HID Global completes NFC-enabled smartphone pilots that validate mobile access control

Download PDF version Contact company
HID Global completes two pilot programs that validate how mobile access control using NFC-enabled smartphones
NFC-enabled smartphones can allow employees to conveniently open doors with a mobile device

HID Global, a worldwide leader in secure identity solutions, announced its completion of two pilot programs that validate how mobile access control using Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones can allow employees to conveniently open doors with a mobile device without compromising physical enterprise security. The pilots were conducted at the headquarters of Netflix, the world's leading Internet subscription service for enjoying TV series and films, and Good Technology, the leader in secure enterprise mobility solutions, using HID Global’s iCLASS SE platform including iCLASS Seos credentials that are portable for use on NFC-enabled smartphones.

Pilot participants highlighted improved security among the many benefits of using smartphones to open doors. “I love the idea of mutually authenticated reader-badges – it reduces the threat of badge skimming and replay attacks,” said Bill Burns, director, Netflix IT Networking & Security. Netflix desktop analyst David Tsai added, “Technically, the physical security is better since it requires that a person know the phone can be used as a key, know the passcode to get into the phone, and know how to activate the key.” Similar feedback was provided by Netflix helpdesk support technician Lynn Chikasuye, who said, “People will rarely lend out their phone, which prevents unwanted use.”  

Good Technology also cited the security benefits of mobile access control as compared to photo ID badges, along with improved user convenience for today’s highly mobile workforce. “Our customers are always looking at new ways to enable mobile worker productivity and efficiency without having to take security risks,” said Michael W. Mahan, SVP Special Markets, Good Technology. “This pilot proved that using both a layered security approach and smartphones to provide secure physical access to buildings is a great way to meet their goals of adding security without complexity.”

HID Global’s multiCLASS SE readers replaced proximity readers at selected locations in both the Netflix and Good facilities

Pilot Details

HID Global’s multiCLASS SE readers replaced proximity readers at selected locations in both the Netflix and Good facilities, and pilot participants at each company were given Samsung Galaxy S III handsets. The handsets were equipped with NFC capabilities and HID Global digital keys, so they could securely store and emulate user credentials and open doors by presenting the handsets to the HID Global readers.

Netflix has traditionally used keyfobs for access control, and wanted to evaluate the benefits of provisioning digital keys over-the-air to its staff’s smartphones to further streamline the new-employee on-boarding process. The company also believed that digital keys could be a valuable addition to smartphones in its bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobility environment. By the time the pilot was launched, almost half of the participants were already socialising the mobile access experience by using proximity tags affixed to the back of their current phones to open doors. The pilot was intended to test the concept of a true mobile access experience with over-the-air provisioning capability that also delivered improved user convenience and security.

In addition to testing this basic over-the-air mobile access control capability, Good Technology and HID Global extended Good’s mobile access pilot to also evaluate the use of an NFC-enabled SARGENT SE LP10 lock on the door to an executive’s office that colleagues use as a temporary conference room when he is away. This allowed the executive to control access to his office – offering it only to select members of his team during specified times – as well as run reports about who was using his office, and when.

Pilot Results

Results from a third-party survey of participants included:

  • More than 80 percent of Netflix respondents felt that the application for unlocking a door was intuitive, and nearly 90 percent described it as easy to use.
  • This perception was echoed at Good Technology, where more than 80 percent of respondents felt the smartphone was more convenient to use than their current access card, primarily because they never forget their phones like they do their badges. All Good Technology respondents said they liked the look of the door unlock application on their phones, and said it was intuitive and easy to use.
  • Approximately 75 percent of Netflix respondents said they would be willing to load the app onto their own personal smartphone. Roughly 75 percent at Netflix and 67 percent at Good Technology said that other people who saw them using their smartphone to access the building asked questions or expressed an interest in it.
  • More than 83 percent of Good Technology participants said that the company’s physical security was improved by using a smartphone rather than a card to open locked doors. This included respondents who highlighted the benefits of layered security, and being able to use a PIN to unlock their phone and then use the mobile access app to gain entry.
  • 87 percent of Netflix respondents said they would want to use a smartphone to open all locked doors at the company.
  • All Good Technology respondents saw value in additional uses of digital keys on their smartphones, such as logging on to their PC and using their smartphones for secure print authentication, as well as personal uses such as using their smartphones to access their residence and as a mobile wallet for payment. All respondents also said they would like to be able to use their NFC-enabled smartphones to receive digital keys over-the-air that could be used to access a hotel room.
  • 81 percent of Netflix respondents said the fact that the company is testing and deploying mobile access makes it a more fun and exciting place to work.

The pilots highlighted a number of opportunities to improve the mobile access control experience as the industry moves closer to deployment.

Good Technology was also impressed with HID Global’s comprehensive credential provisioning and management services. In a mobile environment such as the one created for the pilot, HID Secure Identity Services will enable users to create secure identities and digital keys for NFC-enabled handsets using a cloud-based portal in a managed-service context, and then provision them over-the-air onto their smartphones.

The pilots highlighted a number of opportunities to improve the mobile access control experience as the industry moves closer to deployment. This includes bringing more mobile network operators and handset manufacturers into the ecosystem so that users have more service and product choices. Additionally, participants cited the need for an “always on” access control experience, which requires that NFC handsets be able to open doors without having to start an app, and that their secure elements, either embedded in the phone or in their subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, are made available for over-the-air communications directly with service providers. Pilot participants also highlighted the need for solutions that do not excessively drain battery, are available even when the battery is dead, don’t interrupt other tasks, and deliver an intuitive user interface with accurate graphical representations and conveniently sized icons.

“These pilots with Netflix and Good Technology clearly demonstrated how a highly mobile workforce can receive digital keys over-the-air and to their phones and use them to open doors, just like they had previously been doing with their existing photo ID cards, keyfobs or tags,” said Debra Spitler, vice president of Mobile Access Solutions with HID Global. “As one pilot participant told me, “only having to carry one device for so many daily tasks is excellent.”
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

The physical side of data protection
The physical side of data protection

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated our digital dependency, on a global scale. Data centres have become even more critical to modern society. The processing and storage of information underpin the economy, characterised by a consistent increase in the volume of data and applications, and reliance upon the internet and IT services. Data centres classed as CNI As such, they are now classed as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and sit under the protection of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). As land continues to surge in value, data centre operators are often limited for choice, on where they place their sites and are increasingly forced to consider developed areas, close to other infrastructures, such as housing or industrial sites. Complex security needs One misconception when it comes to data centres is that physical security is straightforward One misconception when it comes to data centres is that physical security is straightforward. However, in practice, things are far more complex. On top of protecting the external perimeter, thought must also be given to factors, such as access control, hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM), protecting power infrastructure, as well as standby generators and localising security devices to operate independently of the main data centre. Face value How a site looks is more important than you may think. Specify security that appears too hostile risks blatantly advertising that you’re protecting a valuable target, ironically making it more interesting to opportunistic intruders. The heightened security that we recommend to clients for these types of sites, include 4 m high-security fences, coils of razor wire, CCTV, and floodlighting. When used together in an integrated approach, it’s easy to see how they make the site appear hostile against its surroundings. However, it must appear secure enough to give the client peace of mind that the site is adequately protected. Getting the balance right is crucial. So, how do you balance security, acoustics and aesthetics harmoniously? Security comes first These are essential facilities and as a result, they require appropriate security investment. Cutting corners leads to a greater long-term expense and increases the likelihood of highly disruptive attacks. Checkpoints Fortunately, guidance is available through independent accreditations and certifications, such as the Loss Prevention Certification Board’s (LPCB) LPS 1175 ratings, the PAS 68 HVM rating, CPNI approval, and the police initiative - Secured by Design (SBD). Thorough technical evaluation and quality audit These bodies employ thorough technical evaluation work and rigorous quality audit processes to ensure products deliver proven levels of protection. With untested security measures, you will not know whether a product works until an attack occurs. Specifying products accredited by established bodies removes this concern. High maintenance Simply installing security measures and hoping for the best will not guarantee 24/7 protection. Just as you would keep computer software and hardware updated, to provide the best level of protection for the data, physical security also needs to be well-maintained, in order to ensure it is providing optimum performance. Importance of testing physical security parameters Inspecting the fence line may seem obvious and straightforward, but it needs to be done regularly. From our experience, this is something that is frequently overlooked. The research we conducted revealed that 63% of companies never test their physical security. They should check the perimeter on both sides and look for any attempted breaches. Foliage, weather conditions or topography changes can also affect security integrity. Companies should also check all fixtures and fittings, looking for damage and corrosion, and clear any litter and debris away. Accessibility When considering access control, speed gates offer an excellent solution for data centres. How quickly a gate can open and close is essential, especially when access to the site is restricted. The consequences of access control equipment failing can be extremely serious, far over a minor irritation or inconvenience. Vehicle and pedestrian barriers, especially if automated, require special attention to maintain effective security and efficiency. Volume control Data centres don’t generally make the best neighbours. The noise created from their 24-hour operation can be considerable. HVAC systems, event-triggered security and fire alarms, HV substations, and vehicle traffic can quickly become unbearable for residents. Secure and soundproof perimeter As well as having excellent noise-reducing properties, timber is also a robust material for security fencing So, how do you create a secure and soundproof perimeter? Fortunately, through LPS 1175 certification and CPNI approval, it is possible to combine high-security performance and up to 28dB of noise reduction capabilities. As well as having excellent noise-reducing properties, timber is also a robust material for security fencing. Seamlessly locking thick timber boards create a flat face, making climbing difficult and the solid boards prevent lines of sight into the facility. For extra protection, steel mesh can either be added to one side of the fence or sandwiched between the timber boards, making it extremely difficult to break through. A fair façade A high-security timber fence can be both, aesthetically pleasing and disguise its security credentials. Its pleasant natural façade provides a foil to the stern steel bars and mesh, often seen with other high-security solutions. Of course, it’s still important that fencing serves its primary purposes, so make sure you refer to certifications, to establish a product’s security and acoustic performance. Better protected The value of data cannot be overstated. A breach can have severe consequences for public safety and the economy, leading to serious national security implications. Countering varied security threats Data centres are faced with an incredibly diverse range of threats, including activism, sabotage, trespass, and terrorism on a daily basis. It’s no wonder the government has taken an active role in assisting with their protection through the medium of the CPNI and NCSC. By working with government bodies such as the CPNI and certification boards like the LPCB, specifiers can access a vault of useful knowledge and advice. This will guide them to effective and quality products that are appropriate for their specific site in question, ensuring it’s kept safe and secure.

Data explosion: Futureproofing your video surveillance infrastructure
Data explosion: Futureproofing your video surveillance infrastructure

Video surveillance systems are producing more unstructured data than ever before. A dramatic decrease in camera costs in recent years has led many businesses to invest in comprehensive surveillance coverage, with more cameras generating more data. Plus, advances in technology mean that the newest (8K) cameras are generating approximately 800% more data than their predecessors (standard definition). Traditional entry-level solutions like network video recorders (NVRs) simply aren’t built to handle massive amounts of data in an efficient, resilient and cost-effective manner. This has left many security pioneers grappling with a data storage conundrum. Should they continue adding more NVR boxes? Or is there another, better, route? Retaining video data In short, yes. To future proof their video surveillance infrastructure, an increasing number of businesses are adopting an end-to-end surveillance architecture with well-integrated, purpose-built platforms for handling video data through its lifecycle. This presents significant advantages in terms of security, compliance and scalability, as well as unlocking new possibilities for data enrichment. All of this with a lower total cost of ownership than traditional solutions. Security teams would typically delete recorded surveillance footage after a few days or weeks Previously, security teams would typically delete recorded surveillance footage after a few days or weeks. However, thanks to increasingly stringent legal and compliance demands, many are now required to retain video data for months or even years. There’s no doubt that this can potentially benefit investigations and increase prosecutions, but it also puts significant pressure on businesses’ storage infrastructure. Data lifecycle management This necessitates a more intelligent approach to data lifecycle management. Rather than simply storing video data in a single location until it’s wiped, an end-to-end video surveillance solution can intelligently migrate data to different storage platforms and media as it ages. So, how does this work? Video is recorded and analysed on a combination of NVR, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and application servers. Then, it’s moved to resilient file storage for a pre-determined period, where it can be immediately retrieved and accessed for review. Finally, based on policies set by heads of security, data is moved from file storage to highly secure, low-cost archive storage such as an object, tape or cloud. Data is moved from file storage to highly secure, low-cost archive storage Long-term storage This process is known as tiering. It allows businesses to use reliable, inexpensive long-term storage for most of their data, whilst still enabling security pioneers to retrieve video data when the need arises, such as during a compliance audit, or to review footage following a security breach. In a nutshell, it offers them the best of both worlds. Scaling your video surveillance infrastructure can be a headache. Businesses that rely on NVRs – even high-end units with 64 or even 96 hard drives – are finding themselves running out of capacity increasingly quickly. In order to scale, security pioneers then have to procure new boxes. With NVRs, this inevitably involves a degree of guesswork. Should they go for the largest possible option, and risk over provisioning? Or perhaps a smaller option, and risk running out of capacity again? Common management console Security pioneers can easily add or remove storage capacity or compute resources – separately or together As businesses add new cameras or replace existing ones, many end up with inadequate surveillance infrastructure made up of multiple NVR boxes along with several application servers for running other surveillance functions such as access control, security photo databases, analytics, etc. This patchwork approach leaves security pioneers scrambling for capacity, maintaining various hardware footprints, repeating updates and checks across multiple systems, and taking up valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. By contrast, flexible HCI surveillance platforms aggregate the storage and ecosystem applications to run on the same infrastructure and combine viewing under a common management console, avoiding ‘swivel chair’ management workflows. Plus, they offer seamless scalability. Security pioneers can easily add or remove storage capacity or compute resources – separately or together. Data storage solutions Over time, this ensures a lower total cost of ownership. First and foremost, it removes the risk of over provisioning and helps to control hardware sprawl. This in turn leads to hardware maintenance savings and lower power use. Many security pioneers are now looking beyond simple data storage solutions for their video surveillance footage. Meta tags can provide context around data, making it easier to find and access when needed Instead, they’re asking themselves how analysing this data can enable their teams to work faster, more efficiently and productively. Implementing an end-to-end video surveillance architecture enables users to take advantage of AI and machine learning applications which can tag and enrich video surveillance data. These have several key benefits. Firstly, meta tags can provide context around data, making it easier to find and access when needed. Object storage platform For instance, if security teams are notified of a suspicious red truck, they can quickly find data with this tag, rather than manually searching through hours of data, which can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Plus, meta tags can be used to mark data for future analysis. This means that as algorithms are run over time, policies can be set to automatically store data in the right location. For example, if a video is determined to contain cars driving in and out of your premises, it would be moved to long-term archiving such as an object storage platform for compliance purposes. If, on the other hand, it contained 24 hours of an empty parking lot, it could be wiped. These same meta tags may be used to eventually expire the compliance data in the archive after it is no longer needed based on policy. Video surveillance architecture Continuing to rely on traditional systems like NVRs will fast become unsustainable for businesses Even if your organisation isn’t using machine learning or artificial intelligence-powered applications to enhance your data today, it probably will be one, three, or even five years down the line. Implementing a flexible end-to-end video surveillance solution prepares you for this possibility. With new advances in technology, the quantity of data captured by video surveillance systems will continue rising throughout the coming decade. As such, continuing to rely on traditional systems like NVRs will fast become unsustainable for businesses. Looking forward, when moving to an end-to-end video surveillance architecture, security pioneers should make sure to evaluate options from different vendors. For true futureproofing, it’s a good idea to opt for a flexible, modular solution, which allow different elements to be upgraded to more advanced technologies when they become available.

How can the security industry provide affordable and cost-effective solutions?
How can the security industry provide affordable and cost-effective solutions?

Cost is a reality to be managed. No matter how powerful or desirable a technology may be to a customer, the sale often comes down to the basic question: Can I afford it? And affordability extends not just to the purchase price, but to the cost of technology over its lifespan. In addition to advances in technology capabilities, the security industry has also achieved inroads to make its offerings more worth the cost. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the physical security industry doing to make more affordable and cost-effective technology solutions for end users?