In Tandem

Security, convenience no longer mutually exclusive

The combination of security and efficiency can sometimes appear to be the equivalent of oil and water. We have all felt the delays associated with tightening security procedures at government buildings and facilities. Depending on the location, these delays can sometimes last 10 to 30 minutes—or more. For people who enter these facilities regularly, this burden can have a large impact on their day.

However, secure access control procedures do not have to cause significant delays. In fact, combining state-of-the-art security products with strong security procedures can improve access efficiency to counteract the effects of today’s strict security climate.

An Integrated Approach
Products such as the RAPIDGate® Program from Eid Passport Inc., with its powerful technology-based applications, enhance security and streamline access. Eid Passport offers an integrated access control solution that covers the wide variety of populations requiring access to government facilities. The program has been used over the past four years at government and military facilities across the United States. Also, Eid Passport is the largest commercial provider of Department of Defense vendor credentials.

The RAPIDGate Program is a complete identification and access management solution for vendor, supplier, service provider, contractor and subcontractor personnel entering highly secure government facilities and military installations. The solution combines identity authentication, background screening, access management, credential manufacturing and biometrics.

“We used to need a business pass, which is only good for three months and had to be renewed,” said Patrick Carmichael, project manager at Surecoat Inc. “Renewal could take up to an hour and a half. With the business pass, we could only get through a couple gates, not the front gate, where our work is located. That fact alone made it worth signing up. It’s saved us a lot of time every day.”

The Funding Issue
Although lack of convenience is seen as an obstacle for most new security protocols, an even greater obstacle exists in locating funding for new security initiatives. Continuing resolution of the government’s budget has slowed almost all new programs. As a result, public servants’ hands have been virtually tied with regard to rolling out any new initiatives that could enhance government security.

But the RAPIDGate Program is an exception. Eid Passport has established a unique business model that allows the RAPIDGate Program to be implemented and operated at no charge to the U.S. government.

This business model returns value to the vendors. Vendor companies and their employees save time and money by avoiding long wait times at access control points for redundant processing. Additionally, vendors gain the benefit of sending employees through a thorough background screening process, which results in higher quality personnel and lower attrition rates. The government benefits from knowing much more about the population seeking to gain access to its facility and a streamlined access control process that saves money and resources while offering reporting capabilities.

Due to these benefits, 96 percent of customers who still do business at an installation or facility have renewed their enrollment in the program every year. The program serves more than 5,000 vendor companies and more than 40,000 RAPIDGate credential-holders at participating government and military facilities. In addition, the program has screened out more than 1,500 people over the four years it has been in operation.

The Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington is one of the many facilities that has seen an increase in the amount of quality workers doing business at the facility.

“In the past, our contractors were hiring people off the street,” said Wayne Truax, chief of the security and safety division for Coast Guard Headquarters Support Command. “RAPIDGate has stopped that. In addition, the quality of workers we were getting then is not nearly as good as now. I have stood in our lobby and watched people come in to register at the kiosk. They will come to certain questions and get up and leave without hitting submit.”

Additional Challenges
Limited government funding as a result of the faltering economy is only one challenge to government security agents. Articles from law enforcement agencies around the country assert that as the economy gets worse, crime will increase. The RAPIDGate Program is another deterrent to those people who plan to do harm to the government. Criminals and terrorists look for the easiest target. Discovering the RAPIDGate Program at the perimeter will more than likely cause the aggressor to seek a more vulnerable facility.

To date, the government has demonstrated success with managing its employees and has complied with the personal identity and verification credential standards created as a result of HSPD-12. There has been a substantial investment in establishing a strong credential for government workers, and the effort has been phenomenal. However, there is currently no requirement for an equally strong or stronger credential for another population that accesses government facilities every day—vendors. These vendors can pose a grave threat if not properly verified and authenticated. Each contractor must be identified, screened and authenticated prior to entering a government facility.

The RAPIDGate credential enhances the value of the PIV credential by associating the minimum requirements for a system that meets the control and security objectives, including the identity proofing process, with a process directed at the population who does not qualify for a PIV but still requires access to government facilities.

The RAPIDGate Program is another layer of security to help ensure that those who want to do harm cannot access the facility by using a fraudulent credential. By combining full implementation of HSPD-12 and the RAPIDGate Program, perimeter security personnel are able to identify and ensure credential authenticity for both PIV holders and the thousands of vendors who access government facilities daily. The RAPIDGate Program complements the hard work that has been performed to mandate the PIV credential and reinforces HSPD-12.

“We’ve been enrolled in the RAPIDGate Program at Fort Lewis since September 2004, and it has been a big win for our employees and our company,” said Russell L. Woosley, project manager for Certain Victory Food Services Inc. “More than 190 employees have registered at our location, and they received their cards in a matter of days. They save a tremendous amount of time and effort bypassing the visitor center, which helps them get to work on time. Certain Victory has seen a decrease in employee tardy rate. The RAPIDGate Program helps us to provide a timely, quality food service to the soldiers of Fort Lewis.”

While no one can guarantee complete security and ensure that absolutely no information, building or individual is compromised, it is possible to use the technology that exists today and increase security layer by layer. The RAPIDGate Program deters threats and brings value to all parties involved. It addresses an incredibly large portion of the population regularly accessing government facilities across the United States and provides a solution for vendor access management. It’s efficient and with a zero dollar government price tag, financial concerns no longer apply. Security and efficiency no longer have to be like oil and water.

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Security Today.

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    March 2020

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