What’s the Best Access Control System?

What’s the Best Access Control System?

Nothing says frustrating like hassling with a legacy server in hopes it stays running, all in the name of simply trying to keep track of who enters and exits your building. Moreover, hoping the dusty Windows XP laptop running the client software boots, so you can add or remove access.

Enter cloud-based physical access control. No more servers, no more client software, no more hassle. With this setup all you need is an internet connection and modern access control hardware.

But it gets even better.

The controller maintains a database of who is allowed to go where and a log of events in the case of an internet outage, maintaining system uptime in just about any type of outage.

While searching for our best fit for cloud-based access control solutions, we had the following criteria:

Compatibility with Meraki cameras


A lot of our customers enjoy Meraki cameras for same reasons as cloud-based access control. In our minds it was a simple that the two technologies needed to be wed.

Mobile device entry


This one is easy—it's much simpler to use your watch or phone than fumble for a card or fob.

Backwards compatibility with cards and fobs


Although there is a lot of convenience using a smartphone or watch for access, some of our customers still find it easier to manage cards or fobs with their employees. Thankfully both smartphone and card access technologies can co-exist on the same system.

Completely cloud-based software

With cloud-based access control you can ditch the server and the administration that comes with it. This leaves you with ethernet-based controllers that are wired to the door hardware and interface directly to the cloud.

Flexibility with door hardware


Door hardware can be an expensive part of any access control project. More flexibility means more ways to use existing hardware or more options for new installs.

We came across many potential options with compelling features like PoE controllers, ethernet readers, Face ID-style credentials, wireless lock compatibility, and many more. But in reviewing each of these solutions we found very few that were robust enough to trust as the gatekeeper to your spaces and meet our requirements.

Some of the products we looked at included Kisi, Openpath, Swiftlane, Honeywell, and Brivo. We landed on a product called Genea.

Some of the standout features with Genea include:

  • Flexible and simple administration with web or app interfaces
  • Support for many types of video surveillance systems
  • Integrations with many user databases including on premises AD, Azure AD, and Google Workspace
  • SSO via SAML

Genea uses industry-standard HID readers and Mercury controllers—quality products that have been around as long as electronic access control itself. Additionally, it fit all our initial criteria. After doing a number of installations, including at our own headquarters, we have found Genea to be a very reliable product with excellent support. We have had good luck with the deployments we’ve done and have satisfied many of our clients’ requirements.

If you'd like help determining if Genea is a good solution for you, feel free to reach out to our team. We're always happy to help.

This post was contributed by Spencer Boyd, Network Engineer @ Telcion.