Access Control Innovations Pave Way to More Profits

Learn tips to leverage the latest access control technologies, such as wireless modules, NFC-enabled credentials, and more.

Hybrid Credential Use Is In Your Clients’ Futures

Today there are three major initiatives for cards and credentials. Dealers and integrators need to take it upon themselves to educate their end customers about them:

1. Smart cards will be the credential of choice. If your customer presently uses magnetic stripe or proximity cards, start planning with them now for their switchover.

2. Although smart cards will become the dominant credential, key systems, PINs and various types of cards and biometrics will still be necessary in certain applications. Even though customers may use hybrid credentials, they still need one system to manage all.

3. Prepare customers for new technologies such as Near Field Communications (NFC). With NFC-enabled smartphones, they can use employees’/customers’ own smartphones as access credentials.

Today a smart credential, for approximately the same price as a proximity card, provides a higher level of security, more convenience and far greater functionality. Smart credentials manage access, payments and many other functions much more securely.

Smart cards not only access physical locations, but also the organization’s computer networks and logical access control system. They match a health-care provider with the patient to ensure safety during care. Company employees find them convenient for payments at the cafeteria or vending machines. They check out tools and equipment, facilitate time and attendance, and provide access to the IT system among other applications.

To heighten security, customers should use a contactless smart credential armed with mutual authentication and encrypted with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit diversified keys. With it, the card and reader verify that they are authorized to communicate bi-directionally. This saves on infrastructure. Additionally, 128-bit keys virtually ensure no one can read or access credential information without authorization.

The technology behind AES has approval by the National Security Agency (NSA) for classified information. A message authentication code (MAC) further protects each transaction between the credential and the reader. This security feature ensures complete and unmodified transfer of information, helping to protect data integrity and prevent outside attacks.

End customers should also use an open-solution smart credential, one built to adhere to ISO 14443, a four-part international standard for contactless smart credentials. This results in faster data transfer between credential and reader, up to 848kbps baud rate (1K baud = 1,000 bits of data per second). ISO 14443 technology, the same standard used by the U.S. government, is especially recommended for customer applications requiring large amounts of data, such as biometric templates.

As NFC technology is being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to enable access control, as well as many other applications, more and more organizations are considering joining the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend. This allows users to deploy their own smartphones as access control credentials. It is reported that more than 285 million NFC-enabled smartphones were sold in 2013, and more than half of the devices sold in 2015 will be NFC-capable.

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