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The security marketplace is talking about a lot of different subjects. Our website’s Expert Panel Roundtable discussions in 2018 reflected some of the “hot topics” in the industry. The very most-clicked-on Expert Panel Roundtable discussion in 2018 was about privacy issues and GDPR’s impact on physical security systems. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of roundtable discussions included obstacles to adoption of mobile credentials, what’s new “on the edge,” and the value of physical security data. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2018, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2018 (including the quotable panelists named and linked below). 1. How do privacy issues and GDPR impact physical security systems? "GDPR specifically restricts the capture and use of EU residents’ personal data and is in direct conflict with the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to track individual activities. The challenge for manufacturers will be to design solutions capable of capturing valuable information for security or business intelligence purposes while simultaneously anonymising retained data.” - Peter Strom, March Networks 2. What are the security challenges of the hospitality market? "The primary challenge the hospitality industry faces is the fine balance between the delivery of exceptional customer service and maintaining a safe and secure environment. The industry sees a range of threats, including theft, terrorism and natural disasters, and more modern risks, such as those related to cybersecurity, liability and compliance." - Jumbi Edulbehram, Oncam 3. Where is it inappropriate to install video cameras? "The most obvious examples would be in bathrooms or bedrooms, but the more interesting cases are those that are not so obvious – such as religious institutions like a church or a mosque. An increase in the boldness of would-be thieves has led to a recent rise in surveillance outside of houses of worship." - Stuart Rawling, Pelco by Schneider Electric 4. What technology will impact security most in the rest of 2018? "The hottest trend we are currently seeing in 2018 is the continued adoption of intelligent devices and automation into the security framework. We have embraced a model where our software and hardware components continually get smarter and easier for security and IT teams to manage and deploy." - Stuart Tucker, AMAG Technology 5. What are the obstacles to adoption of mobile credentials for access control? "Mobile credentials have been slow to take off because legacy readers traditionally did not have Bluetooth or NFC capacity. However, upgrade kits will soon be available from some access control vendors, and customers will be able to easily upgrade their readers." - Derek Arcuri, Genetec 6. What’s new “on the edge” of security and video surveillance systems? "As more powerful in-camera chipsets are developed, edge devices are capable of even more powerful analytics that can inform operators in real-time of events requiring attention. Part of this significant evolution is from a form of artificial intelligence (AI) called deep learning." - Paul Kong, Hanwha Techwin America 7. Are integrators and end users overwhelmed by too many choices? "Being proactive in tracking new developments and networking with like-minded professionals are critical. Find out what your colleagues are using or testing, and get their feedback on what is working well, especially if their organisation is similar to yours. Join local groups, attend industry conferences, and connect on social media to compare notes on emerging technologies." - Brandon Reich, Pivot3 8. What role does social media play in promoting security? "Social media can help us reduce false police dispatches by drawing in a personal circle of people that can validate an alarm, whether it be a neighbour looking out their window to see what’s going on, or a family member that knows your travel plans and is taking care of your house." - Wayne Jared, 3xLOGIC 9. How should your security company measure total cost of ownership (TCO)? “When looking at TCO you need to consider the obvious initial capital cost – compared to alternatives – and also the operational costs across the lifespan of the systems, across one, three and five years. On top of this, though, security can add additional value through integration.” - John Davies, TDSi 10. What is the value of physical security data? "While active protection is the primary job of a security system, the data generated by today’s networked solutions can provide a wealth of intelligence to help organisations optimise both their security strategies and their business operations.” - Mark Perkins, Boon Edam
In the wake of 9/11, the Federal Government’s secure-the-fort, big idea was to create an identity credential for all federal employees and contractors. Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 set it all in motion. Today, we know the smartcard-based credential that arose from HSPD-12 as the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card. The PIV card is meant to give employees/contractors physical access to federal facilities and logical access to federal information systems. While using a PIV card for logical access has been largely successful and compliant with HSPD-12, implementing PIV-based, physical access control systems (PACS) has been much more difficult to conquer. As a result, HSPD-12 compliance for PACS has largely eluded the Federal Government. The noncompliance reasons are many, but there is now hope for fully achieving HSPD-12’s mandates. Interoperability with any agency’s PIV Beyond Passports, PIV cards represent the only other open-standards-based, multi-vendor-supported, identity credential program on the planetAll Executive Branch employees and long-term contractors, including the entire Department of Defense, have been issued PIV cards. This has been true since 2013. Beyond Passports, PIV cards represent the only other open-standards-based, multi-vendor-supported, identity credential program on the planet. It seems so simple, where employees/contractors previously used their proximity card to open a federal facility door or go through a turnstile, they should now be able to use their PIV card. However, HSPD-12 took the PIV requirement one step further – compliant PACS must be interoperable with any agency’s PIV. This introduced an entire magnitude of additional complexity. A compliant, interoperable, PIV-based PACS should work like this: an authorised employee (or contractor) presents a PIV card (contact or contactless) to a card reader to enter whichever federal agency building they have reason to be. Over the last 14 years, in all but a very few cases, the lack of PACS’ HSPD-12 compliance has prevented this from happening. Secure credential policy Today, less than 1% of the Federal Government’s PACS are HSPD-12-compliant. At most federal facilities, especially those outside the National Capitol Region, a noncompliant PACS works like this: an authorised employee (or contractor) presents a proximity (‘prox’) badge to a proximity card reader to enter his or her agency’s facility. At the fraction of federal facilities with upgraded PACS that work with PIV cards, virtually all such PACS fail to properly use a minimum number of PIV security features before granting access – let alone interoperate with a PIV card from any other agency. Active government solicitations are issued for new, non-compliant, proximity-based systems that perpetuate the delay to HSPD-12 complianceNew federal initiatives frequently suffer from having no policy to enforce their roll-out. That isn’t the case with PACS compliance. Policies have been in place for so long that newer policies like Office of Management and Budget (OMB) M-11-11 (February 3, 2011) remind everyone what the policies said in 2004 and 2006. This year, OMB publicised its proposed OMB M-18-XX (Draft), which will replace M-11-11. OMB M-18-XX’s (Draft) main PACS thrust is, once again, to ensure that everyone understands what the Federal Government’s secure credential policy is. It hasn’t changed since 2004. It would be tempting to say that PACS technology isn’t mature, but that isn’t the case. In 2013, the Federal Government revamped the PACS portion of the FIPS 201 Evaluation Program and, since that time, all PACS on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Approved Products List are 100% compliant and interoperable. Yet, on any given day, active government solicitations are issued for new, non-compliant, proximity-based systems that perpetuate the delay to HSPD-12 compliance. The usual suspects, policy and technology, are not the culprits for this epic delay. An authorised employee presents a PIV card to a card reader to enter whichever federal agency building they have reason to be Difficulties in adopting HPSP-12 compliance for PACS Standards – The Federal Government’s approach to standards is to avoid a great deal of specificity. It’s an unspoken tenet that federal standards must be flexible, promote innovation and avoid disadvantaging any participating market segment. The opposite is true if your goal is interoperability: nearly every detail must be specified. Consider the standards-based success story of chip-based credit cards. When was the last time you used a credit card and it didn’t work? Interoperability failures are nearly unheard of. If you look at the hundreds of volumes of technical specifications that cover minute aspects of every component in credit cards and payment terminals, you quickly realise why it works so well. Nothing is left to chance, nothing is a variable, and there is no optionality. The Good News: Work to increase viability through deep scrutiny has progressed in recent years. The GSA APL PACS Testing Lab, set up in 2013, annually tests credentials from all PIV issuers against all GSA-approved PACS. This testing has significantly reduced interoperability failures at federal facilities. Collaboration – In the past, physical access practitioners from federal agencies rarely collaborated, unlike their logical access counterparts. This is also true for PACS procurement decision-makers across agencies and facilities. The Good News: In 2018, an agency trend has emerged where finally physical access, physical security and IT practitioners have begun sitting down to discuss their shared responsibilities. We have already begun to see coordinated budget requests between IT and Security with enterprise architectures positioning PACS as an enterprise service on the network. Scale – The Federal Government owns so many buildings that they can’t be counted. Google doesn’t know how many there are and neither does any one government official. Variability – A significant percentage of facilities have unique aspects making a one-size-fits-all approach infeasible. The Good News: Mature consulting services can now help agencies marry federal requirements with their unique environments to develop robust PACS enterprise architectures. As we see this occurring more and more frequently, a repeatable, achievable, systems-based upgrade of all PACS may be on the horizon. The GSA APL PACS Testing Lab annually tests credentials from all PIV issuers against all GSA-approved PACS Provenance – In many cases, different groups own different parts of a single facility, not all of whom might be subject to, or wish to interoperate with, a high-assurance compliant PACS. For example, GSA manages facilities for Legislative and Judicial tenants who aren’t subject to HSPD-12. Policy dictates that GSA manage the PACS for the front doors of these facilities should be HSPD-12-compliant, despite the fact that these tenants likely don’t have credentials that work with this technology. Sure, these tenants could commercially obtain a PIV-I credential, but almost none have. Economics – It’s difficult for agencies to create their annual security budget requests when HPSD-12 PACS upgrades are in scope, because so many unknowns exist at each facility. To assess the cost, the time to complete, and the facility’s existing equipment inventory, it would be logical for an agency to hire a contractor with PACS expertise to perform a site assessment. Having to do capital planning for an assessment phase in advance of making the annual budget request for the PACS upgrade creates a never-ending cycle of delay. Especially at agencies with multi-year capital planning requirements. Many agencies, trying to avoid this delay cycle, have fallen prey to doing site assessments themselves. This results in their integrators doing their walk-throughs after the contract is awarded. This is the leading cause of PACS upgrade cost overruns. Dependence on the agency’s IT department – Historically, PACS have been deployed on dedicated networks and are rarely ever connected to the enterprise, let alone the Internet. High-assurance PACS that validate credentials from other agencies must now communicate with many different systems on an enterprise network and over the Internet – so much so that the Federal Government reclassified PACS as IT systems. The Good News: With collaboration increasing between Physical Security Officers (PSOs) and Chief Information Officer (CIOs), we expect this to improve in due course. Resistance to change – This is a classic human factors challenge, and it’s a big one. PSOs have spent decades achieving their positions. PIV-based PACS could not be more different from the technologies that proceeded it, and such radical change is often resisted. When the value proposition is clear, change is adopted more readily. But security value isn’t easily measured or observed. It is often said that the best performance review for a PSO is to note that nothing happened. And when something does happen, it is necessarily kept quiet so the risk can be remediated without calling attention to the vulnerability in the interim. To date, the value proposition of moving to PIV-based PACS has been entirely based on policy (without corresponding funding in most cases) and through the shock value of white hat hackers, showing how easily most proximity badges can be cloned. This is not the stuff of change agents. PIV-based PACS could not be more different from the technologies that proceeded it, and such radical change is often resisted Are these challenges a unique situation? No, these PACS challenges are not unique. Cybersecurity initially faced many of the same challenges that federal PACS face today. By 2000, the Federal Government recognised its urgent need to improve cybersecurity practices across its computing infrastructure and issued many policies that required agencies to improve. Improvement was sparse and inconsistent. GSA Schedules were set up to help agencies buy approved products and services to assist them, but this too produced lacklustre results. The Federal Government found that the best cybersecurity results occurred when enforced at the time an agency commissioned a system Congress enacted the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) (now amended by the Federal Information Security Modernization Action of 2014). FISMA mandates an Authority To Operate (ATO) accreditation process for all information systems. The Federal Government found that the best cybersecurity results occurred when enforced at the time an agency commissioned (vs. purchased) a system. FISMA and ATO accreditation has been highly successful when implementing new systems. These cybersecurity requirements are the closest thing that the Federal Government has to the ‘PIV Police’ today. However, the PIV requirements in FISMA and ATOs currently apply to only logical access for information systems. The proposed OMB M-18-XX (Draft) mentions that a FISMA PACS overlay to NIST SP 800-53 is forthcoming. The intent of the PACS overlay is to use the army of ATO accrediting officials in the Federal Government and enable them to assess implemented PACS as fit for purpose. This is the first time an enforcement approach has been brought forward that could reasonably succeed. How long for HSPD-12 compliance? We know that it won’t take another 14 years to achieve HSPD-12 compliance. Pockets of compliance are popping up. Compliant procurements do exist, and the state of PACS across the Federal Government is better in 2018 than in any previous year. Progress to date has been at a constant rate. The question is: what would take for progress to occur at an exponential rate instead? A major attack or compromise involving PACS would certainly hasten upgrades, but let’s hope that’s not the solution. The energy distribution sector has been riding a wave of security upgrade demands to retrofit their facilities across the U.S. The energy distribution sector, under nearly constant Advanced Persistent Threat attacks, has been riding a wave of security upgrade demands to retrofit their facilities across the U.S. The potential threat exists for Federal Government facilities as well. Looking into the federal PACS-compliance crystal ball, we’re beginning to see the faint outline of a multi-faceted campaign of education, budgetary oversight and accreditation of PACS that will ultimately see us past the tipping point. Consider though, at the current rate of PACS enablement, a 50% compliance rate is still far in the future. When that day arrives, the PIV card form factor may no longer be the key that fits that future lock. (Are you already using a mobile device’s Bluetooth interface to open the door to your office building?) Taking decades to perform a technology upgrade is the aging elephant in the room no one talks about. By the time critical mass is achieved with an upgrade facing these many challenges, there are typically compelling reasons to start over again with the next generation of technology. That cycle may well prove to be the Federal Government’s biggest PACS challenge of all.
There’s only so much a corporation can do to counteract the threat of a major incident. You can ask everyone to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious, but you cannot stop someone intent on deliberately starting a fire, threatening a work colleague with a knife or something much worse. And of course, most businesses recognise that even routine events – such as burst pipes, IT system failures, extreme weather event or power outages – can have significant consequences unless they are quickly brought under control. Training security officers Governments and organisations across the world are increasingly encouraging businesses to re-assess risks and to plan for and conduct drills for major emergencies. This is driving different agencies and companies to invest in new skills, resources and systems, and encouraging businesses to routinely re-evaluate their emergency response strategies. UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents For example: UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents, as part of the UK government’s Action Counter Terrorism programme. And organisations including the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) and Higher Education Business Continuity Network (HEBCoN) are developing customised training for their members to improve their own response and business continuity plans. Mass notifications systems Whether an organisation is facing a terrorist attack or a severe weather event, follow up reports consistently identify that the same types of challenges are common to all crisis situations, with similar errors often occurring again and again. Typically, these are centred on three key areas: poor communications, fractured command and control structures, and delayed deployment of resources. Communications skills and technologies clearly play a pivotal role in how effective an organisation is in responding to major incidents, particularly when it comes to assessing the situation and its implications, moving people towards safety and providing updates as an incident unfolds. However, when an organisation is considering its technology options, emergency response and mass notification systems (MNS) are often touted as the ideal platform to deliver all the required critical communications and ongoing updates. UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents Emergency notification system All the incident reporting, command and control, and communications functions have been brought together on a single platform But, if an organisation does not know exactly where all its staff or students are, and it cannot see the location and availability of its first responders and other emergency coordinators relative to them and the incident, then how useful is it to send a top-down alert to everyone? And what about fast moving or multi-centre incidents, where previously agreed evacuation procedures, recommended actions or mustering points may need to change if an incident takes an unexpected turn? Many organisations may have been lulled into believing that an emergency notification system will allow them to confidently handle all the communications aspects of virtually any crisis. In reality, too many businesses are still unaware that there are now much more sophisticated and proven technologies where all the incident reporting, command and control, and communications functions have been brought together on a single platform. Using live map tracking The benefit of using these advanced and more integrated approaches – often categorised as mobile distributed command and control systems – is that they enable faster and better decision making in a crisis using real-time feedback and two-way dialogue with those closest to the emergency. And they avoid the risks of any potential delays, miscommunications or mistakes that can happen when an organisation is under pressure to respond and often switching between multiple systems. Leading universities and multi-national corporations are already using new mobile/web-enabled platforms to improve their incident response These next generation emergency management platforms have been specifically designed to enable real-time mapping of an organisation’s security assets and its users on a single screen and to fully integrate it with a highly targeted geo-fenced notification capability. The mass notification aspect of the system can then be used to advise specific groups on the best actions to take at their location as an incident develops. The use of live map tracking enables real time mapping of an organisation's security assets Segmented messaging Many leading universities and multi-national corporations are already using these new mobile/web-enabled platforms to plan, manage and improve their incident response, leading to 50% faster reactions and more positive outcomes.During a crisis, users can receive push notifications so the security centre can immediately see their exact location and advise them accordingly The systems have been widely adopted within the higher-education sector, but they are equally applicable to any large company with multiple international sites or those situated in research or corporate campuses where the bulk of assets and people are based in one or more key locations. Typically, systems provide users with a smartphone app that they can use to call for immediate emergency or first aid support when at work, or to report something suspicious which could prevent an apparently minor incident from escalating into a full-scale emergency. During a crisis, users can receive push notifications, SMS and E-mails asking them to open the app if they are not already logged in, so the security centre can immediately see their exact location and advise them accordingly. Supporting dispersed mustering Now that communications can be more nimble, responsive and flexible this can support the increasing numbers of planners are recognising the advantages of dispersed mustering. This is a strategy that has been developed to reduce the risk of secondary attacks on unprotected people complying with instructions to evacuate from premises and gather in what are, effectively, exposed locations. It is now acknowledged that evacuees waiting outside for any length of time are more vulnerable to targeted attacks or to injury, from flying glass for example. With dispersed mustering – a strategy made more effective by these new mobile distributed command and control systems - a building’s occupants can be advised not to go outside, but to move to known safe internal locations. People in each specific area can then be kept regularly updated. Many corporations are now using new mobile/web-enabled platforms to improve their incident response Coordination between response agencies The software platforms can be integrated with an organisation’s fixed security infrastructure to take real-time sharing of information First responders are permanently logged in, so the emergency operations centre can see their exact locations in real-time and can advise what actions to take in mustering people or in setting up and protecting security cordons. Bringing everything together on one platform, with real-time feedback and in a fully integrated system also removes what is often seen as the weakest communication link in managing any major incident: the need to rely on conventional two-way radio as the sole means of communication between the command and control centre and its first responders and other team members on the ground. The software platforms can be integrated with an organisation’s fixed security infrastructure to take real-time sharing of information to a new level for improved collaboration, coordination and communications between users, the incident management team and external agencies. Improving emergency response strategies One of the most powerful features of some of these new systems is the ability to record and view all alerts, responses and the detailed conversations between first responders, emergency coordinators and other parties. This allows the systems to be used to simulate major incidents involving inputs from the emergency services and other key agencies and to ensure the organisation’s crisis management plans have been fully tested against a range of possible incident scenarios.
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