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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.
The basic principles of access control are well established: only authorised people should have access to secure areas, only at times that can be defined in advance, and only within a system that can identify exactly who went where, and when. Traditional mechanical lock-and-key systems cannot accomplish this — at least, not without loading a huge admin burden onto security staff. But modern, electronic wireless access control has the flexibility to achieve it. What criteria determine the right sort of access control for your organisation? It makes sense to assess what is desirable against what is affordable or available in the electronic access control market today. Asking yourself these 5 questions will lead to a wise investment in the right technology: Wireless locks like Aperio work seamlessly with existing systems from over 100 different access control providersDo you want to extend your existing system, or begin from scratch? You are not stuck with locks chosen by a previous management team. Security needs change. Wireless locks like Aperio, for example, work seamlessly with existing systems from over 100 different access control providers, integrated online or offline. You will save time and money extending your current system with a technology like Aperio and users can continue with their existing credentials. Going forward, it makes sense to choose locks built using open architecture, for added flexibility and to future-proof your next investment. Who are the site users and what kind of credentials suit their needs? In many industries, access to premises is required by permanent staff and short-term contractors: your access system needs to be flexible. Different systems offer credentials stored on cards and fobs, or on programmable, battery-powered keys. For example, the new Openow app for SMARTair wireless locking converts a user’s smartphone into a virtual key. You issue and revoke user keys using the intuitive software, an efficient, flexible mobile management solution. What is the structure of the site (or sites) you protect? You will need different locks for high-traffic and low-traffic doors, indoor and outdoor use. Almost everywhere, wireless locks are much easier to install and to maintain than traditional wired magnetic locks — and more cost-effective to run. Certified wireless security locks provide extra protection for sensitive areas needing stringent standards. If you have a mobile workforce or manage dispersed sites, consider the credential management practicalities. For example, programmable keys that are easy to update with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app — like ASSA ABLOY’s CLIQ Connect solution — will save your staff time and money. For outdoor access points, you will need gate locks or padlocks certified for operation in extreme conditions Do you want to secure more than just doors? Some wireless systems have locks for cabinets, machines, windows and even server racks (handy if you want an extra layer of control over co-located servers). There will be workflow advantages in monitoring these ‘non-doors’ — medicine stores, for example, or car parks or lifts — from the same admin interface as your doors. Site users will appreciate the convenience of carrying one credential for every access need. For outdoor access points, you will need gate locks or padlocks certified for operation in extreme conditions. For example, CLIQ mechatronic padlocks are currently deployed outdoors at utility sites in Scandinavia and supermarkets in East Africa. Do you need real-time capabilities? Choose an Online system and you can manage and amend access control doors at any time and from anywhere, using the admin software. You can monitor sensitive areas like medicine stores remotely and in real time, and can revoke access rights if a user credential gets lost. In an emergency, remote locking or unlocking of an entrance could be critical. Aperio wireless locks, for example, are integrated with online electronic access and real-time monitoring systems in hospitals, manufacturing plants and student halls of residence. With some systems, including SMARTair, you can combine ‘Update on Card’ and Online updating for different doors within the same installation. The CLIQ Connect app and programmable keys make real-time control over remote sites or teams possible. Wireless access control offers a compelling mix of audit compliance, easy installation, cost efficiency, and seamless integration. It makes life easier for security managers, and is deployed in premises as diverse as power plants and co-working spaces; museums and care homes; banks, schools and skyscrapers.
Guests at some of Dubai’s newest hotels will enjoy more efficient and memorable service thanks to eFusion technology from Maxxess. Improving control The eFusion solution is being used for comprehensive streamlining of security and safety – tying together front-of-house and back-of-house operations – at a number of landmark hotel developments in Dubai. The result will be a smoother check-in experience for guests, with minimal queuing, no cumbersome paperwork, and more attentive service. By integrating front and back of house operations at busy hotels, eFusion reduces problems with inefficiency and human error and improves situational awareness and control capability for management teams. Among the latest five-star destinations to adopt eFusion, the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa on Palm Jumeirah, which is due to open later this year, comprises seventeen floors with 200-plus rooms and suites, along with recreational and dining facilities. The Taj Jumeirah Lake Towers, another development by the Indian Hotels Company due to open this year, will also benefit from Maxxess integration technology. Seamless integration eFusion allows rapid integration - off-the-shelf - with a wide choice of security, safety and business-critical technologies eFusion allows rapid integration – off-the-shelf – with a wide choice of security, safety and business-critical technologies. It provides an umbrella management system and allows the highest level of service efficiency by removing the need for operators to continually switch between systems. The systems and IT integrator for the new-build project, PACC Information and Communication Technology LLC, says eFusion was specified because it met requirements for the most robust solution and one that would be easy to adapt going forward. Delivering guest satisfaction “Guest satisfaction is the hotel’s top priority and the eFusion system will let them focus their efforts on delivering it,” says PACC spokesman Shantanu Mukherjee. “Visitors to these new hotels will really notice the difference.” At the Taj Exotica, eFusion will integrate the front of house system from ASSA ABLOY; the Honeywell Simplex fire system controls; the Honeywell Building Management System connected via a Bacnet gateway; and a combination of 403 Hanwha Technwin Wisenet IP internal and external cameras, installed by ISS CCTV and operated through SecureOS video management software (VMS). ASSA ABLOY VingCard access control The ASSA ABLOY VingCard access control system, securing almost 300 doors, will be managed from the eFusion platform alongside other key services due to be added, including the OTIS elevator controls. eFusion will allow the hotel’s management to define events of interest – such a particular door being unlocked, or alarms being set or unset – and provide transactional information to improve security for guests, and accountability. The solution also enables centralised management of room safes, mini-bars and cupboards, and the control of all alarm transactions. Integration with access control system Using eFusion off-the-shelf integration modules, ID badging and building management systems are also fully integrated Cameras linked to door access will allow video pop-up to be triggered by pre-defined events, and operators will have complete PTZ control, playback and video functionality. Using eFusion off-the-shelf integration modules, ID badging and building management systems are also fully integrated, allowing easy operation and control of a wide range of functions including heating, ventilation and air conditioning. A further 300 rooms are expected to be added to the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa system in a phase-two development scheduled for 2021. Modular, building block approach “The eFusion platform was chosen for these major projects because it offers the advantages of a modular, building block approach and gives IHCL maximum freedom to integrate, customise and adapt to future needs,” says Lee Copland, Managing Director EMEA, Maxxess Systems. He adds, “This success positions Maxxess as a clear leader in linking front-and-back of house operations to enable seamless facilities management, safety and security operations in often complex and busy hotel environments. Visitors to IFSEC International will have the opportunity to see the power of eFusion integration on our stand IF2120,” added Copland. As well as the new IHC Taj hotels, Maxxess eFusion is also being implemented at six upcoming Dubai developments, including major hotel, leisure and retail destinations, with several other projects underway in the wider region as well as in London, UK.
LifeSafety Power Inc. continues to expand its popular rack mount solutions, now adding the integration of Honeywell ProWatch to the FlexPower Gemini line. The Gemini RGH rack mount power management system supports seamless hardware integration of Honeywell ProWatch door controllers and centralised power in a single, space-saving design. Rack mount power management Gemini RGH is a compact, 19-inch rack-mounted enclosure engineered for data centers, IT closets, server rooms or other areas where space is limited. It integrates ProWatch door controllers and power controller boards in a pull-out, easy-to-access mechanical housing, giving systems integrators the convenience of a tiered drawer configuration for their Honeywell access control specifications. RGH is the continuation of LifeSafety Power’s award-winning Gemini line. Gemini covers the most widely specified access controller configurations, with rack mount designs for Mercury, SWH, AMAG, HID and Honeywell controllers, as well as ‘power-only’ rack mount footprints recently made available with the newly released RGL. Gemini Series carry UL and ULC listings, as well as other certifications. Compact housing for door controllers “The Gemini line continues to expand in response to our customer’s requests for compact, integrated housings for the most popular door controllers along with power,” said Larry Ye, President and CEO of LifeSafety Power. “As space for technology and equipment becomes increasingly limited, Gemini meets the need for access control and power integration in an abbreviated, yet easy-to-service footprint.”
Coming off a successful ISC West show, Honeywell is sharply focussed on product development, with an emphasis on advanced software. “We have a strong new product pipeline this year – more than two times the number of products than we’ve released in the past several years,” says Luis Rodriguez, Director of Product Marketing, Honeywell Commercial Security. “At ISC West, we received a lot of interest in how AI and new security systems are changing the market.” Although uses for AI are still emerging in security, Honeywell sees an important role for AI in building a connected system to ensure the safety and security of a building, and more importantly, its occupants. AI allows end users to go beyond monitoring activity on a surface level to really understand the scene – from who exactly is in the area to what they might be doing. As more data is processed over time, AI will continue to build on its learnings to help deliver a more accurate assessment of potential threats each time. Machine learning-based analytics End users should explore the use of machine learning-based analytics as machine learning is more advanced than AI-based systems, says Rodriguez. “When speaking to dealers and integrators, end users should also inquire about the detection accuracy of systems that use AI or machine learning technology, particularly around false positives and negatives.” Honeywell seeks to develop integrated security systems that provide the earliest detection “Additionally, end users should always ask to conduct site testing so to understand how well-suited the machine learning-based system is to the particular user’s native environment,” adds Rodriguez. “The testing will help identify the exact needs of their site.” Honeywell is reinvesting in its video portfolio, both in hardware and software innovation, as well as partnering with the top experts in the IT and education industries to stay ahead of customer demand. Honeywell seeks to develop integrated security systems that provide the earliest detection, enable the fastest response, centralise decision making, and allow customers to manage it all from anywhere. Solutions for vertical markets Honeywell Commercial Security is focussed on supporting vertical markets that have specific security needs such as education, banking and finance, and pharma. Each has unique nuances that call for tailored security approaches. “As Honeywell continues to develop its suite of security solutions for the future and identify personalised systems for each vertical, AI such as analytics, deep learning and facial recognition will play an integral role during research and testing,” says Rodriguez. Honeywell is developing video and audio analytics technology capable of studying crowd behaviour as well as detecting guns, gunshots An example is the education market, where eliminating human delay in reporting potential threats to law enforcement and creating faster systems that help omit single-point failures are key to protecting schools and ensuring students’ safety. To address those challenges, Honeywell is developing video and audio analytics technology capable of studying crowd behaviour as well as detecting guns, gunshots and fights, says Bruce Montgomery, Business Development Manager, Honeywell Commercial Security. Testing technology for sports security The software is able to visualise, automate planning, design and efficiency analysis of a video surveillance system"A partnership with University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) is testing technology such as MaxPro Video, Pro-Watch Access Control and UNP Mass Notification in the National Sport Security Laboratory and in connected real-world environments. “The analytics data gathered from these environments will help inform future security innovations,” says Montgomery. Another Honeywell partnership is with JVSG, whose CCTV Design Software offers a new way to design more affordable and higher quality video surveillance systems. Integrators and distributors are now able to add a range of models from Honeywell’s portfolio of Performance Series IP Cameras into their system design from the software’s database. “The software is able to visualise, automate planning, design and efficiency analysis of a video surveillance system,” says Jeremy Kimber, Director of Enterprise Global Product Management, Honeywell Security and Fire. The program is used by more than 7,000 CCTV designers in more than 130 countries around the world and is downloaded more than 60,000 times every year.
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SMARTair wireless access control solution brings sensitive areas at the Syrenparken mental health treatment facility under total control
- SMARTair wireless access control solution brings sensitive areas at the Syrenparken mental health treatment facility under total control
- SALTO provides parking solutions to Ports of Jersey with its smart access control solution
- ASSA ABLOY helps Vejle Friskole staff to reduce key management time with its SMARTair® system
- Vanderbilt ACT365 addresses access control security concerns at Study Abroad University, London