Best Practices for Converging Mobile into the Access Control Planning

Date:   Thursday , June 09, 2016

Founded in 1991 with head office in Austin, Texas, HID Global is the supplier of choice for OEMs, system integrators, and application developers serving a variety of markets, including physical and logical access control, card personalization, eGovernment, cashless payment and industry.

With several developing trends in the New Year, growing demand for a more mobile-centric and satisfying user experience will be the primary driver for security technology innovation in 2016.

The growing security demands in various companies could be a result of company expansion where an access system needs to be flexible enough to grow as the company evolves based on organic growth or as a result of mergers and acquisitions. Notably, there tends to be a difference between the access-control system needs of a small and medium business and that of a large enterprise, with the latter requiring more scalable solution that allow individual access levels and other features. It is important that companies with frequent visitors integrate visitor management solutions into their access control system, which significantly improves issuance of temporary credentials and makes the whole process more efficient and compliant. Temporary employees could be issued with cards with time-limited access. Another possible solution is to issue mobile IDs on smartphones, which are quick and easy to create, for visitors.

There may be multiple features organizations with ageing systems are missing out on, such as higher levels of security and keeping abreast of the latest advancements in credential technology, which are constantly evolving. In fact, innovations are emerging so often that some technologies that were considered state of the art a few years ago are already considered outdated. Newer credential technologies allow for several applications on one physical access card, simplifying the system\'s everyday use for end users.

Also on the rise is the trend in using mobile devices as credentials, facilitating secure and convenient mobile access. To support this some parts of the access control system, such as the readers, may need an upgrade. Finally, it could be necessary to unify credential technology and access control infrastructure as a result of mergers and acquisitions or if there is rapid organic company growth.

Merging Security & Convenience for Consumer Mobility

Mobilizing security will make it more pervasive and personalized: a new, more secure identity lifestyle will be built around the convenience of ever-present mobile devices. Computer and network logon, driver licenses and other applications will more seamlessly join physical security functions on phones, tablets and laptops. Wearables will be the next step, and phones will also work with RFID tags to add security and trust to the IoT for proof-of-presence applications.

Rarely misplaced and consistently in hand, the mobile device has become the most valued technology we own. Using mobile devices to open doors is moving physical access control forward and merges security and convenience. The longer read range with Bluetooth Smart opens up new whole ways to open doors and offers new options for where to place readers. A door can be unlocked upon approach, for a quicker and smoother experience when entering a building. Having Bluetooth Smart-enabled readers in parking garages has proved to be much appreciated; instead of rolling down the car window and reaching out of the window to access a reader, it is now possible to gain effortless access while driving up to the gate. For some types of doors, like conference rooms where multiple readers might be located in close proximity, a tap-like experience with a physical card might be a better option, to ensure that the correct door is opened.

Smartphones are now an integral part of employees\' daily lives. Even if the security manager may just view this as \'just another form factor\', for the end user it makes a substantial difference as it provides a hassle-free access control method, liberating them from the need to carry around a card or token. Smartphones can also store several virtual cards, further reducing the number of cards an individual has to carry.

Smartphones also enable the use of other communication channels like Bluetooth, which brings a new experience to end users. For example, they can now open doors and gates securely from longer distances. Mobile credentials also simplify credential provisioning as there is no need to print and program cards. A digital ID is sent to an employee\'s mobile phone in seconds, wherever the employee is, and it can be revoked remotely.

Considerations When Implementing Mobile Access

When implementing mobile access there are a few things to consider before deciding on the type of reader to invest in. The installed base of mobile devices can affect the technology choice as iPhones 5s and earlier do not support NFC. In organizations with a large base of iPhones, Bluetooth Smart is the only option. The types of doors to be mobile-enabled should also be considered. Parking garages, main entrance doors and elevators can all benefit from a longer read range by increasing convenience for the employees. Areas where many readers are in close proximity to one another should utilize a tap experience to minimize risk of opening the wrong door; both NFC and Bluetooth Smart-enabled readers can support a tap experience.

Mobile access certainly has a potentially significant appeal around enhanced convenience, although this is undermined somewhat by widespread concern that mobile access creates cyber vulnerabilities. However, the industry this year will sharpen its focus on not only what to deploy, but focus exclusively on preventing breaches. The industry will also adopt best practices for controlling what happens afterwards, so stolen identities are useless to thieves.