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The customer is involved in shipping and transportation at a local port, responsible for docking ships, offloading, storage, and distribution of cargo.

Due to the nature of their business, coupled with the constraints and logistics of their physical geography, the property is tightly regulated as to who can, or cannot gain access. In addition to their internal regulations and protocols, they are subject to directives and requirements of the Department of Homeland Security along with the Department of transportation.

As the port expands both in acreage and volume, being able to more thoroughly and accurately identify personnel as they ‘come and go’ becomes increasingly vital.

Challenges

As Securiteam began its discovery and design process, two major issues need to be accounted for:

  • Transportation workers are required to carry a TWIC card, which serves as a means to validate an individual who may be attempting to enter a port area. The TWIC card utilises FIPS technology, a level of data encoding that contains more information than with a standard Weigand output. This data would then be displayed on a monitor at 2 attended guard stations to provide staff with a method of visual verification.
  • The means of Transportation Worker validation would only serve as a first step in the organisation’s overall Physical Access Control System (PACS) deployment. The actual comprehensive access control system would not be installed for 18 months from the completion of the initial phase.

The factors, combined with additional “wants” of the stakeholders (centralised remote management, ease of operation, database migration, video integration, etc…) meant that whatever system installed would by necessity have to be scalable nationally as well as locally.

This could not be treated as a standard “6 doors” access control system. The chosen solution would require creativity as well as technical skill to successfully configure.

Linus based access control solution

Securiteam utilised a Linux-based, embedded access control solution along with FIPS-compliant readers  

Because of the requirements for conclusive validation of identification, Securiteam utilised a Linux-based, embedded access control solution along with FIPS-compliant readers.

These initial appliances have been combined with a server interface to a national TWIC holder database ensuring that the information received by guards at the point of port access is as current and accurate as
possible.

This initial phase has since been incorporated into an overall port access control system which serves not only to validate but to regulate who is granted access where and under what conditions.

Scalable

Having used the system for over 2 years, the client is extremely pleased with how the initial deployment has exceeded their original requirements and expectations.

The scalability of the overall solution has ensured that further deployment can proceed without additional investment in infrastructure or software. Additionally, the database, along with permissions and allowances, can be managed remotely at the corporate headquarters.

Data upgrades

The end-user is that the server is eligible for firmware upgrades when improved technology is available

Finally, the infrastructure will enable the rollout of similar design solutions at other port locations within the area and nationwide. As a person is entered into the system, they can be granted access at any site within the network.

Another benefit for the end-user is that the server is eligible for firmware upgrades when improved technology is available for distribution, ensuring that their technology is never out of date.

Finally, the company was able to pass along to the customer the lower installation costs and economies of scale available with an IP-based solution. As a result, less of their investment dollar went toward labor costs and expendables such as wire and hardware associated with older, less technologically advanced, analog systems, and more was invested in the flexibility of the technology.

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