Access Control Trends in a Digital, Cloud World

Controlling access to facilities and data in today’s landscape requires new strategies and technologies.

Access Control

Technological advancements, the ever-changing threat landscape, and the need for more efficient processes are driving new access control trends, both to protect physical and digital assets.

Members of The ASCII Group, Felicia King of QPC Security, and Marc Bodner of American Technology Services, share their perspective on access control trends and provide some insights into where integrators, value-added resellers (VARs), and managed services providers (MSPs) can find opportunities.

What access control trends are you seeing?

Bodner: We see a shift to custom or semi-custom products from generic, off-the-shelf solutions. Mobile solution adoption is also growing, and Access Control as a Service (ACaaS), the cloud-based subscription model is trending – as opposed to expensive hardware installations. Integrated machine learning (ML) technologies that can provide protection across multiple data sources and tech stacks is also a growing access control trend.

King: The big trend in access control is the adoption of company-owned password managers and the shift to structured team multifactor authentication (MFA). Organizations need to have their CISO involved in the design and implementation of these types of rollout projects. It’s not enough to have a company-owned password manager. There needs to be strategy and documentation of how the company is going to use the password manager along with a password hygiene policy and cybersecurity awareness training about passwords.

Are businesses leveraging employees’ smartphones for verification?

Bodner: We see this more and more. One challenge is that employees want to use a single device –  and that tends to be a personal device. Businesses and organizations also need to ensure compliance and implement smartphone cybersecurity policies and solutions.

King: A best practice is to minimize the use of employee mobile devices for any MFA or time-based one-time password (TOTP), except for the two or three bare minimum accounts, such as access to get into the company-owned password manager application.

Everything else should be in the company password manager in terms of TOTP codes. Tying a company account to an individual’s SMS phone number is inadvisable. Instead, companies should establish mechanisms for shared SMS where company assets are involved.

Is biometric authentication becoming more common?

Bodner: Businesses are certainly asking about it. They’re trying to identify the risk vs. reward, costs, and the need to replace or complement or layer onto existing systems.

King: Biometrics are exceptionally common for authentication into mobile phones, and many organizations also like face identification for user verification.

Access Control Trends that Can Make a Solutions Providers’ Life Easier

In addition to end user access control trends, some advancements in this space are helping integrators, MSPs, and VARs operate more efficiently. Depending on the level of participation your company has with your clients’ access control management, modern solutions make onboarding and offboarding easier as your clients workforces scale. It also makes it easier for you to provide a single dashboard for your clients with multiple facilities.

Additionally, you can find systems designed to adapt as businesses’ and organizations’ needs change and technology advances. These future-proof solutions have backwards compatibility with legacy systems but also support cutting-edge technologies for identity verification. You can also work with vendors that provide software development kits (SDKs) to help you add value to solutions with your own IP.

Take the opportunity to grow your business by helping your clients adapt with access control solutions that adapt to the new ways people work and strengthen security.   

About The ASCII Group, Inc.

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more.  ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit