NAC – Network Access Control

What is NAC and is it right for your business?

Network access control (NAC), also called network admission control, is a method of bolstering the security of a proprietary network by restricting the availability of network resources to endpoint devices that comply with a defined security policy.

NAC

A traditional network access server (NAS) is a server that performs authentication and authorization functions for potential users by verifying logon information. In addition to these functions, NAC restricts the data that each particular user can access, as well as implementing anti-threat applications such as firewalls, antivirus software and spyware-detection programs. network access control also regulates and restricts the things individual subscribers can do once they are connected. Several major networking and IT vendors have introduced network access control products.
NAC is ideal for corporations and agencies where the user environment can be rigidly controlled. However, some administrators have expressed doubt about the practicality of NAC deployment in networks with large numbers of diverse users and devices, the nature of which constantly change. An example is a network for a large university with multiple departments, numerous access points and thousands of users with various backgrounds and objectives.

Getting started with NAC

To explore how NAC is used in the enterprise, here are additional resources:
Network access control — More than endpoint security: Learn how to gauge if your enterprise is ready for network access control (NAC).
NAC — Strengthening your SSL VPN: This tip explores why and how network access control functions are used to strengthen SSLVPNs, and their relationship to industry NAC initiatives.
Compliance in a virtualized world: Server virtualization and NAC security: Server virtualization presents challenges for network security, particularly NAC and compliance issues. Learn what these challenges are and how to overcome them.

Article Provided By:TechTarget

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Access – Peace Sign Pics Could Give Hackers Your Fingerprints

AccessBiometric Access – Finger Prints

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics have claimed they can accurately copy fingerprints from digital photographs, raising fears that the access security of biometric authentication systems could be undermined.

Isao Echizen from the Institute told the Sankei Shimbun that his team was able to copy firngerprints based on photos taken from as far away as three metres, as long as they’re in focus and with strong lighting, AFP reported.

“Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available,” the researcher claimed.

He argued that anyone could do so—without the need for advanced technology.

Social media, especially in Asia, is filled with the images of individuals doing the two-fingered ‘peace’ sign, taken with the increasingly powerful digital cameras found on smartphones.

That could lead to fears over the security of fingerprint-based authentication systems, although it’s not clear how easy it would be to transfer a captured fingerprint into a form which could be used to authenticate.

Researchers famously ‘cracked’ Apple’s TouchID system in the iPhone 5 and 6 models, but the method required a laser-printed image of the fingerprint and then a convoluted process of creating a mould with pink latex milk or white wood glue.

The skill, patience and time needed to do so would deter most criminals.

However, some commentators said the research still serves a valuable purpose in highlighting the problem with static biometric identifiers.

Robert Capps, VP of business development at biometrics firm NuData Security, argued that humans leave fingerprint data behind on everything they touch, adding that researchers have also been able to use photographs to trick iris scanners.

“Once biometric data is stolen and resold on the Dark Web, the risk of inappropriate access to a user’s accounts and identity will persist for that person’s lifetime. As the most stringent of authentication verifications deploy physical biometrics, such as immigration and banking, physical biometric data will become very desirable to hackers,” he argued.

“We can expect more creative attempts by hackers to capture this information. The benefit of passive behavioural biometrics is that the information used to uniquely identify a user is passively collected and dynamically analyzed, and has an extremely limited shelf life of usefulness—making theft and successful reuse of raw behavioural signals nearly impossible.”

For consumers, another option would be to wait two years until the NII launches a new transparent film currently in development, which is designed to hide the wearer’s fingerprints.

Article Provded By: Info Security Magazine

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Cost of data breaches increasing to average of $3.8 million

data breaches

Data Breaches

The cost of data breaches is rising for companies around the world as sophisticated thieves target valuable financial and medical records, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The total average cost of a data breach is now $3.8 million, up from $3.5 million a year ago, according to a study by data security research organization Ponemon Institute, paid for by International Business Machines Corp.

The direct costs include hiring experts to fix the breach, investigating the cause, setting up hotlines for customers and offering credit monitoring for victims. Business lost because customers are wary after a breach can be even greater, the study said.

Data breaches are becoming more common and significant, with high-profile attacks on Sony Corp, JPMorgan Chase and retailers Target Corp and Home Depot Inc in the past year and a half.

“Most of what’s occurring is through organized crime,” said Caleb Barlow, vice president of IBM Security. “These are well-funded groups. They work Monday to Friday. They are probably better funded and better staffed than a lot people who are trying to defend against them.”

IBM, which sells cyber-security services to companies, has a vested interest in highlighting the costs of data breaches.

The cost of a data breach is now $154 per record lost or stolen, up from $145 last year, according to the study, based on interviews with 350 companies from 11 major countries that had suffered a data breach.

The study’s authors said average costs did not apply to mega-breaches affecting millions of customers, such as those suffered by JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot, which cost the companies far greater sums. Target alone said last year its breach cost $148 million.

The study found that the healthcare was most at risk for costly breaches, with an average cost per record lost or stolen as high as $363, more than twice the average for all sectors of $154.

That reflects the relatively high value of a person’s medical records on the underground market, said IBM, as Social Security information is much more useful for identity theft than simple names, addresses or credit card numbers.

Article Provided By: Reuters

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Why Your Business Needs a Security System

Today’s Security System are not just Bells and Whistles.

It’s a new age for Security Systems and Technology, with today’s systems employing many different kinds of technology. Technology like, Surveillance Cameras, Access Control, devices for the Networking of building systems, Fire Alarms, and Monitoring.

Access Control

Security

Any mechanism or system that manages access through the authorization or revocation of rights to physical or logical assets within an organization is considered access control. Great definition right! But why do I need access control? Well, there can be many different reasons why a company or property owner could need access control. Here are just a few.

  • Who is in the Building.  Know who is in your facility, manage their level of access and meet regulatory compliance objectives.
  • A safe environment for tenants, employees, visitors, and contractors. Protect people, facilities, networks, and assets.
  • Control access to highly secure areas.  Solutions can be designed to protect your facilities that require a higher level security. Areas with sensitive data, networks, and critical or high-value information.
  • Commercial fleet fueling stations. RFID enabled fueling automation system to monitor and control commercial fleet fuel access, cost, and billing.

Cameras

The cameras are most often used for security, but they can also be used for building management. If there’s a broken window, trash left in the hallways (like a couch or old bed), tenants walking pets around the buildings social areas and leaving a mess (you can guess what kind), all of these and more can be monitored with Security Cameras to better help the property manager/owner manage the property or properties if you have more than one location.

Tenants who engage in any kind of misbehavior are caught on camera, identified and can be warned or fined for their actions. Once tenants and their visitors realize they can’t get away with the inappropriate behavior, it will stop. This translates to significant savings in operational costs for the property owners and justifies the cost of the cameras.

Fire Alarms and Monitoring

If there is a fire, a break-in, or if someone pushes a panic button, an alarm monitoring team is aware of it the moment it happens. Emergency agencies can be called into action immediately – police, fire, ambulance, or any necessary support services are filled in on the details about your home or business, and the designated contact is called. All of this happens within minutes of the alarm.

So, Why?

There are many reasons to have a Security System, and security companies try to plan for your needs. But it’s the things in life that happen that you least except that generate the need for a Security System.

So, Why do you need a Security System? Put simply, a Security System is your plan to handle the worst of what life throws at you.

By: Lance Roberts

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Home Automation: A Beginner’s Guide

What if all the devices in your life could connect to the Internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, garage doors, speakers, lights, doors, windows, window blinds, door bells, hot water heaters, appliances, you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It’s not science fiction; it’s the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s a key component of home automation.

Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive. Others, like advanced surveillance cameras, may require a more serious investment of time and money.

Still, imagine monitoring your home using an interface on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, or even panels mounted around the house. It’s like going from using the Clapper to beaming up to the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Home automation is going mainstream. Your house is going to get smart, no matter what. Get in on the ground floor and become the family home automation expert. Here’s how to get started.

Home-Automation Technologies

Before you buy a bunch of home-automation products, it helps to understand the technologies involved in setting up and using them. These products use many different communication protocols. Some are wired, some wireless, and some are a combination. Try to stick with one protocol when buying products, or get a hub/gateway that supports multiple protocols.

X10
x10This granddaddy of home automation protocols dates back to the 1970s and has gone from power line-based to wireless. X10 is not known for robust speed or great communication between units on the home automation network. It is, however, typically inexpensive.


ZigBee
ZigBee is a wireless 802 standard from the IEEE, which is to say, a bunch of gearheads came up with it before an outside group (the ZigBee Alliance) made up of vendors created products that use it. One of the key elements in IEEE 802.15.4 (its real name) is that it makes a mesh network so that most of the devices communicate equally. It’s also very low power. (You may also hear about Thread, a new wireless protocol that uses the same radio chips and frequency at ZigBee, and connects up to 250 devices in a home to the cloud.)


Z-Wave
Another wireless home automation protocol, Z-Wave is owned by one company, Sigma Designs, which makes all the chips for other vendors to make Z-Wave-capable products, known as the Z-Wave Alliance.


Insteon
This may be the best of all protocols because it combines a wired power line-based protocol with wireless. Both work as a mesh; all nodes on an Insteon home automation network are peers that can communicate when in proximity. If one fails, the other mesh can take over. You can buy Insteon devices at Smarthome.com, which is run by SmartLabs, the developers of Insteon. It’s compatible with X10.


Wi-Fi
This is the networking protocol we’re all used to for sharing an Internet connection among laptops, game consoles, and so much more. It’s super-fast and ubiquitous. So, of course, it’s inevitable that some vendors would make home automation products to take advantage of it. The other protocols use less power and bandwidth but Wi-Fi’s reach can’t be understated, even if it is overkill to use it to turn a lamp on and off.


Bluetooth
A staple of every PC, smartphone, and tablet, Bluetooth is better known for connecting items at a short range like keyboards, mice, headphones, and earbuds. But a lot of new products use the Bluetooth 4.0, aka Bluetooth Low Energy, aka Bluetooth Smart. It doesn’t require purposeful re-connection all the time, making it a good solution for select IoT items.


Top-Rated Home Automation Products

Just as there are many home automation protocols, there are many product categories, so you can control everything from lights and temperature to locks and security in your home. Here’s a quick rundown of our favorites.

 

Hubs

Samsung SmartThings Hub

Samsung SmartThings Hub / Home Automation


Our current Editors’ Choice for home automation hubs, the Samsung SmartThings Hub$99.00 at Amazon box works with devices that use Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It got major improvements after Samsung bought SmartThings, including support for video surveillance cameras. Get it as a standalone box or as a $249 starter kit with monitors for temperature and vibration. There are 200 products that work with SmartThings.

 


 

Surveillance Cameras

Icontrol Networks Piper nv

Icontrol Networks Piper nv Security Camera

Piper nv$272.98 at Amazon is surveillance camera you can watch remotely from an iOS or Android device, perfect for keeping an eye on the house, the pets, even as a baby monitor. But it’s a lot more than that. It’s also a Z-Wave controller, monitoring all sorts of sensors to give you household control no matter where you are. The camera is excellent, with pan, tilt, and zoom functions plus sharp night vision and two-way audio.

 


 

Controllers

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

Is this Bluetooth speaker really all that when it comes to home automation or controls? It can be, and will only get better. Echo$179.99 at Amazon, Amazon’s voice-controlled audio concierge, pair with Web automation service IFTTT to control home devices like a thermostat or lights, via recipes you can create yourself. It might take a little work, but soon your house could be entirely controlled by the sound of your voice.

 

Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home

Harmony Ultimate Home

Don’t like talking and prefer to push buttons? Our review calls the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home$215.99 at Amazon the “ultimate universal remote” for a reason. It controls a lot more than just TV and stereo. The pricey unit connects with the included Harmony Home Hub that talks via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or infrared (you pay a little more to add ZigBee and Z-Wave connectivity).

 


 

Heating and Cooling

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat $195.99 at Amazon is like a piece of digital art that controls your temperature. It was, after all, designed by the guys who created the iPod. It has built-in Wi-Fi so you can remotely control the temperature from phone, tablet, or PC. It’s not cheap, but Nest will look right at home in any smart house. Plus, Nest Labs (owned by Alphabet, parent company of Google), also makes networkable smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors$99.99 at Best Buy that talk to you rather than blare alarms.

 

Ecobee3 Smart WiFi Thermostat

Nice as the Nest is, it’s not our top pick. The Editors’ Choice goes to theEcobee3$249.00 at Amazon. It’s a stylish device you can control remotely. Best of all, it’s not dependent on just monitoring home temperature from one spot—it checks multiple sensors in multiple rooms.

 


 

Lighting

Philips Hue Connected Bulb

Philips Hue Lux

Want complete wireless supremacy over the lights in your home? Philips Hue $154.99 at Amazon delivers with bulbs that you control not only the intensity of the light, but also the color. It’s expensive to be sure, but the Hue ecosystem has been around long enough that it works with just about every other system out there, from Amazon Echo to IFTTT (If This Then That) to Siri (using the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0). If you want a cheaper price of entry, try the off-white-light only Philips Hue Lux Starter Kit $79.99 at Dell for half the price. The Hue apps can even control third-party smart bulbs. Philips sells a number of other Hue products, including table lamps, a suspension lamp, and the interest Philips Hue Go portable smart light.

 


Locks and Home Security Systems

Schlage Sense

Schlage Sense

There are a lot of smart locks/deadbolts on the market now, but our favorite is the newSense$209.99 at Amazon from longtime lock maker Schlage. It’s pricey, but easy to install, works with iPhones (via Siri voice control), and will let in only who you specify. You can also just use the touchpad on the front to unlock the door.

 

Vivint

Vivint Line Up 2016

Vivint used to be APX Alarm Security Solutions, but now has a cool name to go along with expanding beyond security into home automation. We gave four stars to its Vivint Sky$49.99 at Vivint, which includes subscription-based remote monitoring by pros that costs from $50 to $70 per month and a panel in your home for controlling it yourself. It doesn’t beat our favorite self-installed home security system (the iSmartAlarm Premium $299.00 at Amazon), but if you want pro-installation and an extra set of eyes, Vivint is an excellent choice. It can even be controlled with the Amazon Echo.

 

SimpliSafe Home Security System

SimpliSafe Home Security System Keypad

If you prefer to stick to a DIY approach to smartening up the home, check out the SimpliSafe system $259.95 at Amazon. While it lacks a camera, it makes up for that with reasonable prices with monthly monitoring of a wide range of sensors. It comes in five different packages, so you can get exactly what’s right for your home.

 


Outdoors

Rachio Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller

Rachio Monitor

It’s not much to look at, but the Rachio Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller $249.00 at Home Depot can make sure you water your lawn only when needed—even if you’re not home. It works with IFTTT to make sure the droplets only come out when the weather calls for it.

Article Provided By: PC

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Network security primer: What is access control?

What is access control?

access control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During its testimony on security weaknesses among federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office detailed a number of critical elements that make up effective protection systems.

The GAO offered a look at what it considers to be the six critical elements in an access control system:

Boundary protection: Boundary protection controls logical connectivity into and out of networks and controls connectivity to and from devices that are connected to a network. For example, multiple firewalls can be deployed to prevent both outsiders and trusted insiders from gaining unauthorized access to systems, and intrusion detection and prevention technologies can be deployed to defend against attacks from the Internet.

User identification and authentication: A computer system must be able to identify and authenticate different users so that activities on the system can be linked to specific individuals. When an organization assigns a unique user account to specific users, the system is able to distinguish one user from another—a process called identification. The system also must establish the validity of a user’s claimed identity by requesting some kind of information, such as a password, that is known only by the user—a process known as authentication.

Multifactor authentication involves using two or more factors to achieve authentication. Factors include something you know (password or personal identification number), something you have (cryptographic identification device or token), or something you are (biometric). The combination of identification and authentication provides the basis for establishing accountability and for controlling access to the system.

Authorization: Authorization is the process of granting or denying access rights and permissions to a protected resource, such as a network, a system, an application, a function, or a file. For example, operating systems have some built-in authorization features such as permissions for files and folders. Network devices, such as routers, may have access control lists that can be used to authorize users who can access and perform certain actions on the device.

Authorization controls help implement the principle of “least privilege, “which the National Institute of Standards and Technology describes as allowing only authorized accesses for users (or processes acting on behalf of users) which are necessary to accomplish assigned tasks in accordance with organizational missions and business functions.

Cryptography: Cryptography underlies many of the mechanisms used to enforce the confidentiality and integrity of critical and sensitive information. Examples of cryptographic services are encryption, authentication, digital signature, and key management. Cryptographic tools help control access to information by making it unintelligible to unauthorized users and by protecting the integrity of transmitted or stored information.

Auditing and Monitoring: To establish individual accountability, monitor compliance with security policies, and investigate security violations, it is necessary to determine what, when, and by whom specific actions have been taken on a system. Agencies do so by implementing software that provides an audit trail, or logs of system activity, that they can use to determine the source of a transaction or attempted transaction and to monitor users’ activities.

Physical security: Physical security controls help protect computer facilities and resources from espionage, sabotage, damage, and theft. Examples of physical security controls include perimeter fencing, surveillance cameras, security guards, locks, and procedures for granting or denying individuals physical access to computing resources.

Physical controls also include environmental controls such as smoke detectors, fire alarms, extinguishers, and uninterruptible power supplies. Considerations for perimeter security include controlling vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In addition, visitors’ access to sensitive areas is to be managed appropriately.

Article Provided By: Networkworld

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Mobile Access Control from HID

Mobile Access

Are you ready to embrace the sweeping change mobile technologies have brought to access control? HID Global’s award-winning HID Mobile Access ® solutions allow organizations to tailor access control solutions to meet the growing demands of a mobile-first world.

mobile access

HID Mobile Access ® introduces a new era of convenience and functionality to access control. Breakthrough technologies meet the growing demands of a smarter, mobile-first world — while instilling confidence that identity data is secure and privacy is protected.

  • More Choice – Mobile technology is being leveraged at a rapid pace. The freedom to move access control to phones, tablets, wristbands, watches and other wearables is a matter of end-user preference. HID Mobile Access supports the widest variety of mobile devices in the industry today, or it can be used in addition to traditional card access.
  • More Applications – Managing identity in the organization is changing; IT departments, Security and Facility Management are working toward the development of consolidated access programs. HID Mobile Access enables more than one secure identity to reside in a smart device –creating a single device solution for physical and logical access control.
  • More Confidence – HID Mobile Access, powered by breakthrough credential technologies, is based on ISO standards used by the U.S. government and other organizations globally to encrypt classified or sensitive data, providing unprecedented security and privacy protection of identity data.

Mobile has become the go-to technology of the new millennium, offering convenience and portability. In light of these developments, leveraging mobile technology to access doors, parking facilities and gates – not to mention networks and other enterprise applications and much more – is a logical step in the evolution of access control.

HID Global is extending access control functionality to a mobile device allows end-users to securely and conveniently access the workplace using their smart device that is almost always on-hand. From the parking gate, to the door, to the network and more, HID Mobile Access can help organizations meet the growing demand for convenience in a mobile-first world.

Article Provided By: HID Global

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Access Control Solutions – How Security Integrators Can Guide Clients

Access Control

Access Control Solutions

Electronic access control has become the security solution of choice for commercial facilities around the world. Its growing popularity has resulted in an unprecedented number of options to enhance security, which can have the unfortunate side effect of making clients feel overwhelmed by the selection process.

As a result, it’s more important than ever for security consultants to function as trusted advisers who can help their clients successfully navigate the difficult process of finding the right products for their specific needs. Your expertise can play a critical role in helping customers understand the many factors that they need to consider, including facility age, credential management platform and protocols, budget and long-term security strategy.

However, it’s important to remember that anyone can sell products, but if you want to build the trust necessary to cultivate long-term clients, your primary goal should always be to provide the best solutions for their needs.

Communication is Key

Communication will play a crucial role throughout this process. You will need to identify the customer’s long-term goals as well as any special considerations or limitations. Some clients may know what they want, and it will be your responsibility to point out any discrepancies between what they want versus what is actually needed.

A security crisis is often the catalyst that prompts clients to install or upgrade their access control system. Many people’s first reaction is to try and solve the problem quickly. However, before rushing into a decision, it is important to get the right people together for a planning meeting to develop a practical solution that aligns with their building, their budget, how the system will be used and by whom.

Another issue that must be considered during planning — and your clients may not have thought of — is the demands access control will place on bandwidth and internal networks, so it makes good business sense to involve the IT department early. Taking a collaborative approach will allow you to confirm that the IT infrastructure is up-to-date and all products will be equipped to work in the future.

“I’ve seen the best success when a company’s security and IT leaders are involved from the beginning. They set the tone for working together and jointly developing a solution,” says Erik Larsen, National Integrator Account Manager at Allegion. “When security understands the IT infrastructure – and, how, for example, the addition of locks or cameras impacts the network – and, on the other side, when IT understands the liability and reputation risks of not having the proper security solution in place, that’s when they can move forward implementing the right solution.”

Start With a Plan

During the planning meeting, it is important to discuss the issues that most impact which solution will be selected, including:

  • The access control system’s anticipated use and its overall intent
  • The necessary policies and procedures for access control
  • How the implementation of access control fits into the company’s overall security plan
  • The barriers and limitations to implementation

During the planning phase, you may find yourself asking questions your client has never considered before. Your guidance can help lead them toward a solution that works for them and one they feel confident using. Here are some examples of what to discuss early on to ensure the most optimal outcome:

  • What are your current lockdown procedures?
  • How long does it take to lock down?
  • Do you practice lockdown?
  • How many users will your system have?
  • Do your users have varying security levels?
  • Do you have a crisis management plan?
  • Who manages your security?
  • How do people move through the building on a daily basis?
  • How do people move through the building after hours and/or on weekends?
  • What are your goals for electronic access control solution?

Because today’s systems frequently extend access control into parking garages, warehouses, storage units and other areas, planning must also take into account the potential needs of the system outside the main building. Expanding the security perimeter can provide even greater security, management and convenience, but it requires careful evaluation and credential planning.

Continue reading

The Advantages of Choosing a Wireless Access Control System

Access Control

access control

“WE LIKE TO LEVERAGE the benefits of wireless,” says Paul Ahern, president of Cypress Computer Systems in Lapeer, Mich. “Wireless lets you keep more of what could be spent on installation in your own pocket. Instead of having your customer’s money go to someone else for trenching, electrical, cabling or other labor overhead, it all gets spent with you, usually leading to more of your own product being sold.”

Wireless systems let customers achieve wired system benefits without the cost of hardwired systems. Installing wireless typically is faster than implementing a traditional hardwired solution. When wanting to retrofit older buildings with new access control systems, a wireless solution may be the only viable option you can use. Also, wireless readers are not limited to doors — wireless solutions exist for exit devices, gates and elevators. Wireless systems work with most of today’s access control systems.

Existing ID credentials will work with the new wireless solution. Access privilege changes and audit records are available at the central control terminal, all from a common database, which simplifies data entry and management. This also eliminates the need to go door to door to upload changes and download records, making wireless locksets a good alternative to offline, standalone locking systems. In addition, all wireless transmissions are typically encoded and may use AES128-bit private keys for heightened security.

Popular Applications That Scream for Wireless

According to Ahern, the most popular uses of wireless are in those situations where companies decide to extend the perimeters of their facilities. “With a wireless access control system, you can easily extend their solution up to 10,000 feet,” he says. “That’s almost two miles!”

Ahern says Cypress access control specialists recommend wireless for connecting to parking lots; extending the access system across the road, railroad tracks or river; creating temporary reader installation at a construction site; and where it is simply undesirable to trench, cable or pull wire.

“We are seeing wireless devices used the most in K-12 education spaces to secure individual classroom doors,” reports Rick Caruthers, executive vice president, Galaxy Control Systems. “It seems that the overall cost of a wireless reader now allows users to consider doors for access control that were otherwise considered cost prohibitive.

“The main concerns we find are controlling visitors, securing perimeter doors and creating emergency lockdown,” adds Caruthers. “We also find that wireless locks are making it more affordable for school systems to consider devices for each classroom door where, in the past, typical locking hardware proved to be too costly. Wireless also benefits dealers and integrators themselves. The number of doors installed increases due to the lower cost of a wireless device versus a traditionally secured door and the extra components and labor needed to install it.”

Access Control

Marinas are a good example of a wireless access control application, here being used throughout a waterfront boat storage area from entrances to docks to use of fish cranes.

Education is also a good market for Kastle Systems of Falls Church, Va., as well. The company targets the school market and has developed an integrated security solution for educational institutions that employs the latest advances in technology, including wireless access control. “Wireless access control provides better cost, convenience and aesthetics than many wired solutions. Plus, you are eliminating the old metal keys for more advanced access cards,” emphasizes Nikhil Shenoy, director of product marketing for Kastle. “Anywhere that you find a lot of doors within a contained suite or space, wireless could be a better alternative than wired. We use wireless tech on interior rooms in commercial real estate settings, whether it is the door to a bathroom, office, copy room, mechanical or communications closets, or meeting room as it reduces the cost and labor of wiring traditional carded systems. Wireless is a great solution for resident doors in multifamily buildings. For instance, we just finished a 375-resident door, multifamily wireless project in New York City.”

“Where we get the ‘oos and ahhs’ with wireless is with our handheld wireless mobile readers,” adds Ahern. “They are used to read credentials in applications where it just would not be practical to use a fixed reader. Whenever we offer one to a prospect who uses it for the first time, we always get a big smile.”

According to Ahern, the top prospects are places where an organization wants to check IDs of people in trucks and buses, verify staff attendees at training centers, create an access point away from buildings or establish emergency assembly points and muster stations.

Entry is basic to access control systems at marinas both small and big. For instance, the Blue Water Yacht Club in Sausalito (Calif.) uses its system to control a vehicle gate, dock gate and two restroom doors while a Miami Beach (Fla.) marina uses its system to control many dock gates, restrooms and parking garages. The Port of Everett (Wash.) consists of a hodge-podge of legacy systems that have been integrated into a security system with in excess of 60 access points in an area greater than 3.5 acres that features links up to a mile apart. Continue reading

Unlocking the Door to Cloud – Based Access Control

 

Unlocking the Door to Cloud-Based Access Control

Cloud – Based Access Control

Advancements in the computing landscape are driving the adoption of more and more cloud – hosted offerings in security. Integrators seeking to grow their business into new markets or by offering new solutions can turn to access control as a solution (ACaaS) as their catalyst.
 Less than a decade ago, if anyone was referring to “the cloud” in conversation, chances were it had something to do with the weather. Today, discussions on the cloud are springing up everywhere, including the ever-evolving security industry, but in most cases, the meteorological forecast is an afterthought.

The cloud, or in more technical terms, cloud computing, refers to the concept of hosting applications on servers located in large, public datacenters where, through real-time connectivity such as the Internet, a provider can then offer access to the applications as a service. So instead of having a software platform on a local PC, the platform and database are hosted in the cloud, with no onsite software required. Then, users access their data and other functionality via a mobile or Web app, and in most cases, pay a fee to use this service.

In the physical security industry, the cloud has become an increasingly prevalent topic of discussion, where some still voice apprehensions, but where others eagerly advocate their support and interest. And although cloud-based applications have been around for some time and seen success in other industries, advancements in the computing landscape are driving the adoption of more and more cloud-hosted offerings in security. One of the leading areas of emergence is access control.

A Look at the Cloud Today

Factors like the increasing availability of faster and more affordable Internet connectivity and the expansion of global state-of-the-art public datacenters are also contributing to wider acceptance, suggesting cloud-based security systems are becoming more accessible, cost-effective and reliable than ever before. Similarly, the security mechanisms put in place by cloud providers to secure the platform from logical security threats such as hackers are also becoming better. In fact, cloud platforms are often more secure than the servers that some organizations have at their own facilities.

Another major factor that has contributed to the growing number of cloud-based security offerings is the inherent mobility available through such offerings. A growing number of end users no longer want to be tethered to a desktop PC or laptop to access their security system. Instead, they appreciate the convenience of using apps via their smartphones or tablets when they need immediate access. Extending mobility to these users means delivering solutions that they can interact with from anywhere.

Today, a cloud offering category that has been receiving attention in the security industry is video surveillance as a service, or VSaaS. With vendors now offering fully hosted solutions, VSaaS is essentially lowering the barrier to purchasing an IP system by reducing upfront costs and complexities for end users, while boosting recurring monthly revenues (RMR) for the integrator.

For the end user who wants to secure their organization but does not want the burden and costs sometimes associated with housing, maintaining and cooling servers, or for those with limited IT resources or expertise, choosing a fully-hosted cloud package is a very attractive solution. They also benefit from mobility aspect, being able to pull up video and handle alarms from any device connected to the Internet.

Similarly, integrators who are not necessarily interested in deploying and supporting security applications involving complex infrastructures, can now look at fully-hosted cloud offerings as an easy-to-install option that lets them focus on other core services or competencies. While helping to streamline and simplify operations for the integrator, cloud-based solutions can also serve as a new opportunity to expand their market share by encouraging the swap from older analog systems to powerful IP-based video technology.

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