Selecting the Right Physical Access Control System for Your Business

by Avigilon
Aug 27, 2018

pacs blog kelly

When selecting a Physical Access Control System (PACS), there are basic guidelines you can follow to help choose a system that’s right for you.

Virtual Environment Compatibility

The virtual environment market has matured rapidly over the last few years; according to Gartner, many organizations have server virtualization rates that exceed 75 percent.[1] That’s why, when it comes to choosing a physical access control system (PACS), it’s important to select one that not only protects your facility, but can also make your IT department happy.

The new breed of affordable, web-based PACS provides several key advantages over a traditional system:

  • Leverages your virtual server infrastructure

  • Eliminates the cost of standalone servers and software

  • Manages building security in a private cloud

  • Reduces downtime and enhances reliability

  • Reduces setup and deployment time

System Security

Many legacy PACS run on a standard application or database server, which can require continual IT resources to ensure the system is protected from security threats. A secure, open-source, Linux-based PACS can significantly reduce system setup, support and maintenance issues while eliminating patch management and security headaches.

Look for platforms that have assurance that the PACS received an industry-recognized certification or endorsement such as VMware Ready to verify that the application was tested against known software vulnerabilities to reduce or eliminate the risk of network attacks.

Platform Reliability

A next-generation PACS can simplify system redundancy and provide cost-effective auto-failover and hot-standby capabilities, particularly when delivered as an affordable, all-in-one, access control network appliance or SATA rack-mounted server.

When run on a virtual server, PACS setup can be quick, hardware costs can be minimized and failover processes can be streamlined. Unlike traditional systems, a failover virtual machine can be automatically provisioned and implemented while an existing virtual machine deployment is repaired with no interruption in service.

Mobile Accessibility

With more companies adopting an acceptance of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, the number of employees going mobile at the workplace is rising. The statistics prove our increasingly mobile world: 12.1 billion mobile devices are in use; half of the globe’s employers currently require BYOD; 67 percent of CIOs and IT professionals are convinced that mobility will impact their organizations as much, or more, than the Internet did in the 1990s.[2] That’s why having a web-based system is so important.

The convenience of mobile access helps security personnel respond to alarms or view video footage immediately and helps IT professionals log into the system easily for reconfiguration or support.

Web-based PACS can also help reduce costs and increase efficiency for large organizations with multiple locations that want to upgrade, manage and centralize facility access control. Without the added software and individual user license costs, companies can free up their IT and security budgets to protect additional doors, buildings or facilities.

Ease of Use

The right access control platform can make it easier for everyone to do their jobs — from the front desk to the computer room — and ultimately reduce the risk of security breaches.

For security personnel, an easy-to-use, intuitive design that enables them to adjust door schedules and update credentials comfortably helps ensure that the system stays up to date. The ability to integrate with video can increase efficiency and improve forensic investigations.

For IT professionals, important features are the ability to support Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), integration with HR databases, Active Directory and Identity Access Management systems. Some PACS can also integrate building security data into Security Information and Event Management (SEIM) systems.


Having a PACS that can grow and scale with the size of your business is critical. With a significant proportion of the cost attributed to door controllers and card readers, it’s important to choose a system that relies on open, nonproprietary door hardware.

Open architecture gives companies the ability to more easily and affordably upgrade their PACS. As an organization expands its footprint or the number of doors increases, IT can simply add more nonproprietary hardware, without worrying about prior investments growing outdated.

Choosing the right PACS can help keep expenses down, both now and in the future. Organizations that seek out systems that bring together access control with video security, identity management, and SIEM can operate more efficiently and intelligently in all situations.



  1.     "Gartner Says Worldwide Server Virtualization Market Is Reaching Its Peak," May 12, 2016,
  2.     Crowd Research Partners, "BYOD & Mobile Security 2016 Spotlight Report," March 2016,

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Audio Input Receive audio feed from camera.
Audio Output Send audio to speaker attached to camera.
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Motion Configuration Configuration of motion detection within the ACC Client.
Motion Recording Support for motion-based recording.
PTZ Quick display of whether PTZ functionality is available for camera.
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PTZ Patterns/Tours Ability to create and trigger either PTZ Patterns, or PTZ Tours, depending on camera support.
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