Security-Net Ensures Access Control for USI Insurance Services

Learn how The Protection Bureau and fellow Security-Net partners are rolling out a seamless access control solution for USI Insurance Services’ 100+ locations.

Achieving Active Directory Integration

Another deciding factor in USI partnering with The Protection Bureau and Security-Net was their ability to tackle Porreca and his team’s biggest item on its must-have list: integration with Microsoft Active Directory. The company wanted to bring the C•CURE 9000 platform into its datacenter in Philadelphia and have it handle support for all of its locations across the country.

Because the company’s IT team would be handling the access control management, integration with the IT department’s Active Directory database was a nonnegotiable. The team needed to be able to easily manage the additional responsibilities without adding significant time or complications to their existing daily workload.

According to Porreca, with so many locations and cards, USI recognized it would be difficult to maintain all of that information in both the C•CURE and Active Directory networks. The biggest challenge would be that when people changed roles or left, the systems would be out of sync with each other.

Fast Facts

  • Established in 1993
  • Headquartered in Exton, Pa., with 50 regional offices
  • 18 integrator partners in U.S. and 3 abroad total 1,200 professionals
  • Combined revenues of approximately $300M
  • Leadership team: President Jim Coleman; V.P. Skip Sampson; Treasurer Steve Morefield; Secretary Mike Painter
  • Top clients include Sallie Mae, American Nutrition and WellPoint

The Protection Bureau identified a way to tie C•CURE into Active Directory. “This was no small undertaking,” Ladd explains. “You’ve got 10 projects going on at any one time. That’s 10 site managers, 10 IT connections you have to coordinate with and make sure that everyone involved knows what they are doing beforehand to avoid any roadblocks.”

Thanks to an integration with Active Directory, daily card maintenance, updates to doors, or changes to access rights would automatically be updated in both systems. Since USI must follow HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Account-ability Act) and other government regulations because of its client information, an integration that merges IT and security is a huge benefit for the company. It allows IT personnel to keep track of employees who are allowed rights to certain files, data or doors, and update/reassign access rights across the company both remotely and instantly. “There is no hole or gap; it’s a huge timesaver for us,” Porreca says.

Security-Net Partners Execute Plan

Currently, with the aforementioned 50+ sites al
ready online and upgraded, USI and Security-Net have ambitious plans to convert about 40 sites per year, in order to adhere to the timeline of getting the whole company onto a one-card system within three years. With such complicated logistics on so many fronts, having a centralized project manager from The Protection Bureau to co-ordinate the entire undertaking and communicate with Security-Net partners has allowed the proceedings to be seamless, with very little disruption of service to USI employees.

Security-Net member Security Controls Systems (SCS) was the first integrator partner on the job, taking advantage of its Houston base of operations to upgrade USI’s Dallas office. The office location, which encompasses two floors of a major high-rise building, made it to the top of USI’s conversion list because, while there was a functional access control system in place, there were considerable issues managing the 100+ cards in the system.

“Though the access control system was installed, the location was essentially out of service. Personnel couldn’t add or delete cards,” says SCS President Bill Savage. The integrator’s operations manager was closely involved in coordinating the site assessment and specific requirements that The Protection Bureau and USI had discussed.

Weekly meetings between those involved at USI and The Protection Bureau help fine tune the ongoing deployment, and the integrator makes sure that the end user’s point of contact is al-ways the same so that nothing falls through the cracks.

“The fluidity of these installations has so much to do with the amount of planning and communication that happens between us and The Protection Bureau before we ever walk into the location. It minimizes problems and answers many questions that might come up while we’re in the field,” says Henry Olivares, president and CEO of Gilbert, Ariz.-headquartered APL Access & Security Inc. APL’s team, led by David Castro, vice president of sales/operations, completed the second installation for USI at the company’s six-door, El Paso, Texas, location.

The planning before this installation, and every installation, is meticulous, making sure all parties have accurate employee and access lists. Cards are defined, tested and sent out prior to the installation. According to Castro, because of the high level of communication before and during the project, the installation was able to be completed on time within one weekend. This was the case even with an initial hiccup of having to rerun wire to the elevator access control system because the current system had been disabled.

This whole process has been made even easier by the fact that The Protection Bureau’s design for integrating the access control solution with Active Directory works automatically, al-lowing USI’s IT staff to handle all of its current and new responsibilities without adding personnel.

“It takes a lot of foresight and integration at a high, high level to be able to execute a security plan such as this one,” Ladd says. “USI pushed really hard to make sure the solution would integrate with Active Directory and it has paid off.”

“Once you get to the point of adding, deleting and managing thousands of employees in dozens of locations at any point in time, that is a full-time job for any staff to keep track of,” adds Porreca. “And integrating all of this together for our IT staff just makes it an absolute breeze.”

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