Backed By Secure Solutions

Backed By Secure Solutions

Chinese insurance company sought total protection

Established in 1991, China Pacific Insurance Co. Ltd. (CPIC) is one of the largest insurance companies in China, with investment assets of $56.56 billion. It has 5,700 subsidiaries and branches, more than 67,000 staff and 270,000 salespeople serving 47 million clients, 2.85 million of which are corporate clients, in China. Its business covers risk protection services, including life and property insurance, wealth and asset management.

Located in the Cao He Jing Development Zone of Shanghai, CPIC Shanghai Information Center is a vast technology park that hosts primarily IT companies. Concerned about the security of its information center, CPIC turned to HID Global, which has outfitted the facility with secure identity solutions, including VertX network access solutions and the iCLASS card reader series. The overall system has tightened the control of entry points and enabled network monitoring for secure login. It effectively controls the entrance and exit of staff and visitors, as well as access rights in internal areas. When anyone enters the building, the administrator can immediately obtain the visitor’s personal information and set up his or her access rights to use the building’s network facilities.

There Were Challenges
As the insurance company’s key facility, Shanghai Information Center took the responsibility for managing, developing and maintaining the security of financial data, and it imposed stringent security requirements. The information center required that the system:

  • Apply stringent security management measures and tight access control over every entrance. At the same time, the system should enable access-level settings so as to restrict the use and login authority of different management systems including access control, point of sale systems and elevator control for respective staff;
  • Be from a reputable brand with a track record in the financial industry. The products should apply leading technologies with internationally recognized security certifications; 
  • Have a scalable network system for future upgrades; and
  • Come with comprehensive local support to address all issues in a timely manner.

Finding the Proper Solution
The facility wanted a solution that could handle card issuing, physical access management, time and attendance management, elevator management and cashless payment systems. Contactless smart cards and biotechnological identification technology verified the identity of incoming visitors and staff. Four iCLASS RW400 readers and writers were installed in the security and fire control center to issue cards and set access levels. At the same time, building administrators used a Fargo HDP5000 card printer/encoder to print full-color staff ID cards. The printer supported several encoding modules, including holographic laminates, which deter counterfeiting.

The data center has employed iCLASS R40 card readers at the entry points of the premises and passages, conference rooms, facilities zones and mechanical rooms, ECC main control center and emergency exits of each floor. Encrypting the readers and employing mutual authentication technology strengthened security.

All subsystems were connected to the TCP/IP protocol of the network controller for central access management and report generation. The system was made up of two communication channels. The primary channel connected the server, host PC and network controller via a designated TCP/IP protocol for higher volume data transmission and faster connection speed.

The secondary communication channel comprised the network controller, reader interfaces, time and attendance controllers, and elevator controllers to handle transmission of small amounts of data.

The three devices communicated with a V1000 network controller via an RS485 connection. The iCLASS contactless smart card readers were connected to the control room via a controller to perform time and attendance functions. This enabled a 64-bit variable key encryption for mutual authentication and reduced the risk of data theft and clone cards. Such measures are suitable for organizations with demanding security requirements and a large number of staff, similar to CPIC.

To increase security, the data center was equipped with the elevator control system. Card readers were connected with the host PC via a VertX V100 controller so that only authorized people could use the elevator. The network structure not only ensured system stability but also successfully achieved stringent access control and safeguarded the premises.

In the End
According to the service center officials, this project faced a number of implementation difficulties. Because the property handles the essential financial data of China Pacific Insurance, the security requirements were demanding and the setup of access levels complicated. HID provided the robust technology needed to address these issues.

This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Security Today.

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