Access control controllers - 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.

Is hybrid working a red flag for business security?
Is hybrid working a red flag for business security?

The ‘new normal’ was all we heard about when it came to the working model shift after the pandemic hit. Businesses worldwide adopted working from home, and then the hybrid model: a balance of remote work and office work. And according to a recent survey by 451 Research, nearly 80% of organisations surveyed said they have implemented or expanded universal work-from-home policies as a result of COVID-19, whilst 67% expect these policies to remain in place either permanently or for the long-term. With more vacant office spaces, the question is: is hybrid working a red flag for business security? Empty-office days When buildings and office spaces are still active with advanced technology, equipment and assets on show, yet footfall is not as busy as it once was, opportunistic criminals are closely watching and taking note. But what are they learning? Security systems provider, Expert Security UK, investigates our new normal. Offices are nests for expensive, valuable equipment, with maybe the latest technology Instead of a packed, busy office five or six days a week, hybrid working means more empty-office days, which is music to the ears of burglars. Offices are nests for expensive, valuable equipment, with maybe the latest technology and safes sitting there, or potential stacks of cash or company cards. You may be thinking, well, who leaves company cards or cash out? You’d be surprised, especially when business owners think they’ll never be a victim, or sometimes, staff make mistakes. Hybrid working model And don’t forget, burglars don’t always know what’s been left and will take their chances. And when a hybrid working model is the ‘new normal’, that means a lapse in security - at least in a thief’s mind. So how worried should business owners be? Well, the latest figures are pretty worrying, but also, not massively shocking. Reiterating the temptation and lure the working model shift has on robbers, Statista recorded a 12-year high for robbery offences in the UK in 2019/2020. When more businesses either shut up shop or sent staff away to home offices, it’s not hard to make a connection. These figures reflect how, when given the opportunity, thieves will strike and take advantage. Handing vital information Whether you’ve decided to go fully remote, it’s crucial to review and rethink your business security However, it’s worth noting that the lockdowns and empty streets would also have played a part in this spike, and now that we’re out of lockdowns with a world back to flipping its sign to ‘open’, many businesses will be carrying on working from home, but towns, shops, and streets are busy again. Whether you’ve decided to go fully remote, or have adopted the hybrid model, it’s crucial to review and rethink your business security, starting with your social media presence. It’s a good idea to review your social media channels. We forget how open we can be on social media, and how our digital presence can actually work as a perfect guide and insight for criminals. All they have to do is follow your channels to pick up on clues. And if you’re not giving it a minute’s thought about what you're putting out there, you may even be just handing them vital information and helping their plans. Remote working shift Of course, there is information readily available such as your opening times, location etc. But, do you really want/need to show off the new, state-of-the-art tablets you’ve just kitted your office out with? It can be hard as a business, or even as a social person, to not want to share positive news on social media, but we really do have to stop and think, especially if people know a lot about the company and its remote working shift. It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your staff about a social media policy Maybe share a post about that new, intelligent security system you've installed instead. It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your staff about a social media policy or maybe just a casual chat about best practices, e.g. not to tag the business in a post about their new office gadget etc. Improving business security With fewer office days, you probably won’t need to take up as much work space anymore. Maybe some equipment has become more ornamental. Anything you don’t use or need, you could sell or donate. If you do have expensive equipment lying around that’s not being used, try and make money back from it or store it elsewhere. If you are keeping a lot of expensive equipment in vacant premises, especially fixed equipment and technology, then consider installing bars and shutters over the windows. Whatever your budget, you can improve your business security tenfold with key security measures. One of them being access control. Security gates with access control are incredibly effective at stopping unauthorised people from gaining entry. There are also car park barriers and bollards that are highly effective at keeping any potential getaway vehicles out. Easily portable technology High-quality CCTV is a best friend to any business, but you need to be reviewing it frequently High-quality CCTV is a best friend to any business, but you need to be reviewing it frequently, especially if you’ve done a perimeter check and noticed any signs of forced entry or damage. Don’t forget those signs either, let visitors or trespassers know they’re on camera. To fit in with the hybrid working model, static fixtures are becoming redundant. For instance, companies are switching to laptops instead of computers, so that workers can transport them easily to and from the office. This is not only more efficient and convenient, but it means assets are more guarded. It’s the same for any other gadgets. Having easily portable technology is good for business, hybrid working, and security. Don’t forget about your deterrents. Simple signs to warn people of alarms, CCTV, and even the fact that you don’t leave equipment inside overnight can go a long way. Best security technology Thieves are famous for taking their chances. Some will meticulously plan, and many strike at a convenient, opportune time. So having signs in place that show you have high-quality, intelligent security in place can work wonders, making them think twice. It’s also worth noting that you may not have the best security technology in place at the moment, but those on the outside don’t need to know that; they can be fooled. However, having the best physical security in place is vital, as criminals lurk and will take chances. Keep reviewing your security, especially as your business adapts and reshapes - whether you return back to full office days or carry on the hybrid working model. This guest post was contributed by Danny Scholfield, Managing Director of Expert Security UK.

Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics
Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics

Household adoption of smart home systems currently sits at 12.1% and is set to grow to 21.4% by 2025, expanding the market from US$ 78.3 billion to US$ 135 billion, in the same period. Although closely linked to the growth of connectivity technologies, including 5G, tech-savvy consumers are also recognising the benefits of next-generation security systems, to protect and secure their domestic lives. Biometric technologies are already commonplace in our smartphones, PCs and payment cards, enhancing security without compromising convenience. Consequently, manufacturers and developers are taking note of biometric solutions, as a way of levelling-up their smart home solutions. Biometrics offer enhanced security As with any home, security starts at the front door and the first opportunity for biometrics to make a smart home genius lies within the smart lock. Why? Relying on inconvenient unsecure PINs and codes takes the ‘smart’ out of smart locks. As the number of connected systems in our homes increase, we cannot expect consumers to create, remember and use an ever-expanding list of unique passwords and PINs. Indeed, 60% of consumers feel they have too many to remember and the number can be as high as 85 for all personal and private accounts. Biometric solutions strengthen home access control Biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control Doing this risks consumers becoming apathetic with security, as 41% of consumers admit to re-using the same password or introducing simple minor variations, increasing the risk of hacks and breaches from weak or stolen passwords. Furthermore, continually updating and refreshing passwords, and PINs is unappealing and inconvenient. Consequently, biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control. Positives of on-device biometric storage Biometric authentication, such as fingerprint recognition uses personally identifiable information, which is stored securely on-device. By using on-device biometric storage, manufacturers are supporting the 38% of consumers, who are worried about privacy and biometrics, and potentially winning over the 17% of people, who don’t use smart home devices for this very reason. Compared to conventional security, such as passwords, PINs or even keys, which can be spoofed, stolen, forgotten or lost, biometrics is difficult to hack and near impossible to spoof. Consequently, homes secured with biometric smart locks are made safer in a significantly more seamless and convenient way for the user. Biometric smart locks Physical access in our domestic lives doesn’t end at the front door with smart locks. Biometrics has endless opportunities to ease our daily lives, replacing passwords and PINs in all devices. Biometric smart locks provide personalised access control to sensitive and hazardous areas, such as medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, safes, kitchen appliances and bike locks. They offer effective security with a touch or glance. Multi-tenanted sites, such as apartment blocks and student halls, can also become smarter and more secure. With hundreds of people occupying the same building, maintaining high levels of security is the responsibility for every individual occupant. Biometric smart locks limit entry to authorised tenants and eliminate the impact of lost or stolen keys, and passcodes. Furthermore, there’s no need for costly lock replacements and when people leave the building permanently, their data is easily removed from the device. Authorised building access Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door, but also throughout the entire building, such as washing rooms, mail rooms, bike rooms and community spaces, such as gyms. Different people might have different levels of access to these areas, depending on their contracts, creating an access control headache. But, by having biometric smart locks, security teams can ensure that only authorised people have access to the right combination of rooms and areas. Convenience of biometric access cards Additionally, if building owners have options. The biometric sensors can be integrated into the doors themselves, thereby allowing users to touch the sensor, to unlock the door and enter. Furthermore, the latest technology allows biometric access cards to be used. This embeds the sensor into a contactless keycard, allowing the user to place their thumb on the sensor and tap the card to unlock the door. This may be preferable in circumstances where contactless keycards are already in use and can be upgraded. Smarter and seamless security In tandem with the growth of the smart home ecosystem, biometrics has real potential to enhance our daily lives, by delivering smarter, seamless and more convenient security. Significant innovation has made biometrics access control faster, more accurate and secure. Furthermore, today’s sensors are durable and energy efficient. With the capacity for over 10 million touches and ultra-low power consumption, smart home system developers no longer have to worry about added power demands. As consumers continue to invest in their homes and explore new ways to secure and access them, biometrics offers a golden opportunity for market players, to differentiate and make smart homes even smarter.

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Altronix showcases Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions at ISC West 2018
Altronix showcases Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions at ISC West 2018

Altronix, a manufacturer of power and data transmission products for the professional security industry, is showcasing a host of new Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions here at ISC West 2018 (booth #11073). Trove easily combines Altronix power with access controllers from the industry’s leading manufacturers. DMP, ProdataKey (PDK), Sielox, and ZKTeco USA now join Altronix’s extensive list of access control manufacturers to capitalise on the benefits that Trove solutions deliver. “Trove is engineered to help system designers easily layout power supplies, access controllers and accessories in an organised streamlined manner, which saves time, reduces costs and conserves valuable space,” said Alan Forman, President, Altronix Corporation. “We are pleased to collaborate with the industry’s leading access manufacturers, increasing ROI and providing value-added features for our mutual customers.”Removable backplanes designed for specific access control brands allow installers to easily configure and test system configurations Simplifying security deployments Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions simplify board layout and wire management, while providing extreme flexibility and scalability when designing and deploying access systems. Removable backplanes designed for specific access control brands allow installers to easily configure and test system configurations prior to on-site installation, reducing time and labour and increasing profitability. In addition to the Trove1 and Trove2 Series, Altronix introduced Trove3 for the largest access control deployments. Altronix Trove now supports over 40 brands, including: AMAG, Bosch, CDVI, DMP, Genetec, HID, Honeywell, Kantech, Keyscan, Lenel, Mercury, ProdataKey (PDK), Sielox, Software House and ZKTeco USA with more to come. Trove enclosures include a cam lock, tamper switch, mounting hardware, and provide ample room to accommodate back-up batteries. Altronix also offers a free Trove System Design Tool to further simplify the product selection and design process.

Altronix demonstrates Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions at ASIS 2017
Altronix demonstrates Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions at ASIS 2017

Altronix, a recognised provider of power and transmission solutions for the professional security industry, is featuring its expanded offering of Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions at ASIS 2017 (booth # 2823). New additions to the Trove series include Altronix integrations with Bosch, DMP, Honeywell, Kantech and Sielox access. These new models join the versatile line of Trove solutions which accommodate AMAG, CDVI, HID/Vertx, KABA/KeyScan, Mercury and Software House access controllers. “Trove enclosures and backplanes simplify board layout and wire management, greatly reducing installation and labor costs, while providing the versatility and scalability that system designers and installers require to easily configure their systems.” said Alan Forman, President, Altronix Corporation. Enhanced performance efficiency Trove2 Access and Power Integration Solutions are designed for larger applications, allowing Altronix power/accessories combined with access controllers from the industry’s leading manfacturers to be wired and pre-tested prior to on-site installation. This reduces total cost and enhances performance efficiency. Altronix also offers the Trove1 Access and Power Integration Solution, a more compact version of the Trove2 for smaller applications which accommodate CDVI, HID/VertX and Mercury access controllers. All Trove enclosures include a cam lock, tamper switch and mounting hardware. Altronix has further simplified the product selection and configuration process by offering a free online Trove System Design Tool for configuring a access system.

BioConnect and Suprema to showcase biometrics, security and identity innovations at ISC West 2017
BioConnect and Suprema to showcase biometrics, security and identity innovations at ISC West 2017

The new FaceStation 2 is a contactless facial recognition device with an adjustable wall bracket  BioConnect and Suprema will be at ISC West 2017 demonstrating the newest innovations in biometrics, security and identity in booth no. 22075. New facial recognition, dual-factor cabinet lock, cybersecurity and mobile solutions will be demonstrated in the joint booth.  With cybersecurity issues seemingly ever-more prevalent and the development of more user-friendly security solutions such as mobile and contactless biometric, security professionals are consistently seeking ways to protect both physical and logical applications. BioConnect and Suprema are pleased to address these issues with a focus on biometrics, security and identity at ISC West 2017 and invite security professionals to learn more. Suprema FaceStation 2 Suprema will debut the new FaceStation 2, a facial recognition device with multi-card support. The FaceStation 2 is the next generation of the FaceStation and as a contactless facial recognition device with an adjustable wall bracket to accommodate different heights, it is very user friendly. It boasts an incredibly fast and accurate matching speed (1:3,000 matches in one second) and captures both static and dynamic templates, giving it the ability to constantly evolve and sustain a more exact understanding of the daily changing expressions of the face. The device also offers multi-factor authentication options with a RF card (HID Seos, iClass, Prox) and PIN. It also can operate in much harsher lighting conditions than other competing facial recognition devices with an operating illuminance of up to 25,000 lux.  BioConnect ID CabinetShield BioConnect ID is at the core of every biometric service offered by BioConnect and simplifiesthe deployment of biometrics BioConnect colocation customers expressed the need to provide dual-factor authentication from the front door all the way to the cabinet to address both compliance and their customer security requirements. In the past, solutions to meet these requirements at the server cabinet were limited. To address this problem, BioConnect created BioConnect ID CabinetShield a dual-factor fingerprint plus card lock to secure server cabinets. With biometric (fingerprint) and card support, the lock is manufactured to fit most of the common cabinets and can be easily integrated with over 25 various access control solutions, making installation and enrolment much more simple and sustainable. The BioConnect team has completed multiple successful pilots of the solution in flagship data centers across North America. BioConnect ID Mobile With companies going global in footprint and supporting a workforce that is more mobile than ever, BioConnect’s partners are fast-developing solutions where mobile credentials are replacing plastic cards. BioConnect ID is at the core of every biometric service offered by BioConnect and simplifies the deployment of biometrics. BioConnect will debut BioConnect ID in the form of an API/SDK and mobile app to enable enterprises to take advantage of biometrics (face, voice, fingerprint, eyeprint) within their mobile app. BioConnect will be demonstrating partner mobile apps that are secured by BioConnect ID.  BioConnect ID Cybershield Suprema and BioConnect are consistently updating theirbiometric offerings to support evolving industry standards BioConnect and Suprema are very excited to debut BioConnect ID Cybershield, a complete end-to-end physical security solution that meets IT requirements. BioConnect ID Cybershield incorporates Suprema BioStation 2 fingerprint plus card access device integrated with leading access control solutions. It boasts software customisations that meet the requirements of network security, from how the device communicates to the panel, to the network, how the data is stored and can even support an enterprise transitioning to newer network protocols such as 802.1x and IPv6. The solution will be demonstrated with Software House CCURE 9000 access control.  BioConnect ID Enterprise BioConnect is consistently integrating the leading biometric solutions on the market to offer flexibility to grow in the future. BioConnect and Suprema will demonstrate how Suprema devices and BioConnect ID CabinetShield seamlessly integrate with Lenel OnGuard, Brivo OnAir, AMAG Symmetry, Genetec Security Center and Keyscan Aurora access control solutions with BioConnect ID Enterprise.  Suprema and BioConnect are also consistently updating their biometric offerings to support evolving industry standards such as communication protocols (such as OSDP) and card types such as HID iClass and SEOS. BioConnect and Suprema are looking forward to meeting with security professionals at ISC West. Attendees can request a meeting on BioConnect’s website or visit booth no. 22075 to see the latest biometric solutions on the market. 

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