A kid walks into a candy store; sweets of every color pour from every bin; flavors upon flavors tantalize the senses. As the kid runs his hands through the wooden barrel of saltwater taffy, a thought hits: I only have 3 dollars! How will I make a decision with so many choices?  Welcome to the world of access control system software, where picking the wrong flavor will certainly leave your pockets empty and a foul taste in your mouth (Neco Wafers, anyone?). 

When it comes to access control system software knowing the Goobers from the Whatchamacallits can save you from a headache and upset stomach. This article will guide you through the buying process, helping you select the optimal access control software for your enterprise, building portfolio or small business. Explore the types of software available and the most important features you should consider. Additionally, it will help you find one that fits your budget. So, here are the most important things to look for when selecting the best access control software for today and beyond.

Versatility is King 

As you stand, reading the description on the back of the candy package, another thought comes to mind — you want something with versatility. You want a candy that will last, that won’t break down immediately and you won’t get sick of it in one sitting — a candy with different flavors.  

Integrations for Access Control System Software 

The quick and dirty: Look for software that integrates. Why? Because integrations streamline workflows and save time and money. Not only that, but they also heighten security.  

Integrations uniquely flavor access control systems. Selecting the appropriate software that integrates with integrations currently on the market and future releases is pivotal to success. The process of integrating occurs when two pieces of software become connected through an application programming interface (API). This connection allows the software programs to transmit data, thereby creating more steadfast security.  

For example, Rose’s Rose Emporium needs to secure their rose nursery by logging movement recorded by security cameras. Every time movement happens near the specified entrance, a video log gets created. If the security or IT team needs to quickly reference an access event (e.g., a thorny flower thief breaks into the facility), then they can find the time the door opened and the video log of the incident.  

Video management is one example of an ever-expanding array of integrations.  But to get the most out of your access control software purchase, knowing the integration capability is vital. Other integrations include: 

By selecting access control software with versatile integrations, you’ll have an advantage in streamlining your daily tasks.  

Hardware Matters: Plan for Future Threats 

The quick and dirty: Cloud-based access control is replacing on-prem systems. Updates to security happen more quickly in the cloud and integrations are numerous. Without routine maintenance fees and equipment costs, you save on expenses and time.  

Versatility is just as important in an access control system as it is in selecting candy. But that doesn’t only mean the software has a lot of features and integrations.  A versatile access control system also adjusts to future changes and security threats with no expensive hardware upgrades/ Choosing the right hardware is key to finding the right software.

Legacy vs. Cloud-based Access Control 

One of the first decisions you should make is where to store your database—do you want a legacy (i.e., on-premises) or cloud-based system.  

On-premises systems are traditional and were the industry standard for a long time. Typically, these servers are kept in a basement or closet, meaning all your information is at the building. However, that doesn’t mean they are more secure. Advancements in cloud computing have made the cloud much safer and more nimble when it comes to updating against security.  

Unlike cloud systems, on-premises systems require you to manage maintenance and troubleshooting. This takes more time. They also integrate with fewer software platforms and take a longer time to come to market. 

Conversely, the cloud rapidly integrates, often with a single passcode. In the rare instances the cloud needs troubleshooting, the access control service provider will take care of the conversation for you. This can save you a lot of time.  

Additionally, the cloud is maintained regularly by specialized IT technicians. Therefore, fewer errors occur in cloud-based systems.  You do not have to worry about paying for any extra hardware. AWS, VMWare, and Oracle are a few that provide cloud service. 

Access Control Software and Hardware 

The quick and dirty: In the long run, proprietary hardware is limiting and expensive than non-proprietary hardware. At worst, it can cripple your budget and lead to expensive reinstallations. 

If you can’t tell by now, hardware and software have a symbiotic relationship — without one the other fails. However, some hardware is more flexible in the face of change than others. If a service provider manufactures the software and hardware, it should be a red flag; roach-infested candy. Here are some examples of what can happen with proprietary hardware. 

Why Proprietary Hardware is Problematic for Software 

1. Out of Business– You buy a proprietary system from the SaaS (software-as-a-solution) company, Dead End. But a month later, Dead End goes out of business. That’s the end of the road for your access control system. Now you must reinstall your whole system.

2. Ownership Changes- Have you ever been to a restaurant that was perfect, then gone back a year later to find it permanently closed? Management changes can do this. If ownership changes hands, getting help for software bugs may become more difficult.  

Why Non-Proprietary Hardware 

1. Future Proof- Proprietary hardware only runs proprietary software from a specific company. However, non-proprietary, or open-source, hardware is much more flexible. It will run any compatible software. If a software provider goes belly up, lowers its quality, or for any other reason, you can find an alternative provider. 

2. No replacing- If you change software providers, you won’t have to worry about an expensive installation.   

Genea Security  

Genea offers unique, second-to-none access control software. As demonstrated by COVID-19, change can happen at a moment’s notice. Finding software that can quickly help you pivot during these quick-paced changes may mean the difference between staying secure and being exposed to outside vulnerabilities.  Additionally, Genea uses non-proprietary HID and Mercury hardware, meaning you’ll never be stuck making expensive changes.

To learn more about Genea Security, visit us here. Or, read our Complete Guide to Access Control Systems.   

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