Triggers for Transition
The best times to upgrade access control technology
- By Brandon Arcment
- Feb 01, 2017
It can be difficult to decide whether and when to make the
transition to new access control technology. Transitions
are often delayed over budget concerns or because of worries
that the process will adversely impact productivity and
workflow. Delays can be dangerous, though, as escalating security
threats place increasing pressure an obsolete access control
infrastructure. It is far more effective to be proactive rather than
reactive when making decisions about upgrading to new and improved
At the same time, however, there are many positive reasons
to embrace change. These include enhancing investment value,
improving user convenience, and paving a more flexible path to
future capabilities. The ability to embrace these more positive
aspects of change requires an access control platform that can
meet today’s requirements with the highest levels of security,
convenience and interoperability, while enabling organizations
to adopt future capabilities without disrupting the ongoing
These are the advantages of the latest technologies. Today’s
systems enable decision-makers to preserve investments in their
current infrastructure as they transition to new technologies and
capabilities. Following are 10 common triggers for making the
transition to new and improve access control capabilities.
There is growing demand for combining many different access
control applications on single card—and adding new ones in the
future. Today’s contactless smart cards can be used for many different purposes beyond opening doors, from time and attendance
to secure print management and cashless vending. Administration
of these functions is centralized into one efficient and costeffective
system. Organizations also can seamlessly add logical
access control for network log-on to create a fully interoperable,
multi-layered security solution across company networks, systems
Employees increasingly want a mobile option. Today’s access
control systems also enable organizations to upgrade their systems
to the convenience, flexibility and security of carrying mobile
IDs on smartphones and other devices. Mobility transforms
the user experience for a more convenient, trusted and secure
digital world, dramatically elevating how users regard security by
enabling them to confidently connect to and use more applications,
on the go, than ever before, with a single, trusted ID that
can be carried on a smart device.
There is a change to security requirements. An organization may
be required to increase its security because there has been new
legislation or regulatory requirements. Or, the organization may
win a new client or acquire building tenants that necessitates an
increase in security. Any of these triggers presents an opportunity
to upgrade security at other locations, as well, as part of a larger
upgrade to a new standardized, centralized system.
Company undergoes a merger or acquisition. At some point after
an M&A event, an organization will need to issue new credentials.
This presents the opportunity to merge what previously
were disparate administrative and other systems, technologies
and processes. The investment in new technology is often comparable to the cost of integrating separate legacy systems, so this
is the perfect time to migrate to a new, more secure, sophisticated
and capable system.
The headaches of managing multiple cards and systems exceeds
threshold of frustration. In the same way that an M&A event can
trigger the need for access control system consolidation, so can a
long period of rapid growth or the use of decentralized administration
systems across multiple physical locations. Standardizing
and centralizing management of secure identity ensures consistency,
higher security and a more efficient use of resources.
There is a facility consolidation, additions or relocation. Any
move or addition will generally trigger the need to issue credentials
for the new location. Mass rebadging is much simpler to coordinate
and manage using a single, centralized system, making it
an ideal time to simultaneously re-examine access control across
the entire organization.
Company re-brands and triggers a re-issuance process. Any time
there is a re-branding, companies generally purchase new ID
cards for current employees and enough cards to onboard new
employees down the road. Forward-thinking decision-makers use
this as an opportunity to simultaneously invest in new access control
technology with the flexibility and advanced capabilities to
carry them well into the future.
Risk management needs improvement. Organizations often face
new, more stringent insurance requirements, or need to reduce
their liabilities and associated risk-management costs. This can be
done by dramatically improving security through a move from an
outdated system to one that supports current standards.
There is the need to adopt strong authentication throughout the
organization. Organizations may need to implement the highest
levels of security including strong authentication at the door.
This requires transitioning to an access control system that supports
PIV, PIV-I and CIV cards, along with an easy path to compliance
with government requirements, where needed.
Ideally, organizations should upgrade before there is a problem,
but the reality is that sometimes it takes an unexpected event or
security breach to move an organization to make the investment
in a new access control system.
When making the jump to a new access
control system, it’s important to evaluate
the companion secure issuance system
that will be used to produce the ID cards.
Large organizations issue a staggering
amount of ID cards every year.
Organizations generally choose from
two major technology categories for printing
and encoding cards: high definition
printing (HDP) retransfer technology, and
direct-to-card (DTC) technology. Ideally,
a solution should also support both centralized
and distributed issuance models,
by combining the high-volume reliability
and advanced credentialing features of
larger centralized printers with the lower
cost and smaller footprint of a distributed
There are other important secure issuance
considerations, particularly in the areas
of energy consumption, overall waste,
and cost efficiency. The latest secure issuance
systems are significantly more sustainable
than in the past. Two key developments
include “wasteless” lamination, and reducing
carbon footprints as defined through
the GreenCircle certification program.
With wasteless lamination, the lamination
patches that are applied to cards for
increased durability are attached to one
another in a continuous stream of material
on a single roll. This has proven to be
very cost effective, reducing lamination
consumables costs as much as 50 percent
while maintaining the highest levels of security
GreenCircle certification recognizes
the energy savings that are achievable
through advancements in card lamination
technologies that have reduced the significant
energy required to heat up and maintain
optimal operating temperature. These
technologies can conserve significant
amounts of energy while also saving time.
By taking advantage of these 10 common
triggers for transition and implementing
a more sustainable approach to
secure issuance, organizations can easily
and inexpensively expand and upgrade
their systems to meet changing needs, take
advantage of new technologies and capabilities,
and produce ID cards in a more
environmentally responsible manner.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Security Today.
Brandon Arcment is director of product marketing at HID Global.