Cloud-based access control systems

While a few years ago cloud solutions were regarded with a kind of restrained optimism, nowadays these new technologies are becoming more and more popular. Many organizations are already considering moving from on-premise access control systems to cloud-based solutions. The inevitable change has been taking place.

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What is a cloud-based access control system?

Traditionally, an on-premises access control system consists of one or more servers, installed on-site, that run the access control software application and related modules (badging, communication, video, visitor management, etc.) and maintain a database. The server communicates, through the company network, with the workstations, on which client software is installed, and with the field control panels.
Cloud-based access control systems offer the same basic functionalities of on-premise software, and even more, without the need for a local server or dedicated client workstations.

How does cloud access control work?

It’s simple! While the field hardware (control panels, readers, locks, etc.) will be still on-site, the software (database, logic) is hosted in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. Operators or authorized users can use a mobile or web app, to remotely manage access or open/lock doors, see real-time transactions and alarms, make reports, issue credentials, and even can view live or recorded images from the TV cameras, without any need to carry additional physical objects.

What are the main benefits of a cloud-based physical security system?

Higher Reliability. Improvement vs Degradation

A cloud-based physical access control system never lets you down, so there is no possibility of losing important data such as recordings or even system configurations. 

Cloud-based access control systems are usually physically hosted in multiple locations redundant data centers, where the software automatically updates, backs up, and allows restorations in case of a corrupted file. As a result, you’ll always have access to current data, and you’ll never have to worry about your in-house server dying.

Note that your on-premises server is out of date the minute it’s shipped from a factory, and it degrades more over time, also being affected by inevitable obsolescence. The same happens with software if software support plans are ignored. Conversely, cloud-based systems are continuously updated and upgraded by providers, which means continuous improvement.

In other words, with a cloud-based solution, you can focus only on operating the system, and not buying, installing, and maintaining it.  You’ll always enjoy up-to-date systems, enhanced data protection, and automatic backups when switching to a cloud system.


When a customer buys a physical access control system, often he only takes into consideration the up-front costs of the software application and field hardware.

Many ignore the costs of the servers, racks, ups, operating systems, software modules, databases, antiviruses, and all costs of their installation, maintenance, IT support, and software support plans that should be paid yearly from that moment.

With a cloud-based access control system, software maintenance, updates, and upgrades are fully automatic. It wouldn’t be the customer’s problem anymore.

Better Cyber-Security in the Cloud

Contrary to the common misconception of the cloud not being secure, it is quite the opposite.

Briefly, all data from readers and alarm devices are always first encrypted by the control panel and then sent through secure channels to the cloud, where this encrypted data is stored. Normally, no one can access it but only the administrator of the system or authorized users.

In fact, moving access control data to a reputable cloud hosting service provides a level of security that can’t be duplicated on-site.  Most organizations simply don’t have the financial or staffing resources to provide the same security benefits as large cloud service providers can. Major cloud providers know that their reputations and businesses are at stake, so they have already invested and keep investing enormous resources in their own products’ security.

In conclusion, although it can be hard for some IT managers to accept, in many cases, moving data to the cloud is more secure than keeping it on-site.

Improved network security

Traditional on-premises security systems require VPNs, network “port forwarding” and sometimes heavy, unauthenticated communication over insecure forms of connectivity, such as HTTP. This opens up the company network to many types of exploits.  

Cloud physical security systems don’t require port forwarding, which eliminates the security risk. They operate in highly secure data centers, with a very small hardware footprint inside your building, which minimizes the networking configurations.

Most cloud-based access control systems run on encrypted communication channels like HTTPS and TLS.

Remote and cost-effective technical support

On-premises access control or video systems lack the robust and remote support offered by cloud-based systems. If your traditional access control system experiences an issue, chances are you’ll have to call a technician to come onsite and fix it, or in the best case, to allow a remote session in order for a technician to connect to your local system. Difficult, annoying, and time-consuming.

A cloud-based system is professionally monitored and maintained 24/7 by the provider, and even in case of problems, he is just a call or click away to provide remote support and troubleshooting, without visiting the building, and without the need to access the company network. Fast and safe.

Flexibility and scalability

Cloud physical security systems are more flexible than traditional (on-premises) security systems. For example, if you require more storage for your security system, more people to add, and more doors to control, you can easily adjust the system according to your new requirements. You won’t be limited anymore by your on-site server(s)/software app/database capabilities.

You don’t have to worry anymore that the support plan expired for your software or servers.

All you need to do is upgrade (or downgrade) the system plan when you need it, and your system will extend keeping the same operational functionalities, without any degradation.

Centralized remote access to your system & improved safety

But, the main benefit of a cloud video physical security system, access control is its convenience.

Having a cloud-based access control system in place, you can rest easy knowing you have the ability to grant access to certain people and revoke it for others anywhere, at any time. You can remotely lock down your company or part of it, in case of events, and 24/7 you can remotely see who’s got in certain areas, etc.

Real-time alerting through a mobile app

With a cloud physical security system, you can be instantly notified, wherever you are, if something unusual is detected in any of your protected areas with the option to set up scheduling when to be notified. The ability to remotely control your hardware through your smartphone is really a great convenient feature.

Better and more modern integrations

Integrating your physical security systems, access control, video, etc. system with other technologies automates workflows and improves efficiency.

Integrating traditional systems often requires advanced systems knowledge, and is limited to several third-party integrations, as they don’t run on truly open platforms. Keeping the compatibility between on-premises integrated systems is a real challenge over time, and it is always out of customer control.

Cloud-based applications integrate more seamlessly and easily compared to traditional systems, and for sure the apps are kept updated all the time by the software providers. Simply incorporate new security services to other used applications (called API) such as video surveillance, G Suite, Okta, Slack, Envoy, and many more.  That connects your digital businesses to the physical world and saves time and resources.

Convenient, More Secure, and User-Friendly Access

All our cloud-based security platforms are user-friendly, quick to learn, and easy to put into practice, similar to using web pages, well familiar to most of us.

Cloud technology is easy-to-use and convenient for both users and admins. For instance, using a centralized cloud management system, admins can confidently track the movement and edit permissions of personnel, whether they are on-site or away from work in an easy way from any laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone.