HID Global unveils turnkey ActivID Appliance solution for strong and versatile authentication
HID Global unveils turnkey ActivID Appliance solution for strong and versatile authentication

HID Global, a worldwide leader in secure identity solutions, today announced its new ActivID Appliance solution for strong authentication. Enabling organisations to protect corporate data against unauthorised access, ActivID Appliance is an essential component to ensure enterprise data security across numerous industries including banking, government and healthcare. Targeted at medium to large organisations, the versatile appliance is interoperable with the widest range of authentication methods to ensure an organisation’s employees, consultants, partners, and customers have secure and appropriate access to corporate data and online applications.   ActivID Appliance, formerly 4TRESS Authentication Appliance, is a full SAML v2 compliant identity provider, available as both a hardware appliance and a virtual appliance. Providing comprehensive multi-layered and versatile strong authentication, including ActivID Threat Detection Service, it gives enterprises the ability to secure a mobile workforce, enabling the use of personal and corporate mobile phones for two factor authentication. “HID Global works closely with customers in every industry, from banking and government to healthcare and the enterprise, and their feedback is consistent across the board – they need a reliable and secure way to validate user identity that does not add unnecessary complexity to their existing environments,” said Yves Massard, director of product line management, Identity Assurance with HID Global. “We developed the ActivID Appliance based on this input to improve the ease of deployment and management, while ensuring the highest level of security for end-users accessing data over the public Internet using all types of devices.” New ActivID Appliance Features: Simpler and improved high-availability with automatic recovery after network failure Customisable and customisable self-service portal allows users to establish and maintain their own credentials or tokens without IT admin support Control over which soft token platform is used in a particular environment (e.g. a user can decide to enable iOS, Windows and Blackberry but disable           usage from Android and J2ME phones) Version control for any and all soft tokens, providing customers with additional options for risk mitigation Multiple security domains, allowing segregated management of different groups (e.g. employees and customers) SNMP v3 monitoring Premium hardware support option with advance replacement and on-site warranty replacement Availability HID Global’s ActivID Appliance is available immediately through channel partners. Click here for more information: http://www.hidglobal.com/products/software/identity-assurance/activid-appliance

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Traka Touch key cabinet with standalone ‘plug & play’ system
Traka Touch key cabinet with standalone ‘plug & play’ system

Traka Touch is the newest addition to our range of integrated Key Management solutions, and it’s probably the most exciting development we’ve made in years - incorporating a 7" touch sensitive screen and using the latest embedded-processing technology available in the market today. Put simply, when it comes to key management Traka Touch makes your life easier. It gives you an intelligent ‘out of the box’ Key Management solution which operates entirely independently of your IT systems. Everything is managed via the touch screen on the front panel, from the initial administrative set up of users and keys, right through to the day to day user access.  What is Traka Touch? Traka Touch is a sophisticated Key Management system which has the intelligence built in. And because it’s a standalone solution, there’s no need for a connection to your IT network and no server requirement to manage the database. Everything you need is embedded in the unit, so all you have to do is plug it in. Full audit capability of all key transactions is retained within the system using internal solid state memory and memory card. Customer comment: “With Traka Touch we have been able to quickly and easily improve our Key Management at store level. We are planning to install a system at every one of our stores throughout the UK. It’s a brilliantly simple but effective solution which makes efficient key management incredibly straightforward for both staff and managers. What’s more, because it’s stand alone, it is easy to deploy locally without having to involve staff from the corporate IT team or head office” Traka Touch at a glance Traka Touch makes keys readily available, but to authorised users only. Gives you control over who can use your keys, with access levels designated for each particular user. Each user must identify themselves at the cabinet using either a PIN code or a magnetic swipe card, or by using biometric fingerprint recognition. To remove any ambiguity, LEDs indicate which keys a user can and can’t take when they access the cabinet. Searching for an ‘out of system’ key is easy and Traka will also indicate who took it and when. Reporting functions enable transaction reports to be displayed on the screen – for example so that you can quickly see who took a key and when it was returned. Great if you need to know who accessed the store room out of hours last Friday, or who was driving the white Transit two weeks ago! For printed reports, simply plug a USB memory stick into the unit and reports can be automatically exported ready for use on a PC. With its touch screen technology and embedded processing, Traka Touch gives you all the Key Management capability that you require, but without the need for any complex integration with your IT systems. Traka Touch is the newest addition to its range of integrated Key Management solutions, and it’s probably the most exciting development Traka made in years - incorporating a 7" touch sensitive screen and using the latest embedded-processing technology available in the market today.

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ASSA ABLOY Aperio®: Increase your data centre security with cost-effective access
ASSA ABLOY Aperio®: Increase your data centre security with cost-effective access

Who is accessing your company’s most sensitive data? Where? When? And if someone without authorisation did, how would you know? Some of the world’s best-known companies have succumbed to data breaches that proved expensive in terms of both cost and reputation. The focus is usually on a digital attack. Passwords and anti-hacking procedures come under scrutiny, particularly in a world where so much of our information lives in the cloud. However, there is another way that company data can fall into unauthorised hands: someone could walk right up to your server and access it physically, with equally disruptive results. Shared data centres The risks increase when companies use shared data centres, or ”colocation”, which has become an increasingly popular option. According to 451 Research KnowledgeBase, the global colocation market could grow from $23 billion in 2014 to $37 billion by 2017. All our “big data” has to go somewhere and shared data centres provide a cost-effective solution, even for information of the most sensitive kind. Of course, data centres have stringent security procedures, but is it wise to fully entrust your valuable data -sensitive customer information- to a third party? Can you be certain that a third party’s security procedures meet your legal compliance commitments, to the European Data Protection Directive, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, the PCI Data Security Standard and other personal and commercial data protection regulations? Further, do you even know who you share server space with? It could be a direct competitor. Disruption of physical security and potential breach as a result may not even be deliberate or malicious. Server rooms have a steady flow of authorised traffic: cleaners, maintenance staff, repair technicians and more. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Data centre security management For these reasons, data centre security management needs to be high on any company’s agenda, as high as cyber-security. In an interview with datacenterknowledge.com, Jason Cook, CTO of BT Americas, suggested: “Physical security is still one of the easiest ways to get access to data. With all of the sophistication in current technology, what’s the point, if someone can walk in and open the door?” IBM estimates the average cost of a single data breach at $3.79 million. Fortunately, technologies that can help secure servers—even in colocation data centres—cost a lot less than that. A high-security mechanical lock might seem like a solution, but a mechanical system can be expensive to run, due to the costs of secure key management and replacement when keys go missing. Once issued, there’s no way to change a physical key’s user rights. A mechanical-key audit trail- who had access to your servers, when, for how long- will probably not be enough to conduct a proper investigation in the event of any type of breach. Even high-security perimeter doors and CCTV-powered server room security will not suffice, if your server rack has an old-fashioned mechanical lock. Server cabinet locks are the last line of defence against a physical breach, yet mechanical keys are still a common sight in data centres. This is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory, especially when that server could hold the key to your business success. KS100 Server Cabinet Lock One solution is ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio® KS100 Server Cabinet Lock. The KS100 adds real-time access control capabilities to a server cabinet, drawer or rack. It brings server racks into an existing third-party access control system, without breaking the bank. KS100 electronic locks work with smartcards using all standard RFID technologies, including iCLASS® from HID, Seos™, MIFARE® and DESFire. Installation is quick and easy, with power via a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection. Once installed, KS100 locks integrate with your access control system and communicate wirelessly through an Aperio® Communication Hub. With online integration, when any of your smart credentials is presented to the lock, access decisions are communicated from and recorded by the system wirelessly. With Aperio®, lost cabinet keys no longer compromise server security: smart credentials are simply de-authorised and a valid replacement can be quickly re-issued. The current status of any lock can be revealed with the click of a mouse. Generating detailed audit trails is straightforward, making the KS100 invaluable for incident investigation. With Aperio® server cabinet locks, businesses have the freedom to manage access to their own equipment and data, even in colocation data centres. Do you know exactly who last had access to your servers, and when? Install Aperio® and next time your data manager asks, the answer is yes. Key facts The data centre colocation market could be worth $37 billion by 2017 Companies have a legal requirement to protect sensitive customer data, under the European Data Protection Directive and other regulations Investigating any breach properly requires detailed audit trails, which mechanical keys cannot provide An Aperio® KS100 Server Cabinet Lock can integrate with an installed access control system, boosting security wirelessly and adding full audit trail capabilities to server space, even in shared data centres For more on how Aperio® can secure a data centre, see www.assaabloy.co.uk/securedata.

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Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Demand increases for specialist IT skills among security system integrators
Demand increases for specialist IT skills among security system integrators

How can security system integrators not just survive but thrive in today’s IT-led market? The key seems to be in training. As increasingly more clients look to integrate access control with IT environments, they want integrators with the specialist skills to achieve this. For integrators that don’t invest in training, the risk is being left behind. Because many security system integrators aren’t providing specialist IT support, manufacturers are now offering services to make implementations and integrations easier. This isn’t a scalable or desirable option for many manufacturers though, they don’t want to become integrators. The result? Manufacturers will be pushed into developing products that can be integrated with IT networks off the shelf. And this isn’t necessarily the best option for end user, manufacturer or integrator. With a growing number of cloud-based security solutions, integrators also face the threat of clients opting for installation-only services. How security system integrators can survive and thrive today It’s not all doom and gloom for security system integrators though. To avoid becoming redundant, or being downgraded to simple access control installers, there’s lots you can do to strengthen your position. Listen carefully Many integrators are reluctant to do this, but it’s a great way to demonstrate the depth of your experienceOne of the first ways you can distinguish yourself from your competitors is by really listening to what your clients want and need. You can then translate this into a security or access control application tailored carefully to them. Many integrators are reluctant to do this, but it’s a great way to demonstrate the depth of your experience and product knowledge. It’s far superior to carrying out a standard implementation, which can leave clients feeling they’ve not been listened to or given good value. Up your IT knowledge TCP/IP has become the standard for communication between devices and central server applications in access control and security in general. So every technician now needs to know how to connect IP devices to networks and configure them in the central application. This is only the tip of the iceberg though, there’s so much more that integrators now need to be proficient in when it comes to IT. From understanding a client’s WAN, LAN and VPN networks to back-up systems, encryption technologies, key management and transparent communication. It’s also important to know how to integrate applications at server level, whether you’re integrating two or more security systems or a HR database. Most integrators have begun to invest in one or two IT experts, but this usually isn’t enough to meet clients’ needs. To really stay ahead, it’s crucial to invest more heavily in IT training and expertise. Choose your portfolio carefully When considering your portfolio, ensure you check the background of each product’s manufacturer Ideally, your portfolio should be small but rich, which is more difficult than it sounds. Choosing products that will scale easily is complex, and you need to consider the potential for increased functionality or connectivity as well as scalability. When considering your portfolio, make sure you check the background and outlook of each product’s manufacturer. You don’t want to select items that are likely to be discontinued in the near future, which can often happen after a manufacturer is acquired, for example. Get in the cloud In the security market, the mid and low segments are already shifting to cloud-based solutions that need neither integration nor IT skills. This leaves you with opportunities for just installation and maintenance services, where profit opportunities are reduced. An alternative is to begin selling cloud-based security services yourself to help you attract and retain clients for the long-term. Give clients added commercial value As competition increases and budgets shrink, offering added value, to new and existing clients, is a vital way to differentiate your business. This will help you to not just defend against competitors but to grow your business and increase your profitability. Configuring access control reports for clients is just one example. It’s relatively straightforward to do but provides really valuable insight into visitor flow. This can then enable them to, for example, staff reception adequately and provide sufficient catering, which all improves the experience for visitors and employees. Providing this kind of consultative service, instantly pushes you up the value chain. Stay agile and well informed To survive and grow as a security system integrator today, the upshot is that it’s crucial to keep pace with the market’s ever-changing trends, technology and client needs. And, to make sure you’re ready to adapt and give clients the services they want, it’s vital to give your people the in-depth training they need.

Blending physical security with convenience is no simple task
Blending physical security with convenience is no simple task

Back in the 1960s a lead engineer working in conjunction with the United States Navy for Lockheed’s Skunk Works team coined the acronym KISS, which translated to the design principle ‘keep it simple stupid’.  The KISS principle embraces the concept of simplicity, stating that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than geared up to be more complicated. When it comes to physical security systems, this concept can also play a key element in its overall success. Secure work environments For years the tug of war in the security industry has pitted the need for a secure environment against the desire for technology that is convenient for users. However, finding a happy medium between the two has often seemed elusive. I believe you can design and have operational convenience at the same time as achieving high security" Jeff Spivey, a security consultant and the CEO of Security Risk Management, has this to say about it, “If there is an understanding of the security-related risks and their separate and/or collective impact on the organisation’s bottom line business goals, a resolution can be reached.” Jeff also does not think that convenience and high security have to be opposing each other. He says, “I believe you can design and have operational convenience at the same time as achieving high security.” Importance of secure access control The premise is that for organisations and spaces to be truly secure, they must be difficult to access. So, by its very nature, access control is designed to be restrictive, allowing only authorised staff and visitors to access a facility or other secured areas inside. This immediately puts convenience at odds with security. Most people will tolerate the restrictive nature of a controlled entrance using badge, card or biometric because they understand the need for security. When that technology gets in the way of staff traversing freely throughout the facility during the course of a business day, or hindering potential visitors or vendors from a positive experience entering the building, they become less tolerant, which often leads to negative feedback to the security staff. Enhancing corporate security Security consultants like Spivey and security directors all stress that understanding the threats and risk levels of an organisation will most likely dictate its physical security infrastructure and approach. All the technology in the world is useless if it is not embraced by those who are expected to use it and it doesn’t fit the culture of the organisation. Once employees and customers are educated about what security really is, they understand that they're not losing convenience, they're gaining freedom to move safely from point A to point B. Converged data and information shape new access options Migration of physical access control systems to a more network-centric platform is a game-changer for security technologies The migration of physical access control systems to a more network-centric platform has been a game-changer for emerging security technology options. The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), Near-Field Communication devices powered by Bluetooth technology, and the explosion of converged information systems and identity management tools that are now driving access control are making it easier than ever before for employees and visitors to apply for clearance, permissions and credentials. Wireless and proximity readers Advancements in high-performance wireless and proximity readers have enhanced the user’s access experience when presenting credentials at an entry and expediting movement throughout a facility. A user is now able to access a secured office from street-level without ever touching a key or card. Using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or triggering a facial recognition technology, they enter the building through a security revolving door or turnstile. A total building automation approach adds extra convenience, as well as seamless security, when access technology is integrated into other systems like elevator controls. A total building automation approach adds extra convenience and seamless security How to Meet Security Concerns at the Entry While security managers are charged with providing their facilities the maximum level of security possible, there is always the human element to consider. But does the effort to make people comfortable with their security system ecosystem come at a cost? Does all this convenience and the drive to deliver a positive security experience reduce an organisation’s overall levels of security? And if so, how can we continue to deliver the same positive experience including speed of entry – while improving risk mitigation and threat prevention? Door entrances, barriers Users can slip through the door or turnstile barriers while they are still open after a credentialed individual has gone through Let’s examine some of the various types of entrances being used at most facilities and the security properties of each. With some entrance types, there is the possibility for security to fall short of its intended goals in a way that can’t be addressed by access control technology alone. In particular, with many types of doors and barriers, tailgating is possible: users can slip through the door or turnstile barriers while they are still open after a credentialed individual has gone through. To address this, many organisations hire security officers to supervise the entry. While this can help to reduce tailgating, it has been demonstrated that officers are not immune to social engineering and can often be “talked into” letting an unauthorised person into a facility. Deploying video cameras, sensors Some organisations have deployed video surveillance cameras or sensors to help identify tailgaters after the fact or a door left open for longer than rules allow. This approach is not uncommon where facilities have attempted to optimise throughput and maintain a positive experience for staff and visitors. Security staff monitoring the video feeds can alert management so that action can be taken – but this is at best a reactive solution. It does not keep the unauthorised persons from entering, and so is not a totally secure solution. Optical turnstiles, speedgates Security staff should carefully evaluate its facility’s needs and consider the technology that is built into the door itself Security staff should carefully evaluate its facility’s needs and consider the technology that is built into the door itself. Not all security entrances work the same way. And, there will always be a balance between security and convenience – the more secure the entry, the less convenient it is for your personnel and visitors to enter your facility. For example, it takes more time to provide 2-factor authentication and enter through a mantrap portal than to provide only one credential and enter through an optical turnstile or speedgate. Perimeter protection So, it is an important first step to determine what is right at every entrance point within and around the perimeter. Remember that convenience does not equate to throughput. Convenience is the ease and speed of entry experienced by each individual crossing that threshold, while throughput relates to the speed at which many individuals can gain access to the facility. A more convenient entry makes a better first impression on visitors and is good for overall employee morale. Throughput is more functional; employees need to get logged in to begin their workday (and often to clock in to get paid), and they quickly become frustrated and dissatisfied when waiting in a long line to enter or exit the premises. Considering form and function when designing a security entrance can ensure that those requiring both high-security and convenience are appeased.

Home monitoring at the edge: Advanced security in the hands of consumers
Home monitoring at the edge: Advanced security in the hands of consumers

Imagine a home surveillance camera monitoring an elderly parent and anticipating potential concerns while respecting their privacy. Imagine another camera predicting a home burglary based on suspicious behaviors, allowing time to notify the homeowner who can in turn notify the police before the event occurs—or an entire network of cameras working together to keep an eye on neighborhood safety. Artificial Intelligence vision chips A new gen of AI vision chips are pushing advanced capabilities such as behavior analysis and higher-level security There's a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) vision chips that are pushing advanced capabilities such as behavior analysis and higher-level security to the edge (directly on devices) for a customisable user experience—one that rivals the abilities of the consumer electronics devices we use every day. Once considered nothing more than “the eyes” of a security system, home monitoring cameras of 2020 will leverage AI-vision processors for high-performance computer vision at low power consumption and affordable cost—at the edge—for greater privacy and ease of use as well as to enable behavior analysis for predictive and preemptive monitoring. Advanced home monitoring cameras With this shift, camera makers and home monitoring service providers alike will be able to develop new edge-based use cases for home monitoring and enable consumers to customise devices to meet their individual needs. The result will be increased user engagement with home monitoring devices—mirroring that of cellphones and smart watches and creating an overlap between the home monitoring and consumer electronics markets. A quick step back reminds us that accomplishing these goals would have been cost prohibitive just a couple of years ago. Face recognition, behavior analysis, intelligent analytics, and decision-making at this level were extremely expensive to perform in the cloud. Additionally, the lag time associated with sending data to faraway servers for decoding and then processing made it impossible to achieve real-time results. Cloud-based home security devices The constraints of cloud processing certainly have not held the industry back, however. Home monitoring, a market just seven years young, has become a ubiquitous category of home security and home monitoring devices. Consumers can choose to install a single camera or doorbell that sends alerts to their phone, a family of devices and a monthly manufacturer’s plan, or a high-end professional monitoring solution. While the majority of these devices do indeed rely on the cloud for processing, camera makers have been pushing for edge-based processing since around 2016. For them, the benefit has always been clear: the opportunity to perform intelligent analytics processing in real-time on the device. But until now, the balance between computer vision performance and power consumption was lacking and camera companies weren’t able to make the leap. So instead, they have focused on improving designs and the cloud-centric model has prevailed. Hybrid security systems Even with improvements, false alerts result in unnecessary notifications and video recording Even with improvements, false alerts (like tree branches swaying in the wind or cats walking past a front door) result in unnecessary notifications and video recording— cameras remain active which, in the case of battery powered cameras, means using up valuable battery life. Hybrid models do exist. Typically, they provide rudimentary motion detection on the camera itself and then send video to the cloud for decoding and analysis to suppress false alerts. Hybrids provide higher-level results for things like people and cars, but their approach comes at a cost for both the consumer and the manufacturer. Advanced cloud analytics Advanced cloud analytics are more expensive than newly possible edge-based alternatives, and consumers have to pay for subscriptions. In addition, because of processing delays and other issues, things like rain or lighting changes (or even bugs on the camera) can still trigger unnecessary alerts. And the more alerts a user receives, the more they tend to ignore them—there are simply too many. In fact, it is estimated that users only pay attention to 5% of their notifications. This means that when a package is stolen or a car is burglarised, users often miss the real-time notification—only to find out about the incident after the fact. All of this will soon change with AI-based behavior analysis, predictive security, and real-time meaningful alerts. Predictive monitoring while safeguarding user privacy These days, consumers are putting more emphasis on privacy and have legitimate concerns about being recorded while in their homes. Soon, with AI advancements at the chip level, families will be able to select user apps that provide monitoring without the need to stream video to a company server, or they’ll have access to apps that record activity but obscure faces. Devices will have the ability to only send alerts according to specific criteria. If, for example, an elderly parent being monitored seems particularly unsteady one day or seems especially inactive, an application could alert the responsible family member and suggest that they check in. By analysing the elderly parent’s behavior, the application could also predict a potential fall and trigger an audio alert for the person and also the family. AI-based behavior analysis Ability to analyse massive amounts of data locally and identify trends is a key advantage of AI at the edge The ability to analyse massive amounts of data locally and identify trends or perform searches is a key advantage of AI at the edge, for both individuals and neighborhoods. For example, an individual might be curious as to what animal is wreaking havoc in their backyard every night. In this case, they could download a “small animal detector” app to their camera which would trigger an alert when a critter enters their yard. The animal could be scared off via an alarm and—armed with video proof—animal control would have useful data for setting a trap. Edge cameras A newly emerging category of “neighborhood watch” applications is already connecting neighbors for significantly improved monitoring and safety. As edge cameras become more commonplace, this category will become increasingly effective. The idea is that if, for example, one neighbor captures a package thief, and then the entire network of neighbors will receive a notification and a synopsis video showing the theft. Or if, say, there is a rash of car break-ins and one neighbor captures video of a red sedan casing their home around the time of a recent incident, an AI vision-based camera could be queried for helpful information: Residential monitoring and security The camera could be asked for a summary of the dates and times that it has recorded that particular red car. A case could be made if incident times match those of the vehicle’s recent appearances in the neighborhood. Even better, if that particular red car was to reappear and seems (by AI behavior analysis) to be suspicious, alerts could be sent proactively to networked residents and police could be notified immediately. Home monitoring in 2020 will bring positive change for users when it comes to monitoring and security, but it will also bring some fun. Consumers will, for example, be able to download apps that do things like monitor pet activity. They might query their device for a summary of their pet’s “unusual activity” and then use those clips to create cute, shareable videos. Who doesn’t love a video of a dog dragging a toilet paper roll around the house? AI at the Edge for home access control Home access control via biometrics is one of many new edge-based use cases that will bring convenience to home monitoring Home access control via biometrics is one of many new edge-based use cases that will bring convenience to home monitoring, and it’s an application that is expected to take off soon. With smart biometrics, cameras will be able to recognise residents and then unlock their smart front door locks automatically if desired, eliminating the need for keys. And if, for example, an unauthorised person tries to trick the system by presenting a photograph of a registered family member’s face, the camera could use “3D liveness detection” to spot the fake and deny access. With these and other advances, professional monitoring service providers will have the opportunity to bring a new generation of access control panels to market. Leveraging computer vision and deep neural networks Ultimately, what camera makers strive for is customer engagement and customer loyalty. These new use cases—thanks to AI at the edge—will make home monitoring devices more useful and more engaging to consumers. Leveraging computer vision and deep neural networks, new cameras will be able to filter out and block false alerts, predict incidents, and send real-time notifications only when there is something that the consumer is truly interested in seeing. AI and computer vision at the edge will enable a new generation of cameras that provide not only a higher level of security but that will fundamentally change the way consumers rely on and interact with their home monitoring devices.

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