Proximity Access Cards

Proximity access cards are another layer of defense at Joe's Office, controlling employee and visitor access from the lobby into the heart of the facility.

Joe waves his proximity access card over the reader to unlock the door to leave the lobby and enter the heart of the office.

UK-based IMS Research says the access control integration market has four big (as in huge) players: General Electric, Honeywell, Tyco and United Technologies. Niall Jenkins, an analyst at IMS, says all four are effective integrators of the different systems needed to handle the physical and logical security management, as well as the closed-circuit television, surveillance cameras, and the intrusion and building management systems. "There's nobody that's streets ahead of anybody else," Jenkins said.

However, these power players are facing competition from newer firms, companies like Quintron. The software-as-a service phenomenon has also come to access control, thanks to Brivo, which offers access control via the browser and claims to save the typical company about 70 percent up front, at a $3,300 installation price point, versus around $10,000 for a server and related systems. Because the maintenance is done offsite, Brivo argues that total cost of ownership is lower. Steve Hunt says these options are all worth a look.

But for Joe, with his new building, he's opted for the CoreStreet Card-Connected system, which combines physical access and IT systems, and uses the employees' smart cards themselves as a way to continually update access information. That's intended to make sure that the physical infrastructure doesn't lag the IT infrastructure, if, for instance, someone is let go. If an employee is deprovisioned from network access, that person's swipe card will stop working more or less immediately. (Honeywell is pushing hard in this direction as well, via a partnership with Imprivata and Novell.)

-Michael Fitzgerald

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