Which system is right for you?

While it’s easy to understand the (many) benefits of an access security control system, choosing the right system for your business or organization can be a challenge.

Just as various facilities require different levels of security, access control systems carry varying levels of control and sophistication. The key is finding the system with the right blend of features and function for your specific needs and budget.

Here’s a quick overview of the three main types of access control systems, as well as the pros and cons associated with each.

Discretional Access Control (DAC)

The default setting in many commercial security systems, Discretional Access Control (DAC) is the least rigid form of access control. DAC provides one level of access for everyone with approved credentials, and gives owners and administrators system-wide control over all access and permissions. Owners and administrators can use access control lists and groups to allow or block access to specific parts of a facility.


  • It’s easy to implement, configure, and control.
  • It’s very intuitive.
  • It typically runs on Windows and other common operating systems.


  • It doesn’t provide the level of control needed by organizations seeking a top-level security solution.
  • It can be a challenge to grant and revoke user permissions, as well as keep access lists current.
  • Administrators can have too much authority over access, including granting access to people who shouldn’t have it.
  • It can be susceptible to viruses, malware, and Trojan Horses when administrators share applications and files.

Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

Quickly becoming the most common form of access control — especially for large organizations with more than 500 employees — Role Based Access Control (RBAC) automatically assigns privileges and permissions based on each user’s pre-defined role within an organization.


  • It’s simple to set up and use. Administrators simply create predefined roles with appropriate permissions.
  • It’s cross-platform and can be used across different applications.
  • It helps businesses comply with state and federal data privacy and confidentiality regulations.
  • It’s a good fit for cloud-based access systems, as it can handle more dynamic and changing rules and permissions between users.
  • Administrators can make changes, as well as supervise, manage, or add new users without passwords or extra documentation.
  • Access to specific information is limited to specific tasks, helping to reduce errors, improve efficiency, and save money.


  • If users need permissions they don’t have, administrators must grant them access outside of their predefined roles, which the system configuration may not allow.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

Very popular with hospitals, medical practices, and banks, Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is the strictest and most work-intensive form of access control. Not only does it require system administrators to assign an access level to each individual added to the system, but only administrators — not users — can make modifications to the controls or change access levels.


  • It’s sought after by businesses looking for effective integrated security systems.
  • It’s often hosted on a cloud-based platform, which allows for easy access and maintenance.
  • It can reduce security errors associated with DAC.
  • It restricts permissions the user requires to make changes.


  • It can be expensive and time-consuming to implement.
  • A thorough analysis of the organization’s current system is needed to set proper controls.

Our Recommendations

Choosing the right system for your organization depends on multiple variables, including the size of your team, the nature of your business, and the types of processes you use.

While we mentioned a few types of businesses that typically utilize certain types of access control systems, no two businesses or organizations are the same. The perfect system for one organization might be too sophisticated — or not sophisticated enough — for another.

The fully licensed, bonded, and certified security technology experts at AA Safe and Security in Santa Cruz can provide comprehensive coverage for your business or organization, no matter the size.

Simply schedule a call with us to discuss your facility’s needs and concerns, and we’ll help you determine which system is right for you.