Access Control: Selling the Upgrade

Help your customers embrace change in their access control infrastructure, and how to use dynamic technologies to make it happen

As the security landscape continues to evolve in new and complex ways, it brings change on many levels — which can and should be interpreted as an opportunity for improvement rather than an interruption or a distraction. This concept has never been more important for integrators as they face increasing pressure to deliver greater value and solve more complex problems for their customers.

There are many reasons that organizations often avoid or delay change, including concerns about budget and the impact on productivity and workflow. However, this can be especially dangerous when it comes to access control infrastructure, where a combination of technology obsolescence and escalating security threats can quickly cripple an organization’s ability to protect its people, facilities and data assets.


Persuading the Customer to Make the Leap

The best approach to change is to be proactive, rather than reactive. Organizations should pursue solutions that are dynamic and adaptable to ongoing changes in an organization’s needs and industry best practices. When you approach a customer to change or upgrade their access control infrastructure, you should focus on these three key criteria:

1. Interoperability and leveraging standards: Building an architecture that supports change requires careful attention to the “connections” between architecture components. The goal is interoperability, which delivers economical upgrades and ensures that products are supported with a well-developed channel model for service and support. Users need to understand all of the architecture’s communication dependencies and how standards might be applied.

A prime example is the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) and companion Secure Channel Protocol (SCP) for reader communications — both of which have been standardized by the Security Industry Association (SIA). These protocols replace legacy, unsecured Wiegand technology to provide bi-directional, multi-dropped communication, extending security from the card reader to the access controller. OSDP enables users to re-configure, poll and query readers from a central system, reducing costs and improving reader servicing. The protocol also enables continuous reader-status monitoring, and tamper indication functions for readers with onboard tamper detection capabilities. OSDP also drives new opportunities for innovation, such as by adding advanced display capabilities to readers.

2. Adaptability: Today’s identity ecosystem is significantly more dynamic than in the past. Static legacy systems, such as proximity card technologies, are easy targets for attack and quickly become anchored to obsolete software, devices, protocols and products. In contract, today’s solutions ensure that security is independent of hardware and media so that infrastructures can evolve to support tomorrow’s needs. These solutions also enable smart cards to be portable to smartphones; thus enabling organizations the option to use smart cards, mobile devices or both within their PACS.

3. Simplicity: When we create complex, customized solutions, we may also create a future liability in terms of diminished support and longevity. Leveraging industry standards and best practices will enable customers to take advantage of the expertise of a network of peers who have shared solutions, enabling them to learn from each other.


Making the Transition

There are many possible migration launch points, including mergers/acquisitions, relocation and facility consolidation; or, the trigger might be the need to standardize on a single card, or a corporate re-branding and re-badging. Organizations may also want to add new card applications such as time-and-attendance or secure print management. They may also need to improve risk management, or boost security because of an event, or new client or new regulatory requirements.

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