Access control system price planning & costs: know what to buy

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Whether you're a national enterprise with a growing network of locations, or a small company relocating to a new office, one of the biggest concerns for any business when choosing a new building security system is access control cost. But increased costs do not always correlate with increased security. Knowing what functions you need when access control planning will help you choose the most effective security solution to keep your business and assets safe.

Physical Security Planning

The first step to access control budgeting is to determine the security needs of the physical space and what hardware options exist to accommodate it.


Door access control system price can vary based on the type of readers you choose, as well as the number of doors you need to secure. When designing access control, remember that each door needs its own reader, and you'll need to consider the external footprint available for the reader, as well as how many individuals will use each door at any given time. Standard readers are often placed on the wall next to the door, but tighter spaces may require a slimmer design like Openpath’s Mullion Smart Reader, which can be mounted on a doorframe.

Access Control Units (ACUs)

Another cost to factor into your access control budget is the number of ACUs (also known as control panels or controllers) you'll need to install, based on how many readers you have. For example, one Openpath Smart Hub ACU supports up to four Openpath readers. 

Cloud-Based Security Software

An office is only as smart as its software. Given that most workplaces today are flexible and distributed, employees responsible for granting or managing access to the office may not even be physically located in the office, which makes accessing software on the cloud a very attractive option.

Cloud-based access control software eliminates the need for on-premise servers, and, with enhanced security like Openpath's end-to-end encryption, is easy to scale while keeping your data safe. Native integration capabilities also allow you to easily connect your existing security applications like G Suite, Active Directory, or Office 365.

Access Levels and Automation

Knowing how many people will have access, what the levels of access are and what areas of your building employees and visitors can have access to are key factors in choosing a controlled access system that best suits your needs.

Company Size

When choosing your system, it is imperative to plan and design access control that suits your needs and allows for future growth. Company size is often fluid, so when budgeting for access control, make sure your new security system can efficiently and effectively accommodate future employees, as well as potential downsizing. While RFID keycards and fobs may have a lower up-front cost, they have to be manually issued and individually maintained. A mobile access system automates security processes, which saves you time and money.

Security Management

If you use a cloud-based system, you can customize all aspects of your security, which makes security management and accountability much easier. Set lock and unlock times, keep track of each access point with real-time reporting, as well as manage entry points remotely, all from your web browser. For visitors and onsite guests, a mobile security solution can help minimize risk, as well as offer a frictionless experience while visiting your facility.

New Access Control Implementation

Upgrading Legacy Systems

Your building may already have a security system in place, but many legacy systems are outdated, and pose security risks. When planning and designing an access control system, determine if the legacy system can effectively be retired without incurring additional costs. For example, the company may have outstanding contracts with previous vendors.

Before deciding to rip and replace all the hardware from a legacy system, check to see if you can seamlessly integrate with a new system instead. Integrated security systems can have a higher initial investment cost, but offer more flexibility down the line to streamline operations, as well as incorporate more advanced technology like video surveillance and biometric readers.

Installing Mobile Access Control Systems

When you install a new building security system, you can take advantage of the latest breakthrough technologies. Mobile-based access control systems eliminate the vulnerability of on-site solutions, and are often more cost-effective in the long run.

Utilizing the cloud has advantages in that there is no need for a server or constant software updates to be installed. Cloud-based configurations give you control access from wherever you are, and your employees can use their smart phones, smart watch, tablet, card, fob, or cloud key, so they never get locked out again. With no need to buy servers, antivirus software, or key cards, you save time, space, and money.

Training and Maintenance

Some access control systems require the company to pay for on-site training for managers and employees. This could affect the overall office budget and management.

Controlled access systems that utilize smartphones have an advantage because they don’t require any training for employees. Employees can download free apps to devices they are already comfortable using without any need for keys and key cards. You can control their access remotely and see who is coming and going from anywhere in the world. 

Another cost advantage to consider during your new access control planning process is the ongoing maintenance of your system. Because Openpath's software is accessed via the cloud, system updates, patches, new features and customization are easy and fast to implement.

Access Control Methods & Devices

Operations and administrative staff overseeing the selection of an access control system shouldn't forget about who will use the system everyday: the employees. Consider how your employees work, and the devices they use on a daily basis, when choosing your access methods.

While some employees prefer more traditional access methods—RFID cards, badges, and key fobs—these can incur additional costs and headaches as they are often lost, stolen or employees forget them at home. Not to mention they are easily copied, posing an added security risk. A more cost-efficient alternative is to use mobile credentials to access the office, like Openpath's mobile app, which allows for faster, more reliable access with top-of-the-line security features.

There's a growing trend to increase flexibility in the workplace, in which employees are given the option to choose the way they access the office, similar to policies like Bring Your Own Device and Choose Your Own Device. If you want the best of both worlds, Openpath offers hands-free mobile access methods and encrypted credentials such as keycards and fobs that are all backwards compatible for your convenience.

Key Budgeting and Planning Takeaways

Access control costs will depend on the size of your enterprise, the physical security needs of your facility, and the level of customization and automation you choose for your system. While there may be additional upfront investment costs to plan for a new access control installation, keep in mind the added benefits of having the newest technology at your disposal: state-of-the-art hardware, increased scalability and flexibility on cloud-based software, enhanced security with end-to-end AES encryption, and an open API for seamless integration with other applications.

If you're ready to take the next step with your security, we can connect you with an Openpath specialist to help you choose the best next-generation access control system to fit your unique needs and budget. Simply fill out this form and we'll be in touch.

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