THOUGHT CENTER > Blog > Access Controls

Top 10 Features of Access Control Systems

September 4, 2023

Too busy to read? Here’s a summary:

  • The top ten features of modern access control systems include data encryption, visitor management automation, timed access and scheduling for staff, multiple credential types, and multiple approaches for assigning privileges to credentials.
  • A wide range of access control credential types enables customizations for specific use cases and site needs.
  • For the highest level of security, use multi-factor authentication that incorporates biometric data.

Access control systems safeguard against unauthorized entry and provide unprecedented control over who can access what, where, and when.

This article explores the top access control system features that commercial and institutional properties are leveraging for unparalleled security and convenience.

Top Features of Access Control Systems

1. Credential Options

Each of the following credential options comes with its own set of beneficial features. The best credential system for each area of your facility will depend on factors like its security level and the need for seamless movement.

Card-Based Systems

Card-based access control systems may use magnetic stripe cards, proximity cards, contact cards, or smart cards as credentials for ID verification.

Magnetic stripe cards are convenient and relatively cheap to produce. However, they're best for lower-security requirements because they’re relatively easy to clone.

Proximity and contact cards are more secure, but smart cards are the gold standard in card-based access control. The same smart card can be used for multiple purposes, ranging from gaining access to buildings to purchasing meals at cafeterias.

Mobile Access Control

People generally keep their mobile phones on them at all times, which makes mobil credentials particularly convenient. Just as importantly, mobile credentials are highly encrypted and resistant to hackers. Mobile access control usually uses Bluetooth or near-field communication (NFC) signals.


Unlike keys, cards, and mobile phones, biometric credentials can't be lost or stolen. They are unique to each individual and often provide the greatest resistance to bad actors.

Common types of biometric access control include fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, and retina recognition.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication

The large number of credential options also empowers organizations to implement layered security strategies. Instead of relying on a single form of identification, the multi-factor approach requires two or more. This makes it exceedingly difficult for any unauthorized person to gain access.

3. Data Encryption

Every access system is only as secure as its weakest data link. Effective data encryption ensures that information transmitted between credentials, readers, and control panels is protected against credential cloning, data leaks, and unauthorized data manipulation.

4. Real-Time Monitoring

Today’s Internet Protocol (IP) security systems empower users by enabling system access and monitoring at any time, from anywhere via smartphone and desktop applications.

Being able to see who comes and goes in real-time is not just reassuring; it's critical for rapid emergency responses.

5. Analytics and Reports

Data is gold, and that’s especially true for access control data. Many of today’s access control systems automatically capture and store access log data. Automated access logs enable advanced systems to analyze access patterns and create reports with valuable insights into possible security lapses, workflow or customer bottlenecks, and other areas of concern.

6. Integration with Other Security Systems

An integrated system is a smart system. The ability to sync your access control with other security measures, such as video surveillance and alarm systems, makes for a comprehensive security solution.

7. Automatic Software Updates

Enable automatic software updates to improve workflows, add new features, and avoid security gaps that can result in system vulnerabilities to hackers and other bad actors.

8. Guest Management Features

Many access control systems have features customized for visitor management.

Guest Passes

Temporary guest passes provide a seamless visitor experience while maintaining a high level of security. Guest passes can often be arranged online ahead of time to be printed on-site or added to mobile devices. These passes limit visitor access to appropriate areas and can be set to expire after preplanned visits.

Visitor Logs

Maintaining a record of all visitors and their access events serves as a valuable investigatory resource in case of any security incidents.

9. Timed Access and Scheduling

Restrict access based on time to ensure that only authorized personnel can enter or leave secured sites during specific hours.

For example, cleaning staff may be able to access offices after hours but not during the day. Conversely, daytime workers at a factory can be prevented from accessing their workspace after hours.

10. Options for Assigning Access Privileges

Organizations of all sizes benefit from a wide range of options for assigning privileges to staff and visitors. The following privilege-assignment options are often selected for their level of flexibility, convenience, or security.

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

DAC allows an access control administrator full discretion to decide who can access different areas and when. As a flexible option for assigning access privileges, DAC is particularly popular with small businesses where administrators know staff by face and name.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

MAC is the most stringent type of access control. Privileges are set and managed by a central authority. Mandatory access rules cannot be adjusted without central approval. Government sites often use MAC for high-security installations.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

RBAC assigns access based on roles within an organization rather than on an individual basis. RBAC streamlines the process of assigning access privileges by allowing multiple users to be assigned privileges at once on the basis of their job role. This method is particularly useful for organizations with large workforces or high turnover.

Mammoth Security and Top Access Control Features

A lot goes into selecting an access control system with the best features to meet your organization’s security and entry-management needs. Choosing a knowledgeable and experienced vendor and installation company is, therefore a crucial first step toward successful implementation of access control infrastructure.

Fill out the form below to arrange your 100%-free, zero-obligation consultation with a friendly and knowledgeable access control expert from our team. We’ll survey your site, discuss your needs, and make sure that your access control system has all the features you need.




Access control systems offer a variety of credentials, including card-based systems (magnetic stripe, proximity cards, smart cards), mobile access controls (Bluetooth, NFC), and biometric credentials (fingerprint, facial, and retina recognition).

Mobile access controls are highly encrypted and resistant to hackers. Technologies like Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) can turn your smartphone into a secure key, offering both convenience and high levels of security.

Multi-factor authentication requires two or more forms of identification to gain access. This layered security approach makes it exceedingly difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain entry.

Effective data encryption protects information transmitted between credentials, readers, and control panels. This ensures against credential cloning, data leaks, and unauthorized data manipulation.

Yes, modern access control systems allow real-time monitoring via smartphone and desktop applications. This is critical for rapid emergency responses and offers users greater peace of mind.

Automated access logs enable advanced systems to analyze access patterns, offering valuable insights into possible security lapses and other areas of concern.

Yes, many advanced access control systems can sync with other security measures like video surveillance and alarm systems, providing a comprehensive security solution.

Automatic software updates improve workflows, add new features, and avoid security gaps that could make the system vulnerable to hackers and other unauthorized users.

Access control systems often have features like temporary guest passes that can be arranged online and printed on-site, as well as visitor logs that serve as valuable investigatory resources in case of security incidents.

Access control systems offer multiple options for assigning privileges to credentials, including Discretionary Access Control (DAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), each serving different flexibility, convenience, and security needs.



I’m not just another sales guy. I’m a security expert ready to discuss your security strategy one-on-one.

Let’s discuss your security strategy and get you a tailored solution that will perfectly fit your security expectations.

Get your FREE copy of ‘Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing A Camera System’