On-Ramp to the Cloud: Upgrading Physical Access Control With OSDP

A key specification in the journey to the Cloud is the Open Supervised Device Protocol, which improves security while adding real-world efficiencies.

Blending access control with mobile and Cloud technologies is enabling many new connected-workplace experiences. It establishes a common understanding of trusted identities so that organizations can define who individuals are and what benefits they are authorized to receive.

Today’s solutions can incorporate everything needed to connect to and interact with a building’s other security systems, services and enterprise applications. They also boost building security and performance while giving users the same kind of digital experiences in the workplace as they enjoy at home.

Getting to this point has required that the latest access control solutions be built on open architectures and standard communications protocols. This ensures product interoperability and flexibility, while making it simple and economical to upgrade to access control systems that can serve as the foundation for creating more connected building experiences.

A key specification in this journey is the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) that improves security while adding real-world efficiencies. Its interoperability enables organizations to integrate systems from multiple manufacturers to protect their critical data. OSDP also streamlines installations and upgrades while eliminating the expense of replacing readers if a new access control solution is implemented.

Further, it improves service and maintenance by encouraging continuous monitoring of system uptime and enabling readers to be remotely configured or upgraded.  This also means that system administrators no longer need to physically visit and diagnose malfunctioning devices.

History and Importance of OSDP

OSDP replaced antiquated and vulnerable clock-and-data and Wiegand protocols. Organizations that don’t move to OSDP-based access control solutions leave themselves extremely vulnerable to security threats and miss out on its valuable benefits.

OSDP uses the Secure Channel Protocol to increase security and features a capability that makes it possible for information to be collected, shared and acted upon. This is possible since the protocol uses bidirectional communication for configuration, status monitoring, tampering detection, and other important functions.

OSDP also creates an open and interoperable access control architecture and also ensures that system functionality can be flexibly enhanced as needs change and new threats emerge. It also reduces installation costs by enabling multi-drop installation, supervised connections to indicate reader malfunctions and tampering, and scalability to connect more field devices.

Opening the Door to Future Capabilities

Many readers that don’t support OSDP can be upgraded to the capability. An example is HID’s Bluetooth and OSDP upgrade kit that brings Bluetooth and OSDP capabilities to its installed readers that don’t currently support these technologies. The upgrade kit is a simple plugin module and the HID Reader Manager mobile app can upgrade readers to include both Bluetooth and OSDP support.

A New Generation of Readers

 To meet the security needs of today’s dynamic world, a new generation of readers, such as HID Signo, provide out-of-the-box support for OSDP.  This signature line of HID readers support the widest range of credential technologies, including mobile IDs via native Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) capability.

Importantly, they also employ Apple’s Enhanced Contactless Polling (ECP) to support credentials in Apple Wallet. The new generation of readers will also improve security through the use of cryptographic keys on certified EAL6+ secure element hardware and they will offer capabilities like iBeacon support and technologies that enable them to automatically recalibrate tuning to optimize read range performance.

Upgrading to the next generation of physical access control technology will enable building owners and managers to future-proof their security systems in a way that has never before been possible. It will ensure they are equipped with the dynamic tools they need to counter new and ever-changing threats while also implementing ongoing enhancements as needed.


access controlBrandon Arcement is Senior Director, Product Marketing with HID Global.

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