PKI Toolkit for Access Control
Tumbleweed Communications is a recognized leader in providing secure Internet communication solutions for enterprises and government. Tumbleweed provides security solutions for e-mail protection, file transfers, and identity validation that allow organizations to safely conduct business over the Internet.
In 2004 Tumbleweed turned its attention to how its technology could be applied to physical security, in an effort to help organizations that were trying to use a single smart card-based system for both IT and physical access control. One result is a Tumbleweed toolkit that allows manufacturers to add PKI capabilities to access control software, access control panels and card readers. Tumbleweed provides a white paper about bridging physical and logical security at its Web site.
Isonas Inc. started in 1999 in Niwot, CO, to provide card readers that were compatible with cards from multiple manufacturers, including HID proximity cards. In 2001 Isonas became the first company to provide a panel-free, computer network-based security access control system that operated on an existing corporate LAN or WAN. Today, Isonas offers multi-protocol technology with IP-based readers (both wired and wireless) designed to stand alone or connect via a TCP/IP network to a Windows PC running the Isonas security management software.
Isonas eliminated the need for a separate access control panel by moving the cardholder database and door control functionality into the reader itself. This necessitated the strengthening of the readers, including the addition of advanced tamper-detection features that prevent access to the door control connections. A purely IP-based reader system that uses existing network infrastructure without the cost of separate access control panels can provide a significant cost reduction. Such systems should be attractive to IT solution providers, who can leverage the IT infrastructures they provide.
Security Monitoring Appliances
NetBotz, whose U.S. headquarters are in Austin, TX, currently has more than 2,000 customers using its security monitoring network appliances. In February of this year NetBotz introduced Surveillance, a Web-accessible application that runs on the NetBotz central server. Surveillance hosts a centralized data warehouse for images and clips captured by NetBotz monitoring appliances and third-party cameras. Users can quickly find and play back surveillance clips of interest and discard irrelevant archived video data. Especially when used with PoE cameras, NetBotz appliances facilitate the cost-effective expansion of security monitoring as IT infrastructure expands.
Until recently, most security system integrations revolved around coupling databases, or outputting “access granted” and “access denied” transactions via serial or printer ports. These integrations were very project-specific. A small percentage of interfaces used distributed component object modem or object request brokers based on the CORBA specification. These integrations were static and could not automatically adapt to changes in the systems with which they were integrated.
To provide more flexibility and greater cost effectiveness than previous static integrations, the IT world took a new approach called Web services. A Web service is application or business logic that is accessible using standard Internet protocols. The standard protocols of Web services enable them to provide black-box functionality that can be used and reused without regard to how the service is implemented.
Web Services can be dynamically composed into applications stemming from capabilities looked up at runtime instead of being fixed by traditional static binding. Larger services can be built on top of sets of smaller services. The dynamic nature of the collaborations allow the implementations to be platform- and programming language-neutral, and communications mechanism-independent, while creating innovative products, processes and value chains. This is referred to as services-oriented architecture, and it is the architecture of the future for security system integrations. More information is available at www.webservices.org.