Going Mobile

Going Mobile

That proxy card or smartphone you are using is probably one of the most insecure devices on the planet. The question most frequently asked is if this technology can be secured.

Thankfully, it can.

The use of smartphones is on the rise; almost everybody has one and it’s the one thing you don’t leave lying around. That doesn’t mean the smartphone is safe and secure. In fact, smartphones can be some of the easiest devices to break into. There are a few solutions that provide a near unhackable profile; Steve Van Till is introducing another.

Van Till is the president and CEO of Brivo, a company he founded in 1999. Brivo is a provider of cloud-based access control and video surveillance systems; Van Till brought the technology to the physical security industry with the delivery of cloud access control in 2002. He is now on another mission to revolutionize the strength of the smartphone. His goal is to open doors with the smartphone and eliminate the need for physical cards and readers.

That may seem like a hit below the belt to some security manufacturers, but once again, the smartphone is something a person most always has with them, if not in their hand already.

In September, Van Till introduced the Brivo Mobile Pass, available for both the iOS and Android. He believes this will usher in a new level of convenience for the user and the ability to access secured areas with a mobile device. His thoughts are that Mobile Pass will eliminate the need for physical keycards and readers.

Here is how the Brivo Mobile Pass works. It is a cloud-based mobile credential that is a feature of the Brivo OnAir platform. The OnAir administrator selects a user and creates the mobile pass invitation, which is delivered via email. The user clicks “add” in the email to activate the mobile credential on their phone. The user can now open doors as if they would have a keycard. Brivo’s cloud authentication is far more secure because of the cloud-based authentication and requires no hardware changes.

“It is really quite simple as our app will sit on your smartphone and talk to the cloud,” Van Till said. “The cloud then talks to the lock. No hardware required and users can instantly generate and distribute mobile credentials to open doors.”

Security analyst firm IHS has indicated that by 2020, 25 percent of all credentials will be mobile platformbased. In fact, mobile credentials are becoming a mega-trend globally.

IHS expects that the bulk of the installations will first come in the hospitality/ resorts and residential markets. IHS also expects that universities will be early adopters, while SMEs and large enterprise continue to learn how to deploy the technology among existing workers most efficiently.

“We believe we’re the undisputed leader in this field,” Van Till said. “Of course there are other players in this endeavor, but we have the technology in place. The end user will be the ones that determine individual policy.

“Naturally, we’ve invested a lot in encryption and cyber security for this new service. When designing it, we recognized that cloud-based authentication is a very well understood field, with rich solutions that work well in banking, electronic signatures, and the like. We chose to adopt these proven secure applications over the much less developed technologies that are using Bluetooth or NFC door readers, to provide our customers with an easy to use plug and play solution.”

On the playing field, HID Global and ECKey, are working in this vertical. You should also consider that players such as Apple and Google have a keen interest in developing this application, as well. Van Till said with their hundreds of engineers working on this they will become the undisputed leaders, but the technology that comes from Silicon Valley will most certainly bleed over into the security industry.

“We are going to see more amazing technology merge out of the Silicon Valley, and we’ll be able to leverage the work that is discovered there,” Van Till said.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Security Today.

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