an electronic card reader installed at each entry point. They’re also called card swipe entry systems because they require the user to physically swipe the card.
Card swipe entry systems are relatively simple because no additional hardware is needed beyond the reader. The reader is connected directly to the key card door lock system. Swipe card door lock solutions are excellent for applications where access to specific areas needs to be limited, but advanced security features aren’t necessary.
Swipe card entry systems work well in apartment complexes, universities, schools and offices where attendance needs to be monitored and secure areas accessed. Swipe card door entry solutions are also a popular choice for smaller businesses looking for an easy and cost-effective way to control access to their premises.
Magnetic card swipe door entry systems can also be used beyond entry points. For example, businesses and universities may choose to install swipe card systems to allow access to printers, and for enrollment or timekeeping purposes.
Proximity door access cards use radio frequency identification (RFID technology) to communicate with security card reader systems. This type of card key door lock requires no physical contact between the card and the reader. Instead, the card just needs to be placed near the reader to transmit data.
A proximity card key entry system offers a higher level of security than a door swipe card entry system because the cards are harder to duplicate. Additionally, many cards can be programmed with different levels of access rights for added security.
A proximity card door access system will work well for organizations with high-traffic areas, like hospitals and factories, where it’s necessary to quickly allow or deny access to personnel.
A badge entry system is a card key access system that uses a person’s ID badge or card to grant or deny access. Like any other key card door entry system, the ID badge contains a chip or RFID tag with information about the holder’s rights and access levels. However, it may also include a photo, department, title or other information to quickly identify them.
Badge locks are programmed to recognize badges that meet the necessary criteria and reject any unregistered badges. Depending on the solution, a badge access system may require additional authentication, such as a PIN code or fingerprint scan, for MFA security.
One major advantage of a badge door lock system is that it makes it easier to track who has accessed which areas and when. This is also a highly convenient card access security system because users don’t have to carry their badge and a separate key card.
Badge door lock systems are an excellent choice for organizations with a lot of personnel, such as hospitals or universities, where access needs to be limited and monitored. They’re also an excellent choice for businesses such as factories where many workers come into contact daily with hazardous materials or sensitive equipment and would benefit from having quick but secure ways into various parts of the facility without needing extra keys or complicated passcodes.
There’s a reason access card systems are so prevalent in commercial property security. While not necessarily the most advanced tech on the market, key card locks for doors still offer a wide range of benefits.
Although card key locks provide enhanced security, convenience and flexibility, they also come with some drawbacks. Before investing in access card systems for your business, be sure to weigh these disadvantages with other security options.
While providing a level of security, key card locks for doors come with inherent security risks that should be considered.
While key card locks for doors provide some degree of security, they also come with inefficiencies that can impact a business.
As a business grows, the key entry system may become increasingly difficult to manage.
At first, investing in a key card system might not seem all that expensive because the key card door lock price is usually quite low in comparison to other security systems. However, there are quite a few factors that influence the overall key card system cost that can impact your budget.
The size and layout of the building that requires a key card entry system will significantly influence the cost because it will determine the number of key card scanners, key card door locks and wiring needed to install the system. Complex or multistory building layouts can add complexity and additional costs. For example, a multi-tenant complex with public and private offices, or an entrance gate card access security system with entrances for vehicles and pedestrians will require more wiring and key card readers than a simple single-story building with only one main entrance.
The type of card reader used can also affect the cost of a key card door lock system. Some key card readers will have more features and security capabilities than others, such as support for multiple credential types or built-in video IP security cameras, which can add to the cost. Depending on the security level required, prices can vary greatly.
Another factor influencing the key card door entry system cost is the number of key cards needed for personnel and any third parties who require regular access. The cost of the physical cards and the administrative costs associated with their issuance will need to be factored into the system’s overall operation budget.
When installing a key card entry system, software requirements should be considered. Newer systems require different software than legacy systems, which often necessitates upgrades that can get expensive when setting up a hybrid solution. Even when installing a completely new key card access system, the software needs to be sourced and set up, which can add to the cost.
Intuitive software with remote or cloud-based access control management can increase operational flexibility for key card door lock systems, allowing teams to sync users, adjust permissions, change door schedules and more, without being physically on-site.
For higher levels of security, additional features such as integrated video surveillance or motion sensors may be required. These features can add to the cost of the key card door entry system, but can significantly improve security posturing.
For example, investing in a key card access control system with built-in video can give your teams visual verification of users swiping in. Similarly, key card gate access systems might be more effective if they incorporate license plate recognition technology.
Installation costs will depend on the complexity of the job and the type of system being installed. Professional installation is usually recommended for larger key card access control systems, adding to the overall cost but improving the reliability and durability of your security.
Finally, ongoing maintenance is necessary to keep up with operational demands; additional expenses will need to be factored into any card door access system. Maintenance costs will depend on the type of card access system, the features it offers, and any software or hardware upgrades that might be needed.
Integrating key card access systems with other security systems can bring significant benefits in improved safety, convenience and return on investment. By combining multiple layers of security technology, businesses can ensure their premises remain safe and protected.
Many types of integrations can be deployed with a key card access solution, giving companies the flexibility to customize their security strategies:
Business owners and commercial property managers must consider various factors when selecting a key card or door badge system. Security, efficiency, scalability, user experience, integration, support and cost will play a role in the decision-making process. Use the following key card access system checklist to help plan successful implementation for your business:
Key card access systems provide businesses with a practical, versatile, and cost-efficient way to monitor and control access to a building or area. With the right planning, businesses can ensure that they make the right choice when selecting a door key card system for their needs.
By considering the security, efficiency, scalability, user experience, integration, support and cost questions outlined above, businesses can decide which key card door lock system best suits their needs. With an advanced, futureproof card door access security solution in place, organizations can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their premises are safe and secure.
Our video security experts can help you implement the right security system for your business.