Standardizing as a Breakthrough

Alcatel-Lucent locations find peace of mind at each spot

Alcatel-Lucent, a leader in products and innovations in IP and cloud networking as well as ultra-broadband fixed and wireless access, is responsible for countless breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Alcatel, whose headquarters were based in Plano, Texas, purchased Lucent in 2006, whose headquarters were located in Murray Hill, N.J. Lucent had standardized on AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Global access control system prior to the merger. Once Alcatel analyzed the system, they quickly made the decision to standardize the Americas region on Symmetry Global.

Geographic Dispersion

Alcatel-Lucent’s security is divided into three regions: Americas, Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The Americas region, which includes 60 locations, is the most standardized of the three regions. Of the 60 locations throughout the United States, 29 sites or 98 percent of the locations with access control are using Symmetry access control system. Alcatel-Lucent installs access control in facilities with more than 25 doors. Nearly half of the facilities have more than 25 doors, including the big locations in Plano, Murray Hill and Naperville, Ill., which have 2,000 employees each.

Each individual site monitors its own security, but receives support from one of the three large locations. Plano, Murray Hill and Naperville employ their own security staff with a 24-hour security operation in place. Each location has its own server; in fact, Naperville is the main data center for the United States. Plano supports offices located in the South and West; Murray Hill supports most sites in the North and on the East Coast; and Naperville supports the northern sites.

The geographic dispersion of servers provides built-in disaster recovery. Alcatel- Lucent did not want one server or a hot redundant server at one location. By spreading out geographically, if a server fails in Plano, for example, it won’t affect Murray Hill and Naperville.

The Plano location houses the only central command center and has the ability to network into the Murray Hill and Naperville locations, allowing them to provide back-up security and support if necessary. Symmetry Global monitoring allows security officers to pull up Murray Hill and Naperville on two different screens and monitor what is occurring. If the Murray Hill local security team cannot respond quickly enough to an alarm, the alarm will roll over to the Plano location. The Plano security team can visually see the alarm and assist. Plano also monitors 15 to 20 locations where there is not a security team in place.

Badging Operation

Prior to the merger, Lucent outsourced their badging operation. It was the job of Alcatel-Lucent’s Kert Keller, security manager, North America, to standardize the company and get the new system in place.

The Plano location had been handling Alcatel’s badging operations all along. After analyzing the needs of the now merged company, it was determined that the Plano office, complete with its control center and full security team, could manage the badging for the United States and Latin America. This also included protecting the corporate executive offices, finance departments and executive group for senior leadership. Approximately 25,000 employees and non-employees, including contractors and vendors who need access, carry a card. By using this system, Alcatel-Lucent now saves approximately $200,000 a year on badging operations.

The consolidation fit with Alcatel-Lucent’s Centralized Services Model, which is run from the Plano office. Centralized Services determines corporate security standards and how to operate security most effectively.

Best Practices

Several security best practices are mandated to meet Alcatel-Lucent’s Centralized Services Model.

The access control software mainly secures Alcatel-Lucent’s many research and development locations where new products are developed. This includes Bell Labs, which has made scientific discoveries, created powerful technologies and built the world’s most advanced and reliable networks. Several different product lines and divisions develop products in these labs, including 3G and 4G wireless equipment, core routing equipment for ultra-high speed broadband and the services that accompany it.

The company follows the centric circle design model and secures the outer perimeter with general access control card readers. Access restrictions increase when moving towards the center of the buildings. The data centers use card and fingerprint readers or card and palm geometry readers, depending on the location for increased access; but, they may use smart cards for network log-ins in the future. If the decision is made to move forward, they will roll out a smart card with biometric on the card. This method of security is preferred because the owner of the card is the owner of their own biometric, which eliminates privacy issues.

Symmetry graphical maps allow the security teams to create a dynamic map of each facility. When an alarm sounds, the graphical map displays the alarm location, providing a quick, easy and real-time display of the area in alarm. Security officers can click on the graphical map to allow immediate access.

Alcatel-Lucent plans to install the Symmetry Global Card Handler. The server will sit on top of the Plano, Naperville and Murray Hill servers and combine the three databases into one database, simplifying the badge creation process. For example, badging staff can program card information and assign access to all three locations and only need to enter the information into the database one time.

Eventually, all three regions may standardize on AMAG’s Symmetry Global access control system, and Keller is planning to integrate their video management system.

“Symmetry Global met all of Alcatel-Lucent’s security requirements,” Keller said. “The graphic feature allows the security team to easily locate and manage alarms. It’s easy to program, yet still has all the features we needed in an access control system.”

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Security Today.


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