An access control system provides you a way to manage and control the access of a passage in to or out of a specific area. Traditional locks which normally come with a brass key can be visualized as basic form of an ACS The primary purpose of such a system is to allow only the authorized person to access a specific area while restricting others who are not allowed to access because of some reason.

These systems have evolved largely during the recent decades and now a days, the term normally refers to a computer based electronic system in which electronic cards are assigned to the authorized users of an organization to access a specific location. Other means of authentication may include a keypad or thumb print etc. Access control systems are normally installed and operated on building entrances, critical locations inside the building or any other associated area e.g.

garages, parking lots etc. Access control systems are of critical importance for those organizations which deal with sensitive data or allow the access of very specific persons to their premises. Access control systems are equally beneficial in organizations where you expect a large number of visitors every day and you need to keep the record of each and every visitor. Many levels of access can also be defined if required to restrict a visitor to one specific location and not the other etc.

A basic card based ACS is comprised of various components including access cards off course, card readers, electric Locks (that serves as the hardware), intelligent controller, an access control software system which is normally a server holding the application access control software. These servers are mostly dedicated for operation and management of ACS.

An access control system provides you desirable and reliable security however, each organization does not have the same security needs. For instance, an organization may need strict security at one point (for instance server room) but do not need the same security level at another (for instance, lobby or washroom area).Hence, if you are planning to buy an access control system for your organization, keeping a few key points in mind shall be greatly helpful in making the right and economic choice for you. These are as follows:

1. Security Requirement level: Analyze your organizational or business requirements. Access control systems provide dependable security for your organization's sensitive areas but each location doesn't need the same level of security. How many locations are there where you want to use access control system and how much security you need at these locations?

2. Future needs: Besides full filling your current security requirements, an access control system must also be able to cope with your future business needs. An access control system must be able to support the future expansion in case required

3. Easy to use: ACS you are going to select must be user friendly and should not involve any complex procedures and processes that might become a headache for your operating staff (may be less technical staff).

4. User management facility: Is the system reliable enough to handle multiple users simultaneously in an effective manner as per your requirement?

5. Reporting facility: Is the system capable enough to connect multiple associated sites efficiently and providing you proper reporting facility for a clear insight of what's going on at a specific location in real time?

6. Backup and restore options: Is the system providing you an effective backup and restore facility so that you might not lose any critical data?

7. Compatibility issues: Can you implement changes in the system efficiently? Is the system easy to maintain. Is your vendor offering maintenance services at low or no cost

8. Support and training: Is the vendor providing you enough training and support material to train the related staff that can be helpful in smooth flow of system.

If you have decided not to compromise at the security of your organization etc. and have planned to spend deck & dock  some fairly good amount on buying an access control system, then considering the above factors would definitely be helpful in making the right choice to a great extent.