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  • Jon Polly

Can You Grant Me Access Now?

Okay, it’s not the Verizon / Sprint guy, but in access control we are always looking for new ways to press the easy button. Maybe this is cost, maybe it is simply just to be easier. Access Control is no different as it is moving into a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). There are some benefits as well as some risks to this solution.  

Access Control started with the key, and then we realized that the key could be duplicated, it could be lost, and it was rarely tracked. The Electronic Access Control system was developed to get rid of keys and to make life easier. Remember the credential, swip it, and access granted. Credentials were cards or fobs traditionally. If you were lucky enough to have access to multiple sites with multiple systems you had the rolodex of identity cards on a reel. Swipe the credential; it lets you in, hopefully. If you were in a really secure location a Retinal or Palm biometric scanners were in place of or in addition to the credential reader. 

Today, that credential is now migrating to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) options. We have seen over the last couple of years the emergence of Bluetooth readers, Facial Recognition, Voice Biometric, and others. Different companies offer different ways to utilize this credential. The BYOD access control is going to gain traction over the next few years.  Bluetooth Credential

  • Bluetooth credentials sold in two main ways, pools or subscription. Pools are reusable, subscription is once used it is gone. 

  • Bluetooth readers are on the market. They are improving. There are some that are okay, some that are better, and others that are better but come with strings (subscription models)


Facial Recognition (A Face as a device)

  • Facial Recognition for Access and Identity Management (IAM) may be tied into an integrated camera to reader, or using a CCTV camera to provide the Recognition. 

  • Identity and Access Management and Facial Recognition require that the confidence score must be extremely high or the wrong person may be let in. Unlike the Facial Recognition analytics used on a VMS or for reactionary searching, Facial Recognition for Access Control should err on the side of absolutes. 

  • Facial Recognition as a credential is gaining traction and will be used more in the future. 


Voice Biometrics

  • This is a new avenue that has recently come to the Access Control world. Traditional IT centric solutions for password resets and computer management is now being offered as a solution

  • Requires a liveness test (not a recording)

  • Requires device to geolocate to the facility. 

  • Works with a phone or tablet that makes the device a reader. 

  • Can be used as a stand-alone option, or for Two Factor Authentication


Bring Your Own Device solutions are only going to increase, and why not. They can offer cost savings and more security to the already secure access control system. However, all the technologies, polices, and procedures can be written, but if the process for BYOD is not defined by the organization, it will not work. 

BYOD Processes need to address how corporate data (access control) can be stored on private devices. For smaller companies, there is a cost savings, but for larger corporations, this may open backdoors that should not be opened. If your company is looking at BYOD access control or any other BYOD deployment, check the security of your network. Do the research, if BYOD is something that is being considered, find out where the data is stored, what information is being transmitted, and how is it being transmitted. As a note, especially ask this of other cloud hosted solutions. You may find the provider for one service is offering BYOD options using the same cloud. 

Bring Your Own Device access control is a trend that will continue to gain traction in the security industry for a number of reasons. This trend is new, but is being welcomed by more companies each day. The Security Industry should be ready to address the needs and have information for when the client suggests the option. 

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