Winning a Better Solution - There are many challenges associated with securing Specialized including theft protection and loss prevention, general security for employees, and protecting the company’s highly confidential trade secrets which are safeguarded at headquarters.

Winning a Better Solution

Bicycle shop seeks user-friendly access control to protect valuable trade secrets

In July 2014, Vincenzo Nibali achieved bicycle racing’s highest honor by winning first place in the Tour De France. His riding weapon of choice is a state-of-the-art machine from Specialized Bicycle Components. Founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard, Specialized Bicycle is an American brand of bicycles and related products that has always maintained a sharp focus on providing a better biking experience for all riders.

Specialized’s success lies in their ability to expertly design and develop road, mountain, fitness, utility and BMX bicycles as well as equipment and gear while working hard to protect trade secrets in this highly competitive market. In an effort to provide maximum security for those trade secrets—as well as employees and top-of-the-line equipment—Specialized enlisted Open Options Access Control and Mercury Security.

Meeting the Challenge

Located just south of San Jose, Calif., in Morgan Hill, Specialized Bicycle Components has grown into one of the most successful bicycle manufacturers in the world. For more than 40 years, their business has operated from the ground up on a campus that most recently includes three facilities totaling 250,000 square feet. Visitors and more than 400 employees regularly traverse the dynamic complex which hosts a variety of unique and wonderfully eccentric facilities.

Upon entering the impressive lobby of Specialized headquarters, visitors can instantly gain access into the history of this exceptional company in the Specialized museum that showcases the 40-plus year history of the brand and includes race-winning bicycles, original production pieces and even extreme sports legend Shaun Palmer’s downhill race bike. Visitors then find themselves on a quiet street facing a real-life example of a store front that was expertly recreated to illustrate how these top-of-the-line products should be showcased.

Walking through the facilities, one can witness the bike brand’s envy-inspiring corporate culture with employees whisking off for a quick ride at lunch or grabbing a bite at their onsite café. Top off the tour with a walk through Specialized’s own aerodynamic wind tunnel where bicycles and riders are tested against speeds as high as 62 miles per hour and it is easy to see why this company has excelled for so many years in this highly competitive industry.

Providing Reliability

With state-of-the-art facilities comes an imperative need for reliable and cuttingedge security. There are many challenges associated with securing Specialized including theft protection and loss prevention, general security for employees, and protecting the company’s highly confidential trade secrets which are safeguarded at headquarters. Although they had an access control solution in place for nearly a decade, Alfredo Echauri, head of security, put the brakes on the previous provider and sought a better solution.

The access control provider in place at the time required “an expert level of access control user knowledge,” which made it extremely difficult to use and therefore almost ineffective, Echauri said. They sought a replacement, but had to keep expense in mind, as they did not want to lose their initial hardware investment by converting to a new system. Because Specialized initially installed authentic Mercury Hardware, they were able to keep the original hardware and convert to a new access control software provider at a much lower cost.

Seeking a Partnership

When seeking alternative access control solutions, Echauri consulted Victor Lopez, formally of Sprig Electric and currently working with Brayer Electric, who he had known for many years from previous security projects. For Lopez, the choice was simple as he only offers Open Options as an access control software solution because he believes in the product’s capabilities so much.

“My customer Specialized, and Alfredo had tasked me with finding them a more cost-effective access control system than their current expensive system they had been using,”Lopez said. “Open Options DNA Software and controllers gave them everything they wanted and more for their new system with minimal cost to change.”

Because Specialized had Mercury Security hardware control panels installed, the conversion from their existing access control solution to Open Options solution was seamless. The panels, readers, locks and all other hardware infrastructure were able to stay in place while their existing database was converted to use Open Options DNA Fusion access control software. This was a money- and time-saving move, Echauri said.

Open Options and Mercury Security have worked together for more than 15 years to provide a true open architecture access control solution. Mercury Security has close to 20 OEM partners, an extensive feature set and the world’s largest install base with more than three million controllers. The fact that multiple manufacturers support this hardware platform is what makes it open and allows the end user a valuable choice in software. Because of Open Options’ commitment to open architecture and their successful collaborations, Mercury named Open Options one of the company’s first Platinum Elite Partners in 2014.

Open Options provides a complete security solution with DNA Fusion. DNA Fusion is an open platform access control system that interfaces with a host of other systems as well as mobile and web applications. The ease of use and customer-centric nature of DNA Fusion was exactly what Specialized was seeking.

User Friendly

Specialized Building Operations Manager Ashley Elisary says the conversion went “flawlessly” and that she is most impressed with how user-friendly DNA Fusion is. Elisary is tasked with creating badges, access levels, and varying weekly time schedules for Specialized’s 400-plus employees. She says DNA Fusion’s ability to aid her in creating these constantly-changing schedules has been “a real time saver.”

The Specialized deployment consists of access control coverage for more than 50 doors throughout the complex. The supporting hardware for the installation is the existing and new Mercury Security authentic hardware supplied by Open Options including SSP-D2 intelligent door controllers, RSC-2 reader sub-controllers, and RP 405 HID readers.

Echauri says he was surprised at how smooth of a ride it has been from the existing system to Open Options and he is glad Specialized had invested in open architecture hardware from Mercury to help facilitate the transition.

“You don’t expect to have to change access control software providers midride, but we are so grateful at the options we had because we wisely chose an open platform hardware solution. As world-renowned winners in bicycle racing, we know that it takes a winning team to deliver an excellent product and we are extremely pleased with our technology partners,” Echauri said.

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Security Today.

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