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Rodrigue Zbinden, CEO at Morphean, discusses the business benefits from merging video surveillance and access control technologies as demand for ACaaS grows. The big question facing businesses today is how they will use the data that they possess to unlock new forms of value using emerging technologies such as the cloud, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Some data is better utilised than others: financial services were quick to recognise the competitive advantages in exploiting technology to improve customer service, detect fraud and improve risk assessment. In the world of physical security, however, we’re only just beginning to understand the potential of the data that our systems gather as a part of their core function. Benefits of ‘Integrated access control’ The first thing to look for is how multiple sources of data can be used to improve physical security functionsWhat many businesses have yet to realise is that many emerging technologies come into their own when used across multiple sources of data. In physical security, for example, we’re moving from discussions about access control and CCTV as siloed functions, to platforms that combine information for analysis from any source, and applying machine learning algorithms to deliver intelligent insights back to the business. ‘Integrated access control’ then looks not just to images or building management, but to images, building management, HR databases and calendar information, all at the same time. And some of the benefits are only now starting to become clear. The first thing to look for, of course, is how multiple sources of data can be used to improve physical security functions. For example, by combining traditional access control data, such as when a swipe card is used, with a video processing platform capable of facial recognition, a second factor of authentication is provided without the need to install separate biometric sensors. CCTV cameras are already deployed in most sensitive areas, so if a card doesn’t match the user based on HR records, staff can be quickly alerted. Making the tools cost-effective In a similar vein, if an access card is used by an employee, who is supposed to be on holiday according to the HR record, then video data can be used to ensure the individual’s identity and that the card has not been stolen – all before a human operator becomes involved. This is driving growth in ‘access control as a service’ (ACaaS), and the end-to-end digitalisation of a vital business functionThese capabilities are not new. What is, however, is the way in which cloud-based computing platforms for security analytics, which absorb information from IP-connected cameras, make the tools much more cost effective, accessible and easier to manage than traditional on-site server applications. In turn, this is driving growth in ‘access control as a service’ (ACaaS), and the end-to-end digitalisation of a vital business function. With this system set up, only access control hardware systems are deployed on premise while the software and access control data are shifted to a remote location and provided as a service to users on a recurring monthly subscription. The benefits of such an arrangement are numerous but include avoiding large capital investments, greater flexibility to scale up and down, and shifting the onus of cybersecurity and firmware updates to the vendor. Simple installation and removal of endpoints What’s more, because modern video and access control systems transmit data via the IP network, installation and removal of endpoints are simple, requiring nothing more than PoE and Wi-Fi. Of all the advantages of the ‘as a service’ model, it’s the rich data acquired from ACaaS that makes it so valuable, and capable of delivering business benefits beyond physical security. Managers are constantly looking for better quality of information to inform decision making, and integrated access control systems know more about operations than you might think. Integrating lighting systems with video feeds and access control creates the ability to control the lightsRight now, many firms are experimenting with ways to find efficiencies and reduce costs. For example, lights that automatically turn off to save energy are common in offices today, but can be a distraction if employees have to constantly move around to trigger motion detectors. Integrating lighting systems with video feeds and access control creates the ability to control the lights depending on exactly who is in the room and where they are sitting. Tracking the movement of employees Camera data has been used in retail to track the movement of customers in stores, helping managers to optimise displays and position stocks. The same technology can be used to map out how employees move around a workspace, finding out where productivity gains can be made by moving furniture around or how many desks should be provisioned. Other potential uses of the same data could be to look for correlations between staff movement – say to a store room – and sales spikes, to better predict stock ordering. What makes ACaaS truly exciting is it is still a very new field, and we’re only just scratching the surface of the number of ways that it can be used to create new sources of value. As smart buildings and smart city technology evolves, more and more open systems will become available, offering more ways to combine, analyse and draw insights from data. Within a few years, it will become the rule, rather than the exception, and only grow in utility as it does.
Today’s security industry technology standards create a common framework for achieving predictable performance. Systems are made more secure and easier to install, use and integrate with other devices. Standards are also intended to be living documents, open to continual refinements to benefit manufacturers, integrators and end users. An excellent example is the Open Supervised Data Protocol (OSDP), which is now the industry’s gold standard for physical access control installations. It was designed to offer a higher level of security with more flexible options than the aging defacto Weigand wiring standard. Updating OSDP-readers simultaneously One recent addition enables end users to push firmware and software updates to thousands of OSDP-enabled card readers simultaneouslyOSDP, first introduced in 2011 by the Security Industry Association (SIA), continues to evolve with significant manufacturer input. One recent addition enables end users to push firmware and/or software updates to a few or thousands of OSDP-enabled card readers simultaneously. Weigand technology requires updates to be made one at a time at each reader. Regularly changing reader encryption keys is an excellent way to enhance facility security. It’s easy using the OSDP file transfer capability and the latest DESFire EV2 credentials containing multiple encryption keys. You can transfer the next code on the card to all readers and the job is done. And there’s no need to create a new card for each user or reprogram each individual reader. AES-128 encryption ensures cybersecurity It’s time to migrate entirely away from Weigand technology. If greater security, convenience and reduced labour from the latest OSDP updates isn’t reason enough, here are a few more things to consider. The 40-year-old Weigand protocol provides no signal encryption, making it easy for hackers to capture the raw data transmitted between cards and readers. OSDP readers support AES-128 encryption while providing continuous monitoring of wires to guard against cybercriminals. Weigand reader installations require homerun cable pulls from the control panel to each peripheral device. OSDP readers can be daisy chained, providing additional savings on cabling and installation time. Weigand technology is simply too slow to work with today’s most versatile and secure card technologies. OSDP readers work with virtually all modern access control cards. The OSDP standard also works with biometric devices; Weigand does not. Meeting requirements of FICAM guidelines SIA is pushing to make the latest OSDP version a standard recognised by the ANSI, a move to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. security businessesAlso, OSDP is becoming a must-have standard for organisations demanding the highest security levels. The standard meets requirements of the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM) guidelines that affect how the access control industry does business with the federal government. SIA is pushing to make the latest OSDP version a standard recognised by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), a move to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. security businesses. There’s still a large worldwide reader installation base that works solely with the Weigand protocol. Admittedly, changing them all at one time may be prohibitively expensive; however, standards should be viewed as a journey, not a destination. That’s why a measured migration is the right choice for many organisations. Begin by securing the perimeter. Replace only the outside-facing Weigand readers. As long as the walls are secured, the inside can remain a softer target until OSDP-compatible readers can be added indoors. The case for moving to OSDP as a standard is compelling. It offers our industry the opportunity to design access control software and products that provide what end users want most – greater security, flexibility and convenience.
It’s not surprising that people are nervous about the security of newer technologies, many of which are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). While they offer greater efficiency and connectivity, some people still hesitate. After all, there seems to be a constant stream of news stories about multinational corporations being breached or hackers taking control of smart home devices. Both of these scenarios can feel personal. No one likes the idea of their data falling into criminal hands. And we especially don’t like the thought that someone can, even virtually, come into our private spaces. The reality, though, is that, when you choose the right technology and undertake the proper procedures, IoT devices are incredibly secure. That said, one of the spaces where we see continued confusion is around access control systems (ACS) that are deployed over networks, particularly in relation to mobile access, smartcards, and electronic locks. These technologies are often perceived as being less secure and therefore more vulnerable to attacks than older ACS systems or devices. In the interest of clearing up any confusion, it is important to provide good, reliable information. With this in mind, there are some myths out there about the security of ACS that need to be debunked. The fact that these devices communicate with an ACS via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) leads to one of the main myths we encounter Myth #1: Mobile credentials are not secure The first myth we have to look at exists around mobile credentials. Mobile credentials allow cardholders to access secured doors and areas with their mobile devices. The fact that these devices communicate with an ACS via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) leads to one of the main myths we encounter about the security of credentialed information. There is a persistent belief that Bluetooth is not secure. In particular, people seem to be concerned that using mobile credentials makes your organisation more vulnerable to skimming attacks. While focusing on the medium of communication is an important consideration when an organisation deploys a mobile credentialing system, the concerns about Bluetooth miss the mark. Bluetooth and NFC are simply channels over which information is transmitted. Believing that Bluetooth is not secure would be the same as suggesting that the internet is not secure. In both cases, the security of your communication depends on the technology, protocols, and safeguards we all have in place. So, instead of wondering about Bluetooth or NFC, users should be focused on the security of the devices themselves. Before deploying mobile credentials, ask your vendor (1) how the credential is generated, stored, and secured on the device, (2) how the device communicates with the reader, and (3) how the reader securely accesses the credential information. When you deploy smartcard technology as part of your ACS, you should choose the latest generation, such as MiFARE DesFIRE EV1 or EV2 and HID iCLASS SEOS Myth #2: All smartcards are equally secure The question “how secure are my smartcards?” is a serious one. And the answer can depend on the generation of the cards themselves. For example, while older smartcards like MiFARE CLASSIC and HID iCLASS Classic offer better encryption than proxy cards and magstripe credentials, they have been compromised. Using these older technologies can make your organisation vulnerable. As a result, when you deploy smartcard technology as part of your ACS, you should choose the latest generation, such as MiFARE DesFIRE EV1 or EV2 and HID iCLASS SEOS. In this way, you will be protecting your system as well as your buildings or facilities. Some traditional readers and controllers can also pose a serious risk to your organisation if they use the Wiegand protocol, which offers no security. While you can upgrade to a more secure protocol like OSDP version 2, electronic locks are a very secure alternative worth considering. It is also important to understand that not all smartcard readers are compatible with all smartcard types. When they are not compatible, the built-in security designed to keep your system safe will not match up and you will essentially forego security as your smartcard-reader will not read the credentials at all. Instead, it will simply read the non-secure portion—the Card Serial Number (CSN) —of the smartcard that is accessible to everyone. While some manufacturers suggest that this is an advantage because their readers can work with any smartcard, the truth is that they are not reading from the secure part of the card, which can put your system and premises at risk. Using electronic locks can help protect facilities and networks through various security protocols, including encryption and authentication Myth #3: Electronic locks are more vulnerable These days, there are still many who believe that electronic locks, especially wireless locks, are more vulnerable to cybercriminal activity as compared to traditional readers and controllers. The concern here is that electronic locks can allow cybercriminals to both access your network to get data and intercept commands from the gateway or nodes over the air that would allow them access to your buildings or facilities. The reality is that using electronic locks can help protect facilities and networks through various security protocols, including encryption and authentication. Additionally, because many of these locks remain operational regardless of network status, they provide real-time door monitoring. This means that many electronic locks not only prevent unauthorised access but also keep operators informed about their status at all times, even if a network goes down. Outdated technology and old analogue systems are more vulnerable to attacks When it comes to deploying electronic locks, it is important to remember that, like any device on your network, they must have built-in security features that will allow you to keep your information, people, and facilities safe. Be prepared to unlock future benefits Ultimately, the information in your IP-based ACS is at no greater risk than any other information being transmitted over the network. We just have to be smart about how we connect, transmit, and store our data. In the end, maintaining the status quo and refusing to move away from old technology is not a viable option. Outdated technology and old analogue systems are more vulnerable to attacks. The reason it is so important to debunk myths around ACS and, at the same time, get people thinking about network security in the right way is that network-based systems can offer an ever-increasing number of benefits. When we deploy new technology using industry best practices and purchase devices from trusted vendors, we put ourselves and our networks in the best possible position to take full advantage of all that our increasingly connected world has to offer.
Videx, a manufacturer and supplier in access control and door entry systems, improves its flagship VX2200 door entry system, by introducing a lift interface module which enables lift control via the entry intercom within an apartment or office. The 2216 is the latest accessory for the VX2200 system, a two-wire audio and six wire video system for up to 998 apartments with multiple entrances and full concierge facilities. Door entry system The 2216 makes the VX2200 an even more ideal door entry system for a wide range of buildings" Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx UK, said: “The 2216 makes the VX2200 an even more ideal door entry system for a wide range of buildings, from residential flats to commercial offices, by enabling occupants to control the lift from their office or home.” “When entry is granted, the lift can be called and access to floors can be restricted accordingly so the visitor can only access the floor where they’ve been given authority by the resident or occupant. For example, a tenant on floor two can call the lift for their visitor and will only allow them to get off at floor two. Restricting visitors’ access to only the floors they’re allowed to visit strengthens the building’s security while also helping the visitor to find the apartment or office they’re visiting.” Serving eight floors The 2216 is fully programmable via bespoke software allowing any floor to be assigned to any apartment. Additionally, the entrance panels which are allowed to call the lift can also be selected. The interface includes eight relay outputs, which can each be assigned to a floor, serving eight floors at a time. It’s possible to use multiple 2216 modules for a maximum of 128 floors For buildings with more than eight floors, it’s possible to use multiple 2216 modules for a maximum of 128 floors. Neil continued: “Once set up, the module is controlled via the lock button on the intercom telephone within the apartment. When the occupant grants access to the visitor by pressing the lock button on their telephone or videophone, as well as opening the door to allow them into the building, the lift will also be called automatically.” Third party technology The 2216 can be used on new or existing installations and is powered from a 12VDC power source. Additional features include a lift override feature to either disable all lift calls or enable calls to all floors and both USB & RS485 connection for programming via the Videx VX2200 PC software. The 2216 accessory is also ready for the new Videx IP system where it can be used as either a lift interface or additional relays controlled by apartments for features such as turning on lights and activating third party technology and integrated appliances.
NiskhamSWAT, a charity that provides hot meals and everyday essentials to homeless people in the UK, has partnered with Videx Security, to overcome their access control and entry challenges. The charity, which was established in 2009 in West London, now serves disadvantaged communities in Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Slough, Windsor and Lancashire as well as London. It’s run by volunteers and the charity currently has 1,300 volunteers across the country, serving those who need it the most. Need of a convenient access control solution We needed a more flexible and convenient access control solution that still provided a high level of security too"Randeep S. Lall, Global Operations Director at the charity, said: “We provide 3,000 meals per week to those in need which means our main warehouse in London is extremely busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Security and appropriate access and entry are so important." “Although we have a secured electric gate that drivers have to report to in order to gain entry, it meant someone had to permanently stay at the warehouse to grant delivery and collection vans access. This wasn’t sustainable given we are a completely volunteer led organisation. We needed a more flexible and convenient access control solution that still provided a high level of security too.” NiskhamSWAT, who have recently won a Queen’s Award for voluntary service, worked with leading access control and door entry distributor, ADI to overcome their entry challenges. GSM audio kit with code lock Joseph Davies at ADI explained: “We recommended a GSM access control system to NiskhamSWAT to help solve their entry issues. After researching which solution would work best, we advised that the charity used a Videx two-way GSM audio kit with code lock and proximity access control in a 4000 series style panel.” The GSM system we’ve donated to them enables people to answer calls to their front door or gate from mobile phone" Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx, continued: “When ADI contacted us, we were more than happy to help provide a system that could solve NiskhamSWAT’s access problem. The GSM system we’ve donated to them enables people to answer calls to their front door or gate from their mobile phone or landline, so they never have to miss that important visitor and are made aware of who has visited even when they are not there.” Easy programming of the entrance panel For NiskhamSWAT, this means that no one is required to remain at the warehouse 24/7 to authorise access. If a van arrives for a collection or delivery and no one is there, the system will call the designated number for access and has the facility to divert to another number if the first call is not answered, with a maximum of up to four numbers per button. Programming the entrance panel can easily be carried out either by SMS or dialling into the system using a telephone without a keypad. Randeep at NiskhamSWAT added: “Huge thanks to ADI and Videx for the donation and free installation from Image Security too. It’s helped us out massively as it meant no one has to stay at the warehouse, freeing up precious volunteering time that can be put to better use elsewhere. It’s so much more convenient to receive a call when someone is asking for access. I can verify the caller and swiftly authorise or deny access.”
Videx, a manufacturer and supplier in access control and door entry kits, has added a new app to its flagship GSM intercom range, the popular entry systems that provide greater security and freedom to users. The new app simplifies programming and usability for both end users and installers. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app allows you to program the GSM intercom system by automatically creating the SMS messages. Activating door/gate for programmed time Features include the ability to activate the door or gate either for the programmed time or to latch and unlatch it"James Gray, project manager at Videx said: “The app is a great addition to the Videx GSM product range, enhancing the features while also providing a convenient way to manage and operate the system. “Features include the ability to activate the door or gate either for the programmed time or to latch and unlatch it. This can be done via text message or dialling using the dial to open feature. You can also add and modify numbers called, the dial to open numbers, access codes including temporary access codes for one-time visitors, as well as proximity tags that are used to open the gate or door.” Up to 10 GSM intercoms can be stored in the app. Settings such as master code, telephone number, call button telephone numbers and free access settings are all stored to save the user time while using the app. An advanced version of the app will also be available soon with even more features for the installer or managing agent of the system. Setting up free access time periods Users can also set up free access time periods where the gate or door can be held open for visitors"The app is not restricted to the GSMPRO version of the Videx GSM intercom systems and can also be used with the Digital GSM, vandal resistant GSM’s, multiple entrance 2270 interface and the GSM lite. James added: “Users can also set up free access time periods where the gate or door can be held open for visitors. The ability to decode received messages from the intercom panel is also included and some of these messages can also be imported and saved in the app for future use. For example, if the intercom call button has already been programmed, it’s possible to receive the telephone numbers for the call button and import them into the app.” Users will be able to download the app directly from Google’s ‘Play store’ and Apple’s ‘App store’ free of charge. The app can be used with all current and older model GSM intercoms.
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