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Audio, video or keypad entry - Expert commentary

The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

A secured entrance is the first defence against an active shooter
A secured entrance is the first defence against an active shooter

The statistics are staggering. The death tolls are rising. And those who now fear environments that were once thought to be safe zones like school campuses, factories, commercial businesses and government facilities, find themselves having to add the routine of active-shooter drills into their traditional fire drill protocols. The latest active shooter statistics released by the FBI earlier this year in their annual active-shooter report designated 27 events as active shooter incidents in 2018. The report reveals that 16 of the 27 incidents occurred in areas of commerce, seven incidents occurred in business environments, and five incidents occurred in education environments. Deadly active-shooter events Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years, including Sutherland Springs church, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the San Bernardino regional center, the Walmart in El Paso and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which have all occurred since 2015. Although these incidents occurred in facilities with designated entry points common to churches, schools and businesses, the two most deadly active-shooter events since 2015 were the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and the Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando where 49 perished. As Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in San Antonio, Texas, said during a news conference following the August 31 mass shooting in Odessa, Texas that claimed seven lives: “We are now at almost every two weeks seeing an active shooter in this country." Active shooter incidents Between December 2000 and December 2018, the FBI’s distribution of active shooter incidents by location looks like this: Businesses Open to Pedestrian Traffic (74) Businesses Closed to Pedestrian Traffic (43) K-12 Schools (39) Institutions of Higher Learning (16) Non-Military Government Properties (28) Military Properties—Restricted (5) Healthcare Facilities (11) Houses of Worship (10) Private Properties (12) Malls (6) What the majority of these venues have in common is they all have a front entrance or chokepoint for anyone entering the facilities, which is why any active-shooter plan must include a strategy to secure that entry point. Situational awareness in perimeter and door security Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal" According to Paul Franco, an A&E with more than 28 years of experience as a consultant and systems integrator focusing on schools, healthcare and large public and private facilities, that while active shooter incidents continue to rise, the residual effect has been an increase in situational awareness in perimeter and door security. “Certainly, protecting people and assets is the number one goal of all our clients. There are multiple considerations in facilities like K-12 and Healthcare. Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal. But a critical consideration to emphasise to your client is getting that person out of your facility and not creating a more dangerous situation by locking the person in your facility,” says Franco. High-security turnstiles “Schools today are creating a space for vetting visitors prior to allowing access into the main facility. Using technology properly like high-security turnstiles offer great benefits in existing schools where space constraints and renovation costs can be impractical.” What steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe As a consultant/integrator, when discussions are had with a client that has a facility in a public space like a corporate building, government centre or industrial facility, what steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe and can protect its people and assets? For Frank Pisciotta, President and CEO of Business Protection Specialists, Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, a fundamental element of his security strategy is making appropriate recommendations that are broad-based and proactive. Properly identifying the adversaries “As a consultant, my recommendations must include properly identifying the adversaries who may show up at a client’s door, the likelihood of that event occurring, the consequences of that event occurring, determining if there are tripwires that can be set so an organisation can move their line of defence away from the door, educating employees to report potential threats and creating real-time actionable plans to respond to threats. A more reactionary posture might include such thing as target hardening such as ballistic resistant materials at entry access points to a facility,” Pisciotta says. Veteran consultant David Aggleton of Aggleton & Associates of Mission Viejo, California recommends that clients compartmentalise their higher security areas for limited access by adding multiple credential controls (card + keypad + biometric), along with ‘positive’ access systems that inhibit tailgating/piggybacking such as secure turnstiles, revolving door and mantrap if your entrances and security needs meet the required space and access throughput rates. Integrated solution of electronic access control Defining a single point of entry in some public facilities is becoming the new standard of care according to many A&Es and security consultants, especially in a school environment. This approach allows a concerted effort when it comes to staffing, visitor monitoring and an integrated technology solution. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach A proactive stance to securing a door entryway will use an integrated solution of electronic access control, turnstiles, revolving doors and mantraps that can substantially improve a facility’s security profile. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach, so it’s not a matter of if there will be a next active shooter tragedy, it’s only a matter of where. Enhancing access control assurance “There is no easy answer to this question,” says Pisciotta referring to how a secured entrance can deter an active shooter. “There have been at least two high-profile incidents of adversaries shooting their way into a facility through access control barriers. So, if the threat so dictates, a ballistic resistant might be required.” He concludes: “There is obviously no question that turnstiles, revolving doors and man traps enhance access control assurance. Electronic access control is easy to integrate with these devices and providing that credentials are secure, approval processes are in place, change management is properly managed and the appropriate auditing measures in place, access control objectives can be met.”

Are mobile credentials more secure than smart cards?
Are mobile credentials more secure than smart cards?

For the past several years, there has been a focus by integrators and customers to assure that their card-based access control systems are secure. To give businesses an extra incentive to meet their cybersecurity threats, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to hold the business community responsible for failing to implement good cybersecurity practices and is now filing lawsuits against those that don't. For instance, the FTC filed a lawsuit against D-Link and its U.S. subsidiary, alleging that it used inadequate safeguards on its wireless routers and IP cameras that left them vulnerable to hackers.Many companies perceive that they are safer with a card but, if done correctly, the mobile can be a far more secure option  Now, as companies are learning how to protect card-based systems, such as their access control solutions, along comes mobile access credentials and their readers which use smart phones instead of cards as the vehicle for carrying identification information. Many companies perceive that they are safer with a card but, if done correctly, the mobile can be a far more secure option with many more features to be leveraged. Handsets deliver biometric capture and comparison as well as an array of communication capabilities from cellular and Wi-Fi to Bluetooth LE and NFC. As far as security goes, the soft credential, by definition, is already a multi-factor solution. Types of access control authentication Access control authenticates you by following three things: Recognises something you have (RFID tag/card/key), Recognises something you know (PIN) or Recognises something you are (biometrics). Your smart phone has all three authentication parameters. This soft credential, by definition, is already a multi-factor solution. Your mobile credentials remain protected behind a smart phone's security parameters, such as biometrics and PINs. Organisations want to use smart phones in their upcoming access control implementations Once a biometric, PIN or password is entered to access the phone, the user automatically has set up 2-factor access control verification - what you know and what you have or what you have and a second form of what you have.                 To emphasise, one cannot have access to the credential without having access to the phone. If the phone doesn’t work, the credential doesn’t work. The credential operates just like any other app on the phone. The phone must be “on and unlocked.” These two factors – availability and built-in multi-factor verification – are why organisations want to use smart phones in their upcoming access control implementations. Smart phone access control is secure Plus, once a mobile credential is installed on a smart phone, it cannot be re-installed on another smart phone. You can think of a soft credential as being securely linked to a specific smart phone. Similar to a card, if a smart phone is lost, damaged or stolen, the process should be the same as with a traditional physical access credential. It should be immediately deactivated in the access control management software - with a new credential issued as a replacement. Your mobile credentials remain protected behind a smart phone's security parameters, such as biometrics and PINs Leading readers additionally use AES encryption when transferring data. Since the Certified Common Criteria EAS5+ Computer Interface Standard provides increased hardware cybersecurity, these readers resist skimming, eavesdropping and replay attacks.            When the new mobile system leverages the Security Industry Association's (SIA) Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), it also will interface easily with control panels or other security management systems, fostering interoperability among security devices.All that should be needed to activate newer systems is simply the phone number of the smart phone Likewise, new soft systems do not require the disclosure of any sensitive end-user personal data. All that should be needed to activate newer systems is simply the phone number of the smart phone. Bluetooth and NFC the safer options Bottom line - both Bluetooth and NFC credentials are safer than hard credentials. Read range difference yields a very practical result from a security aspect. First of all, when it comes to cybersecurity, there are advantages to a closer read range. NFC eliminates any chances of having the smart phone unknowingly getting read such as can happen with a longer read range. There are also those applications where multiple access readers are installed very near to one-another due to many doors being close. One reader could open multiple doors simultaneously. The shorter read range or tap of an NFC enabled device would stop such problems. However, with this said in defence of NFC, it must also be understood that Bluetooth-enabled readers can provide various read ranges, including those of no longer than a tap as well. One needs to understand that there are also advantages to a longer reader range capability. Since NFC readers have such a short and limited read range, they must be mounted on the unsecure side of the door and encounter all the problems such exposure can breed. Conversely, Bluetooth readers mount on the secure sides of doors and can be kept protected out of sight. Aging systems could cause problems Research shows that Bluetooth enabled smart phones are continuing to expand in use to the point where those not having them are already the exceptions With that said, be aware. Some older Bluetooth-enabled systems force the user to register themselves and their integrators for every application. Door access – register. Parking access – register again. Data access – register again, etc. Newer solutions provide an easier way to distribute credentials with features that allow the user to register only once and need no other portal accounts or activation features. By removing these additional information disclosures, vendors have eliminated privacy concerns that have been slowing down acceptance of mobile access systems. In addition, you don’t want hackers listening to your Bluetooth transmissions, replaying them and getting into your building, so make very sure that the system is immunised against such replays. That’s simple to do. Your manufacturer will show you which system will be best for each application. Research shows that Bluetooth enabled smart phones are continuing to expand in use to the point where those not having them are already the exceptions. They are unquestionably going to be a major component in physical and logical access control. Gartner suggests that, by 2020, 20 percent of organisations will use mobile credentials for physical access in place of traditional ID cards. Let’s rephrase that last sentence. In less than 18 months, one-fifth of all organisations will use the smart phone as the focal point of their electronic access control systems. Not proximity. Not smart cards. Phones!

Latest Avigilon Corporation news

ADI signs pan European distribution agreement with Avigilon for the ease of EMEA customers to gain access to ADI solutions
ADI signs pan European distribution agreement with Avigilon for the ease of EMEA customers to gain access to ADI solutions

ADI Global Distribution, a renowned distributor of security and low voltage products, announced a new distribution agreement with pioneering video security and analytics provider Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions company. ADI customers across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will have access to the full range of the innovative Avigilon video solutions eco-system which includes more than 100 new products being added to the ADI portfolio. “ADI continues to drive an industry leading product selection to ensure our customers can successfully design and build complete, integrated security solutions,” said Hemant Trivedi, General Manager for ADI EMEA. “By adding Avigilon to the ADI portfolio, we are further enhancing our customer choice of leading solutions. We are excited by this new partnership and the benefits it will deliver to our customers.” Video security system Avigilon’s mission is to deliver innovative products that help keep people and communities safe" Avigilon designs, develops and manufactures video solutions, analytics, cloud, security cameras, video management software and hardware, and access control. Powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI), Avigilon technology is simple and easy to use, and offers a seamless integration across an entire video security system. Beginning this month, Avigilon products will available for purchase online and in ADI branch locations across the EMEA region. “As a global leader, Avigilon’s mission is to deliver innovative products that help keep people and communities safe. We are excited to work with ADI to offer our comprehensive ecosystem to their customers,” said Paul Such, Vice President of EMEA Sales Avigilon at Motorola Solutions. “With ADI’s vast geographic footprint and strong distribution channels, we will be able to expand our reach further across the security market.” Active supplier partners ADI Global Distribution operates in 14 countries across EMEA with 67 stocking locations and 11 distribution hubs. Additionally, ADI exports to more than 80 countries in the region. ADI serves more than 24,000 customers across EMEA, and offers over 250,000 SKUs from more than 750 active supplier partners.

Ecl-ips monitoring firm introduces a range of COVID-19 back to work solutions to currently re-opening businesses
Ecl-ips monitoring firm introduces a range of COVID-19 back to work solutions to currently re-opening businesses

Midlands-based firm, Ecl-ips, is using its expertise in providing monitoring, CCTV and access control, to offer organisations a range of back to work solutions to keep customers, visitors and staff safe as the company continue to mitigate the risks from COVID-19. Occupancy Management Solutions With more businesses opening up Ecl-ips can help occupancy counting to ensure social distancing is maintained. Ecl-ips can offer Avigilon’s occupancy counting feature, as part of its video management software and Avigilon Cloud Services (ACS). Through the use of advanced technology, the occupancy counting feature provides an easy and streamlined way to count and identify the number of people in a building. Ecl-ips can also offer Paxton’s access control system Net2. Paxton has added an occupancy management feature to the software. This allows employers or facilities managers to limit the number of people in any given area of their building; either barring access or sending an email/text to the manager when a space nears capacity. It will work across multiple areas of a site and can be set to operate a one in, one out system to support social distancing measures. Remote Access Control Ecl-ips is now able to offer an upgrade of the Net2 software which Paxton unveiled in May. This expanded the ability of facility managers to manage access to buildings remotely reducing the physical contact required for people to enter and leave those buildings but still maintaining their security. This followed the launch of web-based version of Net2 and its Paxton Connect app which meant this software is available wherever the users are. Face Mask and Face Covering Detection The wearing of face coverings is now compulsory in the UK for users of public transports and face masks are either mandatory or strongly advised for staff in a number of workplaces. Additionally, the wearing of face coverings is advised in shops and other indoor places. Avigilon has developed technology to detect if there are breaches in rules associated with the wearing of face masks or coverings. This can provide an alert so security staff or managers and Ecl-ips can customise this solution to provide an audible warning to those committing any breaches of rules. Social Distancing Guidelines Support In its latest software release scheduled for this month Avigilon’s most advanced cameras will identify breaches of social distancing guidance and again this can provide an audible warning. The technology can also demonstrate to those managing commercial spaces or other buildings like schools or healthcare settings where there are potential bottlenecks and so social distancing will be difficult. This will allow managers to make changes within the buildings, for example, by only allowing people to walk in one direction through a corridor to reduce the numbers having to be in close proximity to each other. Contact Tracing Capability Meanwhile, Ecl-ips is also a specialist in Avigilon’s access control system. This can be used with Avigilon’s CCTV system to assist with contact tracing if employees are found to need to isolate after showing symptoms of COVID-19. This is because of the advanced technology providing a record of staff accessing buildings and being able to correlate to video footage of staff on CCTV. Thermal scanning Some organisations are using thermal scanning as part of their solution for opening up businesses by detecting staff or visitors that may have raised temperatures and require health screening. Paxton has made improvements to Net2 to allow installers to integrate the system with thermal scanners more easily. Ecl-ips can also offer thermographic cameras and advise if they are the right solution for the customer. Aaron Kernaghan, Managing Director of Ecl-ips, said, “Ecl-ips is a well-established CCTV, access control and monitoring firm. We are ensuring that we are operating in a COVID-19 secure manner and are keen to assist organisations get back to work safely.”

Motorola Solutions improves video security and analytics portfolio to enhance staff safety in COVID-19 times
Motorola Solutions improves video security and analytics portfolio to enhance staff safety in COVID-19 times

Motorola Solutions, announces a number of additions to its video security and analytics portfolio. These security solutions are designed to support organisations as they explore options for moving staff safely back into their offices or facilities. The offerings focus on the key elements of safety and security around COVID-19, including prevention, protection and response. “Enterprise organisations are exploring the best way to return back to the workplace, where ensuring the safety and security of their employees and customers is paramount,” said John Kedzierski, Senior Vice President, Video Security & Analytics at Motorola Solutions. Intelligence of AI-powered analytics “Our customers have asked how our solutions can help mitigate the potential impacts of COVID-19 as they re-open their facilities, so we've developed a suite of applications that leverage the unique capabilities of video with the intelligence of AI-powered analytics.” Motorola Solutions’ video security and analytics portfolio will offer Avigilon security cameras with analytics to help organisations keep employees safe through the adherence of health guidelines around protective face masks and physical social distancing. These solutions combine the power of video and the intelligence of AI-powered analytics to collect visual footage and statistical patterns on where social-distancing protocols have been breached and where individuals are not wearing a face mask. Through Avigilon Control Centre (ACC) video management software, organisations can be notified if guidelines are not observed and can quickly make informed decisions to address the situation. Physical access security The combination of physical access security and video footage can provide important insights The analysis increases employee safety by equipping organisations with the insights they need to implement measures that facilitate better compliance with health guidelines. The safety and security of front-line workers is a top priority for employers. Essential workers who face the risk of aggression and contamination may be equipped with Motorola Solutions’ body-worn cameras, so they can experience peace of mind, knowing that they have a direct link to security personnel at all times. Wearing these devices allows employees to verbally notify others that their actions are being captured on camera, which can often de-escalate a heated situation. As employees look to safely move back into the workplace, Motorola Solutions’ contact tracing capability can help deter the spread of COVID-19 in an organisation’s offices or facilities. The combination of physical access security and video footage can provide important insights. Responsible use of analytics The new Identity Correlation Report helps employers better understand where an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has been, and which doors that person may have accessed within the workplace. By using this capability with Motorola Solutions’ Avigilon Appearance Search™ technology and Identity Search, security operators are able to add an extra measure of safety by generating timelines and video clips of the individual’s pathway throughout the premises, also showing who they may have been in contact with. These prevent, protect and response capabilities embrace Motorola Solutions’ commitment to the responsible use of analytics, as well as individual privacy rights.

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