An access control system helps manage who has access to your self-storage facility. Although it sounds simple, it’s important to understand that a fully-functioning access control system consists of several different components. Although each component can be addressed separately, the key to a successful access control strategy is understanding how access control components work together. 

What is “Access Control”?

At its most basic level, self-storage access control technology includes software and hardware components. These components are customized to your facility’s needs and are connected to a network that works together simultaneously to either grant or deny tenant access.

Software, Hardware, and Keypads

Access control usually begins at a gate or main entrance. This entry point serves as a physical barrier to any protected areas of your facility. During initial onboarding, each tenant is given a set of credentials, such as an access code, mobile app, or key fob that serves as their authorization past the gate and into the facility. 

For example, when a tenant pulls up to a gated self-storage facility with a keypad, they enter the access code on the keypad to be granted access into the facility. The access control keypads send the data to a control panel to authenticate the tenant’s credentials. Once the control panel receives the data sent by the keypad, it verifies the tenant’s credentials with the access control management software. The access control hardware and software, known as the brains of the security system, work together to retrieve the tenant’s credentials from your property management system to ensure that the tenant is up-to-date on payments and is free of any other red flags. The access control software records all attempts (whether granted or denied) to enter the self-storage site into an activity log, so self-storage owners and operators can review all of their on-site activity in real-time. 


Door Security

Individual unit security is an additional component of access control security and includes the integration of door alarms and smart locks into the access control system. When a tenant keys in their access code into the keypad at the gate, the unit associated with the access code disengages its door alarm or additional locking mechanism, giving tenants access to their unit door just as they normally would. As your tenants re-enter their access code to exit the facility, the unit’s door alarm and smart lock re-engage and the unit is automatically secure. This feature also blocks any attempts of “tailgating” where a delinquent tenant may try to follow another individual or vehicle onto the property to gain access to their unit. If a unit is tampered with and the unit’s access code has not been put into the access control system, the alarm will sound and the management team will be notified immediately through the access control software system. 


Mobile Access

In our fast-paced digital world, technological advances have successfully substituted manual operations. Consequently, mobile access control  has entered the arena as an integrable component of an access control system. Mobile apps that provide the ability for tenants to open gates, doors, and elevators work by communicating with a server that is directly integrated with the access control management software. The entry gates of a facility open with a mobile app as if a tenant had manually entered the code on the keys. Mobile access credentials are a secure way for self-storage facilities to improve their overall security and enhance the customer experience.


The ultimate goal of your access control system is to create a positive interaction with your facility while protecting your tenant’s possessions and your investment. These security measures will also reassure tenants, encourage prospective customers, and discourage theft. Having a system that is streamlined, reliable, and easy-to-use is pivotal to the success of a self-storage business.

Whether you’re building out your first facility, upgrading your current security system, or looking to add on additional layers of protection, the experts at PTI are here to help. Reach out to one of our security experts today to learn more!