If you’re one of the many businesses that need extra security to keep various assets safe, you can benefit from an access control system. Whether you are upgrading your current system or are looking into access control systems for the first time, it’s important to know the different types available. As technology has advanced, access control systems have also evolved.

What are the different types of access control systems? The different access control system types include cloud-based, mobile-based, and IoT-based. Access control systems can also be managed in three different ways: Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Discretionary Access Control (DAC).

When it comes to creating the right access control system for you, there are many decisions to be made. It’s important to know the difference between the various types of systems and setups available so that you can ensure that your system is designed properly for your business and its needs.

Access Control System Types

Hand using security key card scanning open the door to entering private building with lock icon technology. Home and building security system

When it comes to access control systems, technology has greatly improved over the years, leading to access control systems that are cloud-based, mobile-based, and IoT-based. By understanding these three options, you can decide which one is right for your business’ access control system.

Cloud-Based or Web-Based

Cloud-based access control is also known as web-based access control. This means your system is hosted on the web, which allows for extra flexibility in your system. Data is secure on a remote server (the cloud) and is backed up indefinitely.

Cloud-based access control is able to both provide the flexibility of using a smartphone to enter a physical area and providing digital access control for businesses that are heavily centered digitally. It has recently grown in popularity due to its ease of use and cost-effectiveness.

You can use any device that can access the internet, such as a smartphone, tablet, computer, etc., to do anything from unlocking a door to accessing a digital document, which makes it an easy-to-use and straightforward architecture type that is a great choice for a wide range of businesses and needs. 


Mobile-based access control systems utilize mobile technology for system access. You are able to use smartphones and smart devices to access buildings, areas, or digital documents. You can do things like store your keycard on your phone, or you can use your phone to access and collaborate on secure documents.

Since mobile device use is at an all-time high, mobile-based access control easily integrates into your company’s life and work style. It can also be used in collaboration with other access methods.


IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a new type of access control, which uses unique IP networks as the base of its system. Each ‘thing’ is on the same IP network, allowing groups of machines to communicate with each other within their own secure network, eliminating the need for human interference.

System managers assign IP addresses to groups of things, or machines, which, in an access control system can be the lock, lock management system, card reader, and beyond.

Access Control Management Types

In addition to the different types of access control systems, access control systems also have different management types. Access to business assets can be managed in three different ways: Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Discretionary Access Control (DAC). 

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Role-Based Access Control, also known as Rule-Based Access Control, (RBAC) allows the business owner or manager to group and define different levels of access by role. Each role then has a certain level of access, and each person is assigned a role when added to the system. RBAC means that people who have the same role or title have the same amount of access.

RBAC is one of the most popular system types, due to additional levels of flexibility and customization. It allows you to create custom access to different roles, and instead of defining each person’s level of access, you can assign it to a specific role — making it easier on the manager. 

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

In a Mandatory Access Control setup, the business owner or system manager is the only one who is allowed to manage any aspect of the system, and they need to specify each person’s level of access. Users can’t make any changes to the level of access they have.

This is the most rigid management type, and it is often seen used in companies that have highly sensitive data. 

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

Discretionary Access Control (DAC) is the least restrictive management type. DAC gives the same amount of access to every person who is designated as allowed access. The business owner or system manager decides who is allowed to access the building, area, or location — both digitally and physically. 

With DAC, the system owner or manager is able to transfer information or objects, then define which group is allowed to access them and what they can do with them. Additionally, end-users can share objects with other users, which can cause security concerns.

Designing the Right System for You

There are many businesses that need access control. Sometimes, it’s only for a single room or a group of documents, and sometimes, an access control system secures the entire building. Whether you’re a single-building office, a multi-dwelling development, an industrial facility, or something else, PTR is here to be your partner in the design, installation, and maintenance of your access control system.

We can help you make the right decisions, like which authentication method is best, which equipment to buy, or which brand to trust, and we can help you integrate your system with your other business technologies to create rock-solid security for your business.

With our help, you can have the peace of mind to know that certain assets of your business are protected as they should be.

Contact Us Today

PTR is here to help with all of your access control needs. From analyzing your needs to designing a custom system that is fit for your unique needs, we provide expert guidance every step of the way. 

Send us a message to get in touch about your access control needs or call 404-609-1500 to talk to one of our knowledgeable team members today!