Security , technology

Access control technology experts share the latest global trends

Access control technology experts share the latest global trends

A team of global sales leaders had a round table about the latest trends in access control and the accompanying best practice. Their discussion is summarised here: 

Pat Alvaro (Canada), Bill Barbagiannakos (Australia), Jacky Chow (Asia), Shaun Gardner (New Zealand), Jon Jorundsson (EMEA), and John King (USA) from manufacturer ICT came together to share ideas and discuss the direction that security and access control is heading.

Despite their geographical differences, the conversation highlighted many similarities, including the three main trends we’ll explore in this article: open integration, device security and smart credentials. 

Open integration 

Interoperability is on people’s minds when they’re choosing an access control system. By making integration simple and seamless, installers and end-users alike can get a complete picture of their site security.

While uptake on integrations has been slower across Asia, Jon Jorundsson says, “Being able to integrate access control solutions is quickly becoming best practice in Europe.” 

That may be why integrations are also gaining traction in New Zealand and Australia. Bill Barbagiannakos comments that, “The move to a one-card solution with DESFire (the global open standard for securing credentials on contactless cards) has been a game changer. It creates a simple solution for shared buildings or takeovers. People can now have one card that is able to be read by multiple readers – including hardwired, wireless, third-party, and legacy models. There’s no need to carry multiple cards, which means less friction for users.”

In tandem with a move to wireless locks, Shaun Gardner says that he’s also seeing interest in a shift to other wireless devices and alarm systems. 

Securing devices 

More attention is being paid to the integrity of the security systems. What level of encryption do the devices use, if they have any at all? Wiegand technology (a standard technology protocol used in wiring for card readers and sensors) may have been state of the art in the 1980s but it’s unable to meet modern security demands due to its particularly vulnerable nature. As more people become aware of the flaws, best practice for what protocols readers use has changed.

One solution to improve security is the encryption and interoperability provided by the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP). While regions like Europe and Australia now see OSDP becoming commonplace, John King explains why it’s a different situation in America. “It’s a slow progression,” he says. “Many people will use the existing wiring when taking over projects, which can leave sites open to security risks.” 

Pat Alvaro recommends that sites “Move away from Wiegand and onto encrypted RS-485 connections: both OSDP and RS-485 protocols use the highest encryption standards. These methods provide the best level of security, as well as better programming flexibility when utilising ICT multi-technology readers, as parameters can be set for the reader, such as having the LED lights flash yellow when the site is in lockdown.” 

Smarter Credentials 

More people are thinking about how secure their access credentials are. Easily hacked and cloned, proximity cards are no longer the credential of choice as the benefits of MIFARE DESFire technology become clearer. While across the world, mobile credentials are quickly catching on due to ease of use and inherent risk mitigation. A lost phone is noticed more quickly than a lost card.

Pat Alvaro says, “Previously, the biggest barrier was price and performance, but as technology has matured and refined, prox cards and mechanical lock and keys are going out the window.” He says this is especially true for residential buildings across Canada. 

 “Property managers see the benefits of not having to manage several different keys or needing to rekey the entire building every time a tenant fails to bring theirs back. Smart credentials like DESFire or mobile can save property managers time and money, while also ensuring only authorised tenants and visitors have access to the building.”

Shaun Gardner commented on multi-factor authentication (MFA) and how this can be built in to mobile credentials. “Not only do most smartphones require a biometric or passcode to open them, the best access control apps are additionally secured using MFA, with a PIN needed to enter the app and shake to unlock or pattern drawing to send the credential to the reader.” 

Across Asia, Jacky Chow says, “Biometric and face recognition systems continue to be best practice for high-security sites. While biometric credential use has waned recently due to COVID-19, for high-security areas they’re still the credential of choice as they can’t be lost or cloned.”

These trends have come from thinking about customer needs and their future requirements. While we can’t predict exactly where security is headed, by understanding trends and having discussions such as this, we can ensure we keep working to future-proof security solutions for all users. And by educating them on best practices, we can help customers move towards a more robust, integrated security solution.