Will Your Access Control System Work When the Power is Out?

Will Your Access Control System Work When the Power is Out?

by Mike Boehm on June 22, 2023

 Many organizations around the world have an access control system that either works with proximity access cards, fobs, wristbands, or any of the other countless access control technologies that have been developed in recent years. As these systems are becoming more and more common throughout the world, it is important to know how resilient they are—not only against technological threats, but against natural threats such as power outages as well.

How Does an Access Control System Work?

An access control security system is often set up throughout a whole facility, incorporating a variety of security measures such as door controls, card readers, and security cameras, designed thus to protect the organization as a whole. The staple of the access control system is the proximity access card, which stores the user’s unique credentials and allows the user to access authorized entrances. Proximity access cards, when incorporated in a business, are granted to a select number of employees, often with variable clearance levels. The access control system is normally wired and linked to the internet, and stores data (such as security camera footage, access control logs, and sometimes intellectual data protected by the access control malware) on a hard drive. In any case, the basic principle behind these access control systems is that, in order to get behind locked doors, the user must waive their proximity access card in front of the card reader which will process the card’s credentials and then unlock the door as long as the user has sufficient clearance.

Power Outages and Backup Power

Though these access control systems are clearly efficient, practical, and secure, a common concern that people have is that: Since these systems primarily run off of electricity and internet, will they continue to work during a power outage? The short and amazing answer is: Yes!

Access control systems are equipped with a battery backup which is automatically activated in the event of a power outage. Even if your system does not already have one, battery backups can easily be added to any control system to ensure that your system works in a time of disaster. As long as the backup power source is adequate enough to sustain your card readers, your system will protect your facility even during a power outage.


Many people fear that, since access control systems require electricity to operate, they are less reliable than more traditional lock-and-key methods. Fear no longer! Your doors will remain locked and your proximity cards will still work.  Because access control systems are designed to work with a backup power source, the system will continue to keep your business safe and secure even in the event of a power outage!