4 Hazards to Heed Merging Enterprise Security With Client Apps

Security integrators need to know the challenges of merging enterprise security with client software to resolve issues effectively.

The advantages of integrating an enterprise security platform with a customer’s human resources or time management platform are enormous. Through certified integration of both systems, administrators are able to send and receive real-time information updates from the enterprise security applications, and thus can more readily grant access to new hires, cancel access when required or simply provide reporting of user activity.

In today’s global enterprise deployments, clients can easily exceed 500,000 cardholders that must be managed, so this synchronization of information becomes crucial for accurate reporting and maintaining that all and only authorized personnel are allowed access to a customer’s facilities. In order to achieve this level of integration between enterprise security applications and client software, third-party active software program links, such as Oracle’s PeopleSoft Human Capital Management applications, are the types of common interface software being deployed.

Obstacles Include Communication & Database Issues

The following are challenges often experienced when attempting to integrate HR and enterprise access control. Awareness of these challenges can promote proactive, strong communication between a client’s HR department, IT personnel and the security integrator, thus resolving these issues to provide effectively integrated client and enterprise security control platforms.

  • A perception exists in the security and IT industries that integrators lack the expertise to manage and deploy an inter-face, such as PeopleSoft, to merge HR and enterprise security platforms. In reality, most integrators don’t have staff members that possess the same, applicable credentials as a client’s internal IT personnel. Because of this, integrators are often “locked out” by customer IT teams, concerned with data conduits to “foreign systems” that could potentially bring down the entire revenue production cycle.
  • That being said, communication between each of these par-ties is key, and there is often the issue of being able to success-fully coordinate all stakeholders together from HR, IT and security in order to define clear business rules of operation. With bidirectional capability, stakeholders may require multiple data conduits to link security access systems beyond the firewall, both internally externally. Thus, isolated servers operating on more than one subnet can be disconnected and without notification, and will not receive updates – which could result in catastrophe. For integrators, a vital step in the successful deployment of an enterprise access control system and human capital management software heavily relies on working closely with and obtaining the approval of customer IT personnel.

     

  • When linking both the enterprise access control solution and HR database, difficulties may arise in effectively matching users’ input in one system to their corresponding identities in the other. Often there is not a unique identifier (e.g. an employee ID number) in both systems to easily allow for users to be positively matched across the two systems. In large-scale businesses, it is also not uncommon to have individuals with the same first and last name and no other data available to differentiate them. In these situations, it’s critical for clients to create structure throughout the business in order to establish specific identifiers coordinated throughout both platforms.
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  • Linking these systems, while ultimately incredibly beneficial, also opens clients up to the possibility of dealing with in-compatible or corrupt data. During the transition, information may have been incorrectly entered due to user error or may not have been updated as needed (e.g. due to departmental and organizational changes, or including information for someone who is no longer with the company). There must be a process for validating or eliminating questionable data. Clients often operate with multiple access control manufacturers and require each equipment type to integrate with multiple HR platforms.
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  • Clients must find a source of ongoing support to maintain the active software link between both systems. Even after the interface is up and running, any changes to either the HR system or the access control system network configuration may require changes to the interface between the affected appliances. Unanticipated data or changes in procedures may also require updates to the interface and implemented business rules. Integrators can assist in this process by partnering with IT resources at the internal level to create a single standard of support across both plat-forms for future growth and expansion requirements.

    From all fronts, integrators must be proactive in their efforts to become an active part of the entire IT solution. The need for the security industry to keep up with new network technology as large customers continue to upgrade and expand the network and security infrastructure is constantly on the rise – but no matter what, it’s all about communication. Establishing a forum for proactive communication with all concerned parties will ensure a positive outcome and effectively deployed solution.

  • About the Author

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    Bob Stockwell pens Security Sales & Integration’s “IT Intelligence” column, which covers network security. He is Chief Technology Officer for Stanley Security.

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