Embracing and leading change in the access control infrastructure

The ability to embrace the positive aspects of change requires an access-control platform that can meet today’s requirements

Today’s latest access-control solutions minimize disruption during migration through the use of multitechnology smart cards and readers that leverage these extensible and adaptable platforms. Another advance is the availability of encoders that enable organizations to encode and instantly issue cards using a single device. Multitechnology encoders make it easier for organizations to migrate from current technologies.

In the case of HID Global’s iCLASS SE platform, an encoder is available that provides an entirely open solution for encoding multiple credential technologies, including both Genuine HID and third-party credentials, so that users can upgrade their existing card populations for use with iCLASS SE platform readers. For maximum interoperability, the encoder solution supports Seos, iCLASS SE, standard iCLASS, MIFARE Classic and MIFARE DESFire EV1, as well as 125 MHz HID Prox for encoding Prox credentials, and for migrating from HID Prox to high-frequency technologies. Users can seamlessly and easily migrate from one technology to another by simply extracting access-control data from an existing card and writing it to the new credential, without having to manually input data or being encumbered by encoding details. For even higher security, users can “wrap” their access-control data within an SIO and then write it back to the same card. Based on open architecture, the encoder enables SIOs to be added to the full range of supported cards, including MIFARE and DESFire credentials.


Future-Proofing Secure Issuance

In addition to an organization’s foundational access-control card-and-reader platform, it is also important to consider current secure-issuance requirements with an eye to tomorrow. Today’s printers, card materials and software incorporate critical visual and logical technologies so that organizations can implement multilayered validation. There are a number of available hardware choices, including monochrome direct-to-card (DTC) solutions and high-definition printing (HDP) retransfer technology for contactless or contact smart cards. There are also high-throughput solutions that optimize performance and productivity. Today’s desktop card printer/encoder products also give organizations a single solution that can deliver the high-volume reliability and advanced credentialing features of large centralized printers, as well as the lower cost and smaller footprint required for the distributed printing model.

Secure validation is another important consideration. Most ID card issuance systems simply compare the person presenting credentials with identifying data that is displayed on the card. This two-dimensional identifying data may be a simple photo ID or sophisticated elements such as higher-resolution images, or it might be a laser-engraved permanent personalization attribute that makes forgery and alteration virtually impossible. Smart-card chips, magnetic stripes and other digital components add an important third dimension of security. With expanded data storage, cards also can include biometric and other attributes to further enhance validation.

Other elements to consider are speed and convenience. Printers with built-in programmers/encoders combine what previously were multiple processes into a single in-line card-personalization step, significantly boosting issuance speed, convenience and efficiency.


Transition to a New Platform

When is a good time to start the transition? There are many possible entry points from which to begin the migration process, including:

Merger or acquisition: Mergers and acquisitions often involve rebranding and/or merging of disparate administrative and other systems, technologies and processes. Usually at some point in the process, the organization will need to issue new credentials. With the cost of new technology being competitive with legacy systems, this would be a perfect time to migrate to a more secure, sophisticated and capable system.

Standardize on a single card: Due to rapid growth, decentralized administration systems and/or multiple physical locations, an organization may end up with several different access-control systems. Since new technology offers the ability to issue or change credentials remotely, it’s now possible to integrate access control into one system that is centrally managed. Standardizing all locations and employees on one system can increase security and improve resource management. Going a step further to mobile access control delivers the benefits of over-the-air remote provisioning and management of secure identity credentials.