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Unifying the mobile experience: cloud, IoT and the AI evolution of access control in 2019
Unifying the mobile experience: cloud, IoT and the AI evolution of access control in 2019

The industry faces numerous challenges in the coming year. Physical and cyber security threats continue to become more complex, and organisations are struggling to manage both physical and digital credentials as well as a rapidly growing number of connected endpoints in the Internet of Things (IoT). We are witnessing the collision of the enterprise with the IoT, and organisations now must establish trust and validate the identity of people as well as ‘things’ in an environment of increasingly stringent safety and data privacy regulations. Meanwhile, demand grows for smarter and more data-driven workplaces, a risk-based approach to threat protection, improved productivity and seamless, more convenient access to the enterprise and its physical and digital assets and services. Using smartphone apps to open doors Cloud technologies give people access through their mobile phones and other devices to many new, high-value experiencesEnterprise customers increasingly want to create trusted environments within which they can deliver valuable new user experiences. A major driver is growing demand for the ‘digital cohesion’ of being able to use smartphone apps to open doors, authenticate to enterprise data resources or access a building’s applications and services. Cloud technologies are a key piece of the solution. They give people access through their mobile phones and other devices to many new, high-value experiences. At the same time, they help fuel smarter, more data-driven workplace environments. With the arrival of today’s identity- and location-aware building systems that recognise people and use deep learning analytics to customise their office environment, the workplace is undergoing dramatic change. Improved fingerprint solutions Cloud-based platforms and application programming interfaces (APIs) will help bridge biometrics and access control in the enterprise, overcoming previous integration hurdles while providing a trusted platform that meets the concerns of accessibility and data protection in a connected environment. At the same time, the next generation of fingerprint solutions will deliver higher matching speed, better image capture quality and improved performance. The next generation of fingerprint solutions will deliver higher matching speed, better image capture quality and improved performance Liveness detection will ensure that captured data is from a living person. Biometrics authentication will also gain traction beyond access control in immigration and border control, law enforcement, military, defence and other public section use cases where higher security is needed. Flexible subscription models Access control solutions based on cloud platforms will also change how solutions are deployed. Siloed security and workplace optimisation solutions will be replaced with mobile apps that can be downloaded anywhere across a global ecosystem of millions of compatible and connected physical access control system endpoints. These connections will also facilitate new, more flexible subscription models for access control services. As an example, users will be able to more easily replenish mobile IDs if their smartphones are lost or must be replaced. Generating valuable insights with machine learning Machine learning analytics will be used to generate valuable insights from today’s access control solutionsEducation, finance, healthcare, enterprise, and other niche markets such as commercial real-estate and enterprises focussed on co-working spaces will benefit from a cloud-connected access control hardware foundation. There will be a faster path from design to deployment since developers will no longer have to create an entire vertically integrated solution. They will simply add an app experience to the existing access control infrastructure. New players will be drawn to the market resulting in a richer, more vibrant development community and accelerated innovation. Data analytics will be a rapidly growing area of interest. Machine learning analytics will be used to generate valuable insights from today’s access control solutions. Devices, access control systems, IoT applications, digital certificates and location services solutions, which are all connected to the cloud, will collectively deliver robust data with which to apply advanced analytics and risk-based intelligence. As organisations incorporate this type of analytics engine into their access control systems, they will improve security and personalise the user experience while driving better business decisions. 

Debunking the myths of the security of access control systems
Debunking the myths of the security of access control systems

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 oil and gas market: how technology is powering safety, compliance, and efficiency
The oil and gas market: how technology is powering safety, compliance, and efficiency

The oil and gas market is driven by a number of technology trends, political issues, waves of supply and demand, and regulations. At times, it seems like the market is in a constant state of ebb and flow, with business affected by traditional drivers, such as government mandates and operational efficiencies, and other non-traditional markers, like challenging weather conditions (consider the 2017 hurricane season as an example). Additionally, the global economy continues to grow, propelling increased energy demand. But like nearly every other market today, the oil and gas market is on the brink of a sea change. According to Deloitte’s 2018 outlook on oil and gas, “the digital revolution is here.” The sheer volume of information and data generated by digital devices, such as those associated with the Internet of Things, will allow producers to leverage rich data and combine it to deliver smart, efficient solutions. The rise of digital technologies is unleashing new ideas across the oil and gas industry and even though we are in the beginning stage of being able to harness the power of these types of technologies, innovative ideas are emerging — all designed to support the core business, reduce internal investments, deliver products faster, boost efficiencies, and enhance safety. Maximised operations and increased ROI This ongoing growth propels energy producers to embark on extensive exploration and production activities to meet increased demand This is welcome news because there are a number of challenges facing the oil and gas industry, from improving reserve replacement and ensuring workplace safety to reducing operating costs and limiting downtime. All of these objectives must be achieved while maximising operations and increasing overall return on investment. Never has it been more crucial for critical infrastructure organisations to demonstrate a focus on safety, security, and collaboration. Here's why: Growth and demand According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, world energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. This ongoing growth propels energy producers to embark on extensive exploration and production activities to meet increased demand. As energy-centric organisations look to emerging markets or remote regions to source production, safety becomes even more mission-critical to their success. Compliance Continuous demand is only one challenge; compliance with industry and government regulations is another significant hurdle that must be maintained or there is risk of production shutdowns. For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) impose comprehensive federal regulations for high-risk chemical facilities, requiring organisations to conduct vulnerability assessments. This is just one of many regulatory procedures sites must follow to conform to environmental protections, safety precautions, and safe handling of hazardous materials. As energy-centric organisations look to emerging markets or remote regions to source production, safety becomes even more mission-critical to their success Threat protection, mitigation, and collaboration In addition to meeting the requirements of regulatory procedures, mitigating risk in this industry propels leaders to develop stringent strategies to ensure robust protection of people, property, and assets, effective and efficient response to incidents when they occur, and procedures and protocols to ensure business continuity in emergency situations. Energy providers require comprehensive safety planning and technology systems that can augment the capabilities of on-site and remote personnel. In recent years, video solutions have become the standard for monitoring facilities, assets, and employees, and now these organisations require enterprise-class solutions that can help gather intelligent data that allows for enhanced security and safety efforts but also focus on processes that enhance operational efficiencies. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more complex and sophisticated in the oil and gas market IT security is also a concern. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly more complex and sophisticated in the oil and gas market. An IT breach can cause operational havoc, risk to the public, and damage to an organisation’s brand. Adopting a continuous improvement approach to a security strategy safeguards and helps protect valuable company information and reduces the likelihood of an incident. Also, collaboration between IT and physical security leaders and the correlation of both departments' data makes it much easier to identify a potential breach before havoc ensues. The digital age With the rise of the digital revolution and the demand for data to improve insight, oil and gas producers and businesses need to find new ways to capture data, correlate it as needed, and then leverage it to make the most informed decisions. Software platforms are being used in a wide variety of applications to provide a single pane-of-glass view that allows operators to gain critical insight into operations. By collecting intelligence from digital sensors, such as video surveillance cameras, open-source Web intelligence, building systems, crowdsourcing, weather sensors, mobile devices, and more, operators can detect potential risks and manage and respond to situations more efficiently. Furthermore, information can be shared easily with multiple agencies, employees, citizens, and first responders — especially valuable in the event of a safety incident where rapid response is paramount. By creating a single enterprise-wide view across disparate systems and technologies, organisations experience improved response times, lowered operational costs, and increased employee safety. Cyber, traditional security, digital devices, and situational awareness technologies combine to deliver an integrated, automated, and adaptive architecture to efficiently mitigate advanced threats in real time or forensically Traditional command centers Intelligent solutions, such as those derived from the idea of artificial intelligence, help organisations make sense of vast amounts of data. These integrated applications, such as advanced video analytics and facial recognition, can automatically pinpoint potential breaches and significant events, and send alerts to the appropriate personnel, departments, and agencies. These solutions can be powerful in unifying disparate command center technologies within the oil and gas industry, fusing critical data input from emergency calls and responder activity to enhance situational awareness. With traditional command centers relying mostly on call and radio updates, visibility can be limited, but new digital platforms enable operators to oversee a situation and engage with and direct the response force. Overall, these types of automated functions deliver a simplified and modernised operating environment. The future is the Intelligent SOC Oil and gas facilities can implement a proactive approach to safety and better mitigate threats and protect assets All of these digital solutions are designed to take center stage within the Intelligent Security Operations Center (ISOC). To combat advanced, multi-stage threats, oil and gas facilities are transforming the traditional SOC into the next-generation unified ISOC with an integrated platform for detection, investigation, communication, and response. Cyber, traditional security, digital devices, and situational awareness technologies combine to deliver an integrated, automated, and adaptive architecture to efficiently mitigate advanced threats in real time or forensically. Energy providers operate in challenging, fast-moving environments in which opportunities, requirements, and regulations can vary widely, change quickly, and evolve significantly over time. As the idea of the digital age continues to transform this market, new technologies will be more widely used to improve business operations from exploration and extraction to transportation and distribution. With the right technology, strategic partnerships, and enhanced situational awareness, oil and gas facilities can implement a proactive approach to safety and better mitigate threats and protect assets, while continuing to focus on achieving business goals that will sustain supply and demand for years to come.