Access control system accessories - Expert commentary

Get the most from investments in building security
Get the most from investments in building security

From analogue to digital, from stand-alone to interlinked, building systems are in a state of transition. Moreover, the rate of change shows no sign of slowing, which can make it difficult to keep up to date with all the latest developments. If asked to pinpoint the single biggest driver of this revolution, one could point out the growing clamour for platform convergence. A security guard in a building doesn’t want to use different systems to check video cameras, fire alarms or if someone has entered a restricted area: – it simply isn’t efficient. For similar reasons, a building manager wants a single interface to control heating and lighting to match fluctuating occupancy levels, particularly in a hybrid working model. Applying the digital glue The demand from end-users for system convergence is growing, but to achieve full interoperability you still need to apply some ‘digital glue’ and that requires expertise. Yet bringing together disparate systems from different manufacturers can be problematic. Just as you get things to work, someone upgrades their solution and your carefully implemented convergence can start to come unstuck. Managing an implementation can quickly become more complicated, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s headache This is one of the principal issues with all types of new technology; not everyone will choose the same path to reach the desired goal – it’s the old VHS/Betamax argument updated for building management and security systems. Managing and maintaining an implementation can quickly become more complicated than it first appears and without proper oversight, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s technical headache. Effective support for a hybrid workforce Today’s hybrid workforce is a response to the pandemic that looks set to become an established part of working life for many companies across the world. Security systems have a massive role to play in facilitating this transformation that goes beyond simple intrusion detection, access control, and video monitoring. They can identify the most densely populated areas in a building to comply with social distancing guidelines and provide efficient use of space. The insights gathered from a security system can also be used to identify patterns of behaviour, which can then be used for planning and directing the use of building space to help create the best possible working environment while also minimising heating, lighting, and air conditioning expenditures. Identity credentials can help manage compliance with industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas Similarly, identity credentials – either biometric or mobile-based – can help manage compliance to industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas only to approved employees. Creating and maintaining the appropriate level of functionality requires a combination of innovative solutions and industry experience. The complete security package It’s not just physical security that’s important – cybersecurity is a major focus, too. Bringing together both the physical security and cybersecurity realms is increasingly becoming a ‘must have’ capability. What is evident is that the pace of technological change is faster than ever. Today’s functionality simply wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago, while today’s leading-edge developments may seem commonplace in five years.

How businesses can protect their people in the new age of work
How businesses can protect their people in the new age of work

Ensuring employee health and safety remains a key priority for organisations this year, especially as we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise in different areas of the world. As an ongoing challenge, COVID-19 has shifted the priorities of many organisations. In fact, “improving health and safety for employees” is the top strategic goal this year of manufacturing and logistics organisations in the U.S. and U.K., according to research conducted by Forrester on behalf of STANLEY Security. But as we think about reopening and as hybrid workforce models and “workspace-on-demand” approaches rise in popularity, leaders need to consider implementing the right technologies to help ensure a safe return to the office. This means investing in health, safety, and security solutions that can help leaders protect their people. The intersection of security technology and health and safety There’s no doubt that the scope of security has expanded in the wake of the global pandemic. What was once an area governed by a select few security or IT professionals within a business has now become a crucial company investment involving many key stakeholders. The role of security has expanded to encompass a broader range of health and safety challenges for businesses Additionally, the role of security has expanded to encompass a broader range of health and safety challenges for businesses. Fortunately, security technologies have made significant strides and many solutions, both existing and new, have been thrust forward to address today’s biggest business challenges. Investment in security technology It’s important to note that businesses are eager to adopt tech that can help them protect their people. Nearly half (46%) of organisations surveyed by Forrester report that they’re considering an increasing investment in technology solutions that ensure employee safety. Technologies like touchless access control, visitor management systems, occupancy monitoring, and installed/wearable proximity sensors are among some of the many security technologies these organisations have implemented or are planning to implement yet this year. Facilitating a safe return to work But what does the future look like? When it comes to the post-pandemic workplace, organisations are taking a hard look at their return-to-work strategy. Flexible or hybrid workforce models require a suite of security solutions to help ensure a safer, healthier environment More than half (53%) of organisations surveyed by Forrester are looking to introduce a flexible work schedule for their employees as they make decisions about returning to work and keeping employees safe post-pandemic. Such flexible – or hybrid – workforce models require a suite of security solutions to help ensure a safer, healthier environment for all who traverse a facility or work on-site. One of the central safety and security challenges raised by these hybrid models is tracking who is present in the building at any one time – and where or how they interact. Leveraging security technology With staggered schedules and what may seem like a steady stream of people passing through, it can be difficult to know who’s an employee and who’s a visitor. Access control will be key to monitoring and managing the flow of people on-site and preventing unauthorised access. When access control systems are properly integrated with visitor management solutions, businesses can unlock further benefits and efficiencies. For instance, integrated visitor management systems can allow for pre-registration of visitors and employees – granting mobile credentials before people arrive on-site – and automated health screening surveys can be sent out in advance to help mitigate risk. Once someone reaches the premises, these systems can also be used to detect the person’s temperature and scan for a face mask, if needed.  We will likely see these types of visitor management and advanced screening solutions continue to rise in popularity, as 47% of organisations surveyed by Forrester report that they’re considering requiring employee health screening post-pandemic. Defining the office of the future A modern, dynamic workforce model will require an agile approach to office management. It’s imperative to strike the right balance between making people feel welcome and reassuring Businesses want to create an environment in which people feel comfortable and confident – a space where employees can collaborate and be creative. It’s imperative to strike the right balance between making people feel welcome and reassuring them that the necessary security measures are in place to ensure not only their safety but also their health. In many cases, this balancing act has created an unintended consequence: Everyone now feels like a visitor to a building. Protocols and processes With employees required to undergo the same screening processes and protocols as a guest, we’ve seen a transformation in the on-site experience. This further underscores the need for seamless, automated, and tightly integrated security solutions that can improve the employee and visitor experience, while helping to ensure health and safety. Ultimately, the future of the office is not about what a space looks like, but how people feel in it. This means adopting a “safety-always” culture, underpinned by the right technology, to ensure people that their safety remains a business’ top priority. 

Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) – what you need to know about modern and future proof access control security?
Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) – what you need to know about modern and future proof access control security?

Access control and management of trusted identities are the building blocks of security, safety, and site management policies for many businesses and organisations. The current pandemic has compounded this with the introduction of new policies and regulations, particularly around social distancing and contact tracing. Most organisations will have some form of legacy access control in place, ranging from the most simplistic options, such as locks and keys, to technology-based systems. The issue with legacy systems of any type is that risks, just like technology, evolve. What was secure, convenient, and efficient a few years ago is often found wanting as the threat landscape changes. The standards governing the development and testing of physical access control systems (PACS) have also evolved to improve security and product interoperability. An example is the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), introduced 10 years ago as an alternative to the antiquated and vulnerable Clock-and-Data and Wiegand protocols. However, when it comes to planning infrastructure upgrades or implementing new tools, businesses must carry out due diligence to ensure the solutions are future-proof and deliver the expected level of security. Vulnerabilities and challenges In the early 1980s, Clock-and-Data and Wiegand protocols were widely adopted as the de-facto standard for interoperability between access control readers and physical access controllers. Those de-facto standards were later formalised and adopted into industry standards by the Security Industry Association in the 1990s. Wiegand is unencrypted and unable to protect from “man in the middle” attacks and vulnerabilities  There were weaknesses, though, Wiegand is unencrypted and unable to protect from “man in the middle” attacks and vulnerabilities from the reader to the controller. Not only that, but Wiegand delivers limited range options and is operationally inefficient. It is also easy to target via its learnable language and a host of hacking devices available via online sources. Furthermore, the retrofitting installation alongside a legacy system is complicated for integrators and expensive for organisations, as most readers require dedicated home-run wiring. Extensive wiring on a large-scale project, such as a school or corporate campus, results in considerable — often prohibitive — costs for the installation of a PACS. Legacy access control protocol Despite the well-publicised vulnerabilities and weaknesses, Wiegand is still one of the most common protocols in legacy access control, with estimates indicating it is used in more than 90 percent of installed systems. This not only presents issues about physical security but also raises concerns relating to the protection of personal data. Access control systems not only contain information about who can and cannot use certain doors. OSDP is a communication standard Modern systems include a wide range of personal data, ranging from qualifications and certifications of individuals, home contact details, and even medical conditions or HR and employment information. With the potential fines associated with GDPR breaches, companies need to take this concern seriously. These weaknesses pushed the security industry to adopt a new protocol: Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP). This access control communications standard was developed by Mercury Security (now part of HID Global) and HID Global in 2008, and donated, free of intellectual property, to the Security Industry Association (SIA) to improve interoperability among access control and security products. Since then, it has been adopted as a standard by SIA, becoming the first secure, bidirectional reader/controller protocol to be governed by a major standards body in the security industry. In 2020 OSDP reached an additional milestone in becoming an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard. Why implement OSDP as a standard? OSDP is the only protocol that is secure and open for communication between readers and controllers The growth of networked devices, such as video and access control products, has led to an increased demand for converged solutions. Businesses and organisations recognise the value of implementing an integrated solution to enhance security and add value to technology investment. OSDP is the only protocol that is secure and open for communication between readers and controllers and is also being widely adopted by industry-leading reader and controller manufacturers. It is an evolving, ‘living standard,’ making it a safer, more robust, future-proof option for governing physical access control systems. OSDP offers important benefits: 1) Increased security Implementing OSDP standards can increase security, as OSDP with Secure Channel Protocol (SCP) supports AES-128 encryption that is required in U.S. federal government applications. Additionally, OSDP constantly monitors wiring to protect against tampering, removing the guesswork since the encryption and authentication are predefined. 2) Bidirectional communication Early on, communication protocols such as Wiegand were unidirectional, with external card readers sending information one way to a centralized access control platform. OSDP has transformed the ability for information to be collected, shared, and acted upon with the addition of bidirectional communication for configuration, status monitoring, tampering, and malfunction detection, and other valuable functions. In fact, OSDP is the only open, non-proprietary, bidirectional, secure protocol for communication between card reader and physical access controller. 3) Open and interoperable OSDP adds new technology that enhances its ability to protect incoming and outgoing data collection OSDP supports IP communications and point-to-point serial interfaces, enabling customers to flexibly enhance system functionality as needs change and new threats emerge. They also can proactively add new technology that enhances their ability to protect incoming and outgoing data collection through a physical access control system. 4) Reduced installation costs OSDP’s use of two wires (as compared to a potential of 11 wires with Wiegand) allows for multi-drop installation, supervised connections to indicate reader malfunctions, and scalability to connect more field devices. Daisy-chaining accommodates many readers connected to a single controller, eliminating the need to run home-run wiring for each reader, and the use of a four-conductor cable achieves up to 10x longer distances between reader and controller than Wiegand while also powering the reader and sending/receiving data. 5) User friendly OSDP gives credential holders greater ease of use, with audio and visual feedback such as coloured lights, audible beeps, and the ability to display alerts on the reader. For security administrators, managing and servicing OSDP-enabled readers also becomes increasingly convenient, as OSDP-enabled readers can be remotely configured from network-connected locations. Users can poll and query readers from a central location, eliminating the cost and time to physically visit and diagnose malfunctioning devices. Unlimited application enhancements OSDP streamlines installations and upgrades while saving organisations the expense of replacing readers  OSDP supports advanced smartcard technology applications, including PKI/FICAM and biometrics, and other enhanced authentication protocols used in applications that require Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliance and interactive terminal capabilities. Audio-visual user feedback mechanisms provide a rich, user-centric access control environment. OSDP offers advantages for users, administrators, and integrators, alike. It adds security and real-world efficiencies, and its interoperability ensures that organisations can use systems from numerous manufacturers as they invest in infrastructure that maximises the protection of critical data. For our part, HID Global’s range of HID Signo readers is OSDP verified, ensuring they offer the intended interoperability and security for secure bidirectional communication and provide an easy migration from Wiegand devices. In a campus environment, OSDP streamlines installations and upgrades while saving organisations the expense of replacing readers if a new access control solution is implemented. There are also service and maintenance benefits as OSDP encourages continuous monitoring of system uptime and allows for remote configuration of -- or upgrades to -- a reader. Cost savings upon system upgrade Integrators can also capitalise on the introduction of OSDP by encouraging open standards, which can, in turn, help them build new customer relationships and win more projects. Although upgrading to access control systems that adhere to OSDP standards is a significant initiative, the range of benefits outweighs the cost of upgrading. Increased security coupled with business efficiencies adds value for those administering the system and a high level of interoperability ensures users can deploy systems from numerous third-party manufacturers. Integrators who understand the benefits of OSDP can also help their customers support both current and future technology requirements. When a site’s needs change, OSDP offers significant cost savings as the open functionality makes adding new devices easier and reduces the expense of requiring all readers to be replaced if a new solution is installed. Businesses and organisations transitioning to OSDP will also enhance value in terms of operational costs such as servicing and maintenance.

Latest PAC International, Ltd news

PAC introduces new versions of Access Central and EasiNet Residential to address post-lockdown access control challenges
PAC introduces new versions of Access Central and EasiNet Residential to address post-lockdown access control challenges

PAC, a supplier of innovative access control solutions, has announced new versions of its cutting-edge Access Central and EasiNet Residential software management platforms. The most comprehensive upgrades to both systems since they were initially launched, PAC has introduced a range of dynamic features that will enable commercial and residential premises to maintain high levels of occupant safety as lockdown begins to ease. ‘Access control technology has a significant role to play in helping to protect building occupants from infection, alongside its ability to configure smart and reliable strategies to help alleviate anxiety, enhance confidence and maintain regulatory compliance,’ commented Pete England, PAC’s global product manager. ‘Over the last year, we have been working hard to leverage the power of our technology. As a result, Access Central v5.3 has been designed to help limit person-to-person contact, control occupancy levels reduce surface touches, and swiftly initiates contact tracing procedures.’ Enhance security with access central Access Central acts as a central resource for keyholder records and access privileges, with the ability to set pre-configured alarms, track activities  Designed primarily for the commercial, educational, and healthcare sectors, Access Central acts as a central resource for keyholder records and access privileges, with the ability to set pre-configured alarms, track activities and maintain a full audit trail. To build on its existing capabilities, Access Central v5.3 now has additional occupancy management features including managed entrance, occupancy tracking, and global anti-passback for accurate tracing of keyholders. This will help make sure occupants adhere to designated one-way flow systems through buildings and do not overpopulate specific areas. Furthermore, a keyholder’s access privileges can be temporarily disabled if they do not read out when exiting an area. Access Central v5.3 also boasts enhanced building management and security features such as a guard tour that configures set routes around a building for security officers. Using pre-configured parameters, automated event notifications send PC pop-up notifications when occupancy limits are reached and/or exceeded restrict entry and provide a live display of the number of people in an area. This can form part of a broader health and safety policy, for example, temperature and mask checks or use of sanitisation stations, and can be used to configure a traffic light-style system, while time periods are configurable to enable one or multiple managed entrances per day. Cost-effective expansion Similar innovations are found in EasiNet Residential v5.3, which combines high-security access control with advanced keyholder configuration and management, which can be supported through PAC’s secure Residential Cloud. EasiNet Residential v5.3 enables cost-effective expansion into building management systems through the use of PAC input/output controllers to facilitate third-party equipment integration, allowing building services such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to be centrally managed. In addition, lift control means that keyholders are only assigned access to specific floors to maintain social distancing. These features can all be managed via Control Centre – PAC’s new ‘single pane of glass’ management tool for operators. Consolidating CCTV and access control functionality is more vital than ever and both Access Central v5.3 and EasiNet Residential v5.3 offer options for 3xLOGIC VIGIL integration. Cameras can be directly configured and monitored through each software solution, with access to VIGIL’s business intelligence capabilities achieved via integration with a VIGIL server. As such video verification through CCTV actions can be captured through pre-sets that, for instance, move a pan, tilt, zoom camera as an event is taking place. Smart access control PAC’s Pete England concluded, ‘As people emerge from their homes and begin to return to their workplaces, building safety and security needs to be rethought, reconfigured and adapted to meet a complex set of challenges. Access control technology must be used in smarter ways than ever before to help protect building occupants and achieving this objective is now possible thanks to Access Central v5.3 and EasiNet Residential v5.3’.  In order to help partners and customers maximise the potential of these state-of-the-art features, PAC will be hosting two webinars for the commercial and residential markets. 

3xLOGIC, PAC GDX and PACOM to demonstrate latest security innovations at IFSEC 2019
3xLOGIC, PAC GDX and PACOM to demonstrate latest security innovations at IFSEC 2019

3xLOGIC, PAC/GDX and PACOM, providers of security and access control solutions, have announced they will be exhibiting on stand IF2930 at IFSEC International 2019, which takes place on 18th-20th June at ExCeL, London. For over 15 years as one of the USA’s most respected innovators in server, cloud and artificial intelligence-based solutions, 3xLOGIC has an enviable track record in redefining what’s possible with security technology. After successfully launching into the European market earlier this year, 3xLOGIC will exhibit its diverse range of cutting-edge products as well as demonstrate their integration capabilities. Leading the way is the integration of 3xLOGIC’s NVRs and standalone cameras into PACOM’s GMS and Unison product lines. VIGIL enterprise grade VMS 3xLOGIC’s VIGIL enterprise grade VMS is the driving force behind the VIGIL range of NVRs, DVRs and PoE cameras3xLOGIC’s VIGIL enterprise grade VMS is the driving force behind the VIGIL range of network video recorders (NVRs), digital video recorders (DVRs) and Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras. To further enhance VIGIL’s suitability for multi-site environments, it has been integrated with the PACOM Graphical Management System (GMS). Engineered to communicate over an IP network, the PACOM GMS allows for full integration of access control, alarm monitoring, video surveillance and many other security functions. 3xLOGIC’s Visix Facial Recognition camera is making its European debut at IFSEC 2019. This special purpose, low cost, dual lens 2MP device is designed for instant face detection, and the identification and notification of persons of interest. Using camera-based analytics and 3xLOGIC’s exclusive facial recognition software and mobile app, users can review images and choose which individuals to place on a watch list. Unison security management Furthermore, 3xLOGIC’s Facial Recognition camera has recently been integrated into PACOM’s Unison security management platform. An open security solution designed specifically for campus-based organisations, Unison is the solution of choice for organisations within vertical sectors such as healthcare, universities, commercial buildings, public facilities, municipalities, airports, shipping ports and data centres. The combination of Facial Recognition capabilities with Unison improves operational efficiency by quickly and accurately identifying persons of interest, and streamlining processes to use this information to meet the organisation’s security and marketing goals. TRENDS empowers the user to interpret vast amounts of disparate data more effectively and efficiently than ever before For those looking to optimise organisational efficiency, 3xLOGIC’s TRENDS cloud-based business intelligence tool incorporates exception-based reporting, video data and third-party applications into an easy to use dashboard that provides a simple visual snapshot of business operations. TRENDS empowers the user to interpret vast amounts of disparate data more effectively and efficiently than ever before, offering unrivalled levels of visibility to quickly spot issues and liabilities that can seriously impact a company’s bottom line. Bluetooth-based card reader Last, but certainly not least, visitors will have the chance to get hands on with the new PAC GDX Bluetooth-based card reader technology, which has been specifically designed to meet the requirements of companies of all sizes that want the most secure access control solution possible. Experts from the company will be available for product demonstrations and to discuss a new online training programme that has been developed to enable installers and end users to get the very best out of their PAC GDX solution. “It has been a tremendously exciting year, and we are looking forward to discussing our activities with those attending IFSEC,” commented Matt Kushner, Global President, Stanley Products and Solutions. “With a combined legacy 
of over 100 years in the security industry, 3xLOGIC, PAC GDX and PACOM lead the way in the design and manufacture of video surveillance, access control, and business intelligence solutions. By visiting Stand IF2930 and talking to our experts, visitors have a fantastic opportunity to find out how our technology can enhance security provision in a diverse range of built environments and how we can help them achieve their operational and security objectives.”

3xLOGIC, Inc. expands North American sales network with new hires
3xLOGIC, Inc. expands North American sales network with new hires

3xLOGIC, Inc., global provider of integrated, intelligent security solutions, and a three-time Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winner, announced that the company has added to its growing North American sales network, along with other personnel moves at its umbrella company, Stanley Products and Solutions (SPS). The company added two new RSMs to further penetrate key markets in the Pacific NW as well as the Mid-Atlantic regions and appointed a new Marketing Manager for the PACOM brand of products. 3xLOGIC adds security expert  3xLOGIC welcomes Joel Dombovy as a Regional Sales Manager (RSM) in the Northwest 3xLOGIC welcomes Joel Dombovy as a Regional Sales Manager (RSM) in the Northwest. Joel comes to the company with 14 years of security industry experience, working with companies such as Interlogix, GE Security, and Honeywell. John Saxen will support Joel as the Inside Sales Account Manager for the region. Jake Franklin takes over as RSM for the Mid-Atlantic. He joins the company from RF Technologies, a safety solutions company in healthcare where he was RSM for the Northeast. Prior to that, he worked as Critical Infrastructure Account Manager & Sales Representative at a security integration company. Jake’s passion for technology and previous security experience make him an excellent addition to 3xLOGIC’s powerful sales team. Bill Hobbs, Global VP of Sales for SPS, announced that both Joel and Jake will report to Jason Bryan, Director of Sales. PACOM expands marketing team Jennifer Joyce is the new Marketing Manager for PACOM, sister company of 3xLOGIC, as the company continues to expand efforts in the North American to market the wide range of PACOM solutions that have found success all over the world. She brings more than 25 years of marketing and design experience to the team. Her global marketing experience began with Firestone Industrial Products and Jennifer most recently spent her time in digital marketing as Marketing Director for Orbis Education. She will report to Suzi Abell, Senior Director of Global Marketing, SPS. Gavin O’Keeffe has been promoted to Director of Product Management Elsewhere in the larger SPS organisation Charlie Erickson has a new title reflecting his growing responsibilities—Chief Technology Officer. He continues to oversee Product Management as his team continues to expand. Reporting directly to Charlie, Michael Poe has been promoted to Director of Product Management. He will be leading the Video, Blue, DIY, and TRENDS products lines. Rick Walker will be aligned under Poe’s leadership.  New PAC, PACOM, infinias head Also reporting to Charlie, Gavin O’Keeffe has been promoted to Director of Product Management, and he will be leading the PAC, PACOM, infinias, and Sonitrol product teams. We also welcome Darren Monroe, Product Manager for infinias to Gavin’s team. Darren will work in the 3xLOGIC office in Indianapolis and Gavin works out of the PACOM Australia office. Drew Alexander continues as Sr. Director of Program Management, and he will continue to add Program Managers to his team to facilitate a growing list of product launches and business initiatives.

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