Access Control Industry Best Practices - Page 2

With a wide variety of reader technologies to choose from, it's important to ensure that the technology selected properly balances risk, cost, and convenience factors.

 By Holly Sacks
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Prevention of Tailgating

Program the access control host software to refuse access to a cardholder that is already inside the facility.  This requires an "in” and an "out” reader at the door and prevents "tailgating,” - when an individual follows closely behind a user who has legitimately been given access.

Detection - The Second Line of Defense

Buy readers with a tamper detect mechanism that provides a signal when the reader has been removed. If the reader is controlling a sensitive location, monitor it by CCTV. Many readers also have the capability of sending "health” messages on a periodic basis to the upstream device which can also detect reader malfunctions. It's better to know when a reader is not working before somebody complains they can't get in.

For converged physical and logical access control systems, "geographic” monitoring is available. If a person has just entered a door in London, but is trying to log into a computer in Manchester, there's obviously a problem. A converged system can also prevent a person logging onto their computer if they hasn't used their card at a perimeter reader.

Additional Authentication

The use of card readers with built-in keypads means lost cards cannot be picked up and used to enter a facility. It also reduces the threat of card cloning. The use of biometric readers ensures that the person presenting the card is the same person it was issued to and should be used at doors that require higher levels of security.

Mind the Cards

To prevent use of illegitimate cards that may have been fraudulently obtained, old cards should be voided immediately and only issued cards should be valid; don't have pre-validated "spare” cards ready to hand out. Some access control systems can also generate a different message than "just denied” for cards that haven't been entered in the system. Any messages reported by the host access control system with wrong formats, wrong site codes, or out of range should be immediately investigated.

It's also advisable to use a card with a proprietary format or one that's exclusive to a particular site. Cards with these formats are more difficult to illegally obtain, as compared to the industry standard open 26-bit Wiegand format.

The utilization of as many of these best practices as feasible, with attention to appropriate levels of security, will result in a system that better fulfills its intended function with less possibility of being compromised.

HID Global is exhibiting at Infosecurity Europe 2010, the No. 1 industry event in Europe held on 27th – 29th April in its new venue Earl's Court, London. The event provides an unrivalled free education programme, exhibitors showcasing new and emerging technologies and offering practical and professional expertise. For further information please visit www.infosec.co.uk.

This article was originally published on Jan 12, 2010
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