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8 Reasons Access Control and Video Surveillance Are the Cornerstones of Physical Security

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For companies considering making improvements in safety and security, access control and video systems are a great place to start. 

No two companies are exactly alike. Even organizations operating in the same industry and in the same town are bound to have countless differences. From day to day operations to staffing specifics to company history, these differences also mean every organization needs its own customized security package. 

Even so, there are a couple of cornerstones of physical security that are important to understand if you’re looking to double down on safety while also increasing efficiencies throughout your business. Access control and video security systems make the ideal starting point because they work together while offering huge shared benefits that will ripple throughout the company. Here’s a quick dive into their perks and main functions.

What is access control?

Access control refers to the aspects of a security system designed to determine who has access to an area. The area in question depends on your facility layout and the designated access control points. 

For example, college campuses commonly utilize access control in order to ensure that only students and authorized staff have access to dormitory buildings. Some businesses also utilise access control to narrow down which members of staff can get into a sensitive storage area, like a room housing expensive medical equipment at a hospital or an area of a law office where client information is stored. 

Some access control systems are completely housed and operated on premises, while hosted access control allows for data and control to operate through the cloud. With hosted access control, businesses can more easily manage multiple locations and store more data without excessive hardware. 

What is video security?

Video security involves surveillance and recordings that may be stored on-premises or hosted in the cloud. While video security has been a staple of physical security systems since the 1980s, latest technology makes it particularly smooth to implement, with affordable hardware, high-quality images, and a wide variety of storage options. 

Why start here?

Access control and video make a dream team starting point because they…

  • Complement one another
  • Free up manpower
  • Keep assets secure
  • Keep staff safe
  • Help you stay CDC compliant
  • Offer smooth integration
  • Offer reliability
  • Allow for customization 

Let’s dive a bit deeper. 

Complementary systems

Access control and video surveillance play well together. A security system with one or the other might go a long way, but adding the second leg will generally enhance the function of the first. 

For example, most college campuses employ some form of access control, particularly around dormitory areas, food halls, or spaces that house expensive or specialty equipment. However, on many campuses, that access control system relies on students bringing their ID cards with them — never forgetting it at home or on the bus, never borrowing a friend’s. In the case of an incident like a theft or damage of equipment, that access control system isn’t quite reliable enough to help with follow-up investigations. However, with even one point of video surveillance, staff can more accurately pinpoint who was there and take appropriate actions.

Additionally, as technology continues to advance, the prevalence of face recognition in access control increases. Especially as organizations strive to reduce contact for health purposes, touchless systems like these are gaining traction and demand. These systems require an overlap of access control and video surveillance systems, and benefit from the recent developments that make these systems so precise and accurate. 

Free up manpower

Well-designed access control and video security systems will each free up manpower, especially when used in conjunction with one another. Hosted access control and video security in particular can effectively help streamline the roles of security managers and facilities staff across locations. 

For example, with real time alerts and the ability to view camera activity remotely, security staff can monitor multiple locations at once. In the case of an incident, hosted access control would also allow that member of security staff to block access to any secured location, even without being there in person. These capabilities allow for all security staff to perform their roles more efficiently. 

Keep assets secure

Whether your company is responsible for people’s health data, their education, their legal affairs or their banking information, the assets and data under your roof are invaluable. From medical equipment to research materials to irreplaceable documents, protecting your assets holds an importance that can’t be understated. 

To keep those assets secure, many facilities have turned to real-time alerts based on access control inputs or video sensors to keep a firm grasp on sensitive areas. For particularly high-security spaces, this pairing of access control and video alerts can help you make informed decisions and allow for a much quicker response in the case of a breach. Using analytics tailored to your organization’s needs, you can keep close track of who is accessing assets and how they’re being used. 

In a more general sense, video surveillance can also help cut down on the smaller incidents involving company assets — theft of materials like office supplies, art, and furniture that generally isn’t kept behind a highly secure door or checkpoint. The coupling of video surveillance in common areas with access control procedures for entering the building can help mitigate these situations and allow you to follow up should a pattern develop. 

Keep staff safe

Access control allows you the capability to lock doors on demand and help protect your site from any security risk or safety threat. Particularly with cloud-based services, it’s easy to take control of all access points at once and ensure that unauthorized personnel are not entering the premises. Having the ability to instantly lock all doors makes it possible for security staff to perform critical functions in lockdown situations and more. 

Video helps keep staff safe through advanced analytics and real-time alerts that help security staff perform their roles more efficiently and accurately. If an incident does occur, video can help you facilitate a quick and meaningful follow-up plan. 

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Stay CDC compliant

Well-integrated access control and video security plans can help your business remain in compliance with CDC recommendations. With so many unknowns still at play when it comes to the COVID pandemic, recommendations around occupancy and physical distancing are ever-changing. Keeping staff healthy and mitigating risk become a bit easier with innovative systems for tracking how many people are in each room, logging which days each employee’s hybrid schedule requires them to enter the building, and managing any visitors that may need access to the office. 

Pinpointed access control and stored video data also come in handy should a confirmed case of COVID occur among staff. The process of contact tracing is tricky and inaccurate when it relies only on memory and assumed schedules. However, when you have an audit log and video footage outlining who was in the building and when, including the specific doors and areas accessed, you can accurately identify which members of staff should isolate without losing critical manpower unnecessarily or shutting down the office entirely. 

Smooth integration and flexibility

Once access control and video surveillance systems are implemented, particularly with hosted access control and video, they integrate seamlessly with one another and with other aspects of your security and facilities management protocols. In addition to every business having different needs, the needs of every business are also bound to change fairly regularly! 

From moving locations to expanding into additional office spaces to shifting priorities and gaining assets, it’s common to need to add, move, or change aspects of a security system. With the flexibility of hosted access control and video, these shifts can take place without key security measures being compromised, and without much extra time demanded of staff. 


Another perk of implementing access control and video security systems is the reliability they both offer. With options like hosted video and access control, redundancies in the system mean that updates and improvements can take place within the systems without risky downtime. The slight overlap in function and outcome between access control systems and video security also mean added reliability and safety on-site. Why not have a video transaction for every access transaction? You will not only have an audit trail of each cardholder that enters a space, but you will also have a video record of that same transaction. Access and video complement each other to provide a complete picture.


Both access control and video security systems are flexible enough to operate differently depending on your needs. No two businesses need the exact same systems when it comes to security. Universities are safeguarding different interests and assets than law offices are. Regardless of the specifics of your business, access control and video can help you keep it more secure. 

Whether you run a small law office that just needs one security camera and one protected access point where you store sensitive information, or whether you’re responsible for keeping an entire campus of students, staff, and data safe, we’re here to work with you to implement the security system that will serve your needs best. We help guide you through your options, from hosted vs. on-premises access control to access locations and video solutions. To learn more about creating and implementing an integrated security system that works best for your business, schedule a call today.