Access Control Management Software Guide

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jan 06, 2015

In access control, the locks, readers and credentials may be what most see but its the management software where everything is controlled. In this guide, we cover the most common parts of this software and provide an overview of how the pieces relate to managing an access system.

Basic Purpose

The function of Access Control Management software is fourfold, with distinct functions and management focuses:

  1. Live View: Displaying the current state of the access system; if doors are locked/unlocked, and which users are interacting with doors.
  2. Door Management: Configuring every opening is critical, to ensure it opens and remains locked on schedule or depending on credential.
  3. Cardholder Management: Administering all potential users for their needed access privileges, and updating those records as needed.
  4. Reporting: This offers users to forensically review log details collected by the system - when and where credentials were used, and when openings were unlocked.

We examine each of these four areas inside.

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Comments (20)

Great post Mr. Rhodes. Very informative videos. Is this using HID AC software and VertX hardware?

Very well done.

Loved it!

Conceptually, could there be an IPVM tool similar to the camera calculator but for Access Control Systems? ACS finder? ACS Hardware Finder etc..

Food for thought.

[NOTE: This has been moved to its own discussion: IPVM Access Control Finder?]

designers need to spend a significant amount of time in the planning phase before setting up schedules...other wise you can end up with a massive disorganized set of schedules with duplication.

  1. So Far I have only been exposed to one manufacturer’s hardware and software, and even at that one specific model. My only Security customer dictates the hardware and manufacturer. As a technician who came from the computer/server end before entering the security end, I wondered why the software didn’t do more. These videos and your explanation have given me some insight to what other manufacturers offer.

Thank you Brian. We use Security Desk for VMS now and it was good t see these demonstrated in a familiar setting.

Thanks Brian, that was a really well done and highly informative presentation. I recently upgraded our Controller Management Software and one of the features I found on there that I think could be highly beneficial is a Threat Level tab which allows me to assign or limit access to specific users based on potential changes in activity at my site. Potentially very helpful in the case of say an Active Shooter situation where a lockdown is needed to be implemented, this can be performed almost instantaneously from the control center computer. I am not overly familiar with a variety of software platforms so is this a standard feature on most?

I am not sure about most, but the access systems I am most familiar with do provide features for quick lockdowns. These can be triggered through software, through an input, or by using a specially programmed card. They provide for multiple levels of lockdown, so, depending on the situation, you can choose between locking some doors, locking all doors, disabling access levels, etc.

Very interesting, it is amazing the control the end user has. I wonder what happens when there is a power failure that last for a long time and there is no back up generator. Do all doors unlock?

It would depend on whether the door hardware is a Fail-Safe or Fail-Secure set. The course will cover the differences between the two in a later class.

In most cases that depends on how the system is designed/programed. They can either fail safe where they unlock or fail secure where the doors remain locked and can be overridden with a manual key. I work for a US government agency that has police holding cells in some of our buildings so we have built in fail secure on any areas that houses prisoners but some of the other doors that are geared more towards dealing with the general public are fail safe so they can easily egress in case of emergency or power outages.

More often, the best choice is usually fail secure hardware that allows free egress at all times. This way, people inside can always get out, but the space remains secure from outside in case of emergency/power failure.

This reading did a great job of pointing out the differences in access functions.

Is some snapshot links broken above, as I can't only see long gaps between

Access Rules and Access Schedules etc. ?

Thanks, the embedded videos have been fixed.

Great presentation. Just as you said, terminology is different from one access control system to another, but, the basic ideas are the same.

Thank you for posting these Brian. It was very informative.

Brian, thanks for supplementing with videos integrated into the readings. Interesting and good context.

Very nice.

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