6 Pain Points For IT Managers Running Legacy Access Control Systems

If you’ve got any of these 6 problems, you’ve come to the right place.

In many commercial properties, IT managers are faced with a plethora of challenges when it comes to administrating and managing access control. Outdated systems with poor interfaces and a lack of user-friendly functionality can lead to frustration, disruption, and wasted time.

We have looked at some of the key roadblocks that IT managers face and the solutions that are available to them when they move to modern access control systems.

Access Control System Stock Image scaled

Needlessly complicated interfaces

Perhaps the biggest gripe that IT managers have is with outdated access control software that creates extra work rather than reducing the overall workload. In many cases even navigating these systems to add new users, revoke users, update permissions, pull reports, and update staff records can be a considerable time sink requiring hours and effort.

Modern solutions are designed with the user experience at the center, providing an intuitive and familiar interface that uses the same visual cues that users are familiar with from web and mobile applications, easy access to always-on support, and compatibility with mobile devices as well as PCs. Open APIs make it easy to integrate today’s access control systems with other business software so that you can automate access permissions based on employee data from your HR system, or quickly share reports via your existing communication channels.

Managing access cards

Older access control systems that are based on individual keycards have a similar problem to keyed systems—the IT department still has to keep track of all the keycards in circulation, and employees frequently forget, misplace or lose their keycards which means extra time and money spent reissuing them, not to mention potential security breaches, which put the business at risk.

With modern access control solutions, there are more options to make the IT manager’s life easier. For example, support for RFID e-badges, which are impossible to copy, and therefore far more secure than traditional magstripe keycards. Or, removing the need for a physical keycard altogether by including locks with on-screen PIN pads, fingerprint sensors, or voice recognition. This also allows you to regularly update the access codes for added security.

Difficulty scaling with business growth

Legacy access control systems can be limited in terms of growth and expansion as more employees join or more office space is added. IT managers are often reliant on legacy system supplier support to implement changes and upgrades. This is not only costly but time-consuming and you are at the mercy of the supplier and their timeframe for change requests. It can take days, weeks, and even months to upgrade systems to meet the needs of the business.

When looking for a new system, it’s important to establish if there is an upper limit on the number of users supported or the number of locks that can be managed—and how complicated it is to increase that if needed. Check that the hardware is connected to the internet, so that when external support is needed, technicians can diagnose any issues in real-time, and deploy a fix remotely, to resolve the problem without the inconvenience and disruption caused by waiting for an onsite visit.

Moving, adding, or changing permissions

Removing, moving, or assigning permissions for individual users, or on individual locks can take up huge amounts of time for IT managers, especially in large organizations. Many traditional access control systems don’t make it easy, requiring you to manually edit each user record, or reconfigure every lock which requires an update.

Today’s access control systems feature wireless connectivity which allows IT managers to quickly and easily lift and copy access profiles from one lock to another, making it easy to change, revoke or extend permissions on the go. Or, for administration of large groups of employees, you can simply upload an Excel or CSV sheet via a web portal for batch updating of access privileges.

Difficulties with long-term maintenance

Many IT managers are still using legacy systems designed before the age of platform as a service (PaaS) web apps with modern, more intuitive interfaces, and usability. That means extra work is created each time they need to perform periodic tasks such as installing updates, generating audit reports, or pulling access logs. Clunky interfaces and outdated filetypes, and a lack of integration with communication channels can result in spending hours on a job that should only take seconds.

By contrast, most modern cloud-based systems use intuitive web interfaces, designed with the user experience at the center, whether accessed via a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. IT managers can quickly create customized reports, selecting the key data to be included and defining the date range, then exporting to an Excel or PDF file and sharing with colleagues via email within a few clicks.

Lack of control over security

Many of the older access control systems on the market, still frequently used in commercial buildings, have serious security vulnerabilities due in part to the technologies used. Access cards are generally easy to clone, which means that IT managers can never be sure how many people have access to a particular area. Similarly, PIN entry systems are vulnerable to over-the-shoulder attacks, or guesses based on wear patterns.

The new generation of smart locks eliminates these types of risks, with features such as screen-based keypads that randomize the order in which numbers are displayed on the entry pad, to avoid tell-tale signs of wear. And in place of access cards, RFID-enabled badges or smartphone apps can be used, which are encrypted to prevent unauthorized duplication.


Modern access control systems don’t just provide better security and more advanced features—they also save hours of time for IT managers and reduce disruption to everyday business functions, which means significant cost savings.

If you’re struggling with legacy access control systems and you’re looking for a more up-to-date solution, Lockly’s Total Access property management system is a comprehensive access control solution that can be tailored to your specific needs. Find out more on our product page.

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