Download PDF version Contact company

Resilience and efficiency have become watchwords for the public institutions, before, during and after the ongoing health crisis. In delivering services fit for the modern world, these institutions need more than just innovation and accountability. They require flexibility and agility, too, including in how they approach security.

The lock and key have enjoyed public trust for a long time. Keys were used in Ancient Egypt and Assyria, and warrant a mention in the Christian Old Testament. As a technology the key is familiar and proven, user-friendly and dependable. It can also be inflexible and time-consuming to manage.

The security challenges of delivering public services do not stand still, but standard mechanical keys cannot move with oneself. Filtering access intelligently and dynamically has become part of security’s job description.

Yet there is no need to dispose of the key altogether. One can adapt it, rather than throw it out. Intelligent, programmable keys combine the powerful features of electronic access control with the convenience of a mechanical key. They are keys, familiar and user-friendly… but evolved.

When the key has a brain, one can do more with less. These efficiencies are critical in a world where demands on the public institutions are at levels not seen in generations.

Cut workload and solve the problem of lost keys

One [lost] key cost from €3,000 to €4,000 for changing cylinders and replacing the keys"

Lost keys present mechanical security with its most intractable problem. When a key goes missing, time and budget are expended to remedy the situation. Extensive rekeying and reissuing to relevant keyholders are complex and expensive. Programmable keys, however, solve the problem quickly.

The French town of Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris, faced these familiar key management challenges. Each person in their Municipal Technical Centre carried approximately 40 physical keys. If one was lost or stolen, all compromised cylinders had to be changed. To prevent unauthorised access, all the keys had to be replaced, too, at great expense. Key duplication costs were mounting.

One [lost] key cost from €3,000 to €4,000 for changing cylinders and replacing the keys,” explains Fabrice Girard, Territorial Technician at the town’s Municipal Technical Centre. To fix this expensive lost key problem, Villiers-le-Bel city administrators chose to combine trusted mechanical security with new electromechanical key-operated locking, all managed within the same flexible, wireless access control system. Now lost or stolen electronic keys are cancelled instantly using secure cloud software which works inside a standard browser, no software installation required.

Administrators can program access rights for any key, padlock or cylinder. They filtre access to specific sites and doors according to the precise requirements of every municipal employee.

Keep residents safe in their homes

In Aalborg, Denmark, around 3,000 citizens in home care have programmable locking cylinders installed at their front door. This replaces a cumbersome mechanical master-key system. Aalborg’s installation was tailored to meet the needs of this vulnerable group of city residents.

Certified technicians simply replaced each old cylinder with a programmable cylinder

If a home care resident loses their key, its access rights can be deleted from the system without the need for a lock replacement — keeping the keyholder’s home safe and saving the city time and money on rekeying.

Managing Aalborg’s system is straightforward. Lock installation was quick and easy: certified technicians simply replaced each old cylinder with a programmable cylinder — with no wiring and no major alterations to the door. Aalborg’s fire brigade quickly took over the maintenance process. Brigade staff now grant or revoke access, and tailor permissions for different users or locations according to defined needs.

In Skellefteå, Sweden, electromechanical locking has given local firefighters faster, safer access to any building. To speed up emergency response times and improve firefighter safety, the local service fitted houses with secure façade key cabinets.More rapid response means a better chance to prevent a fire spreading

Property keys are stored inside the cabinets, so authorised firefighters get rapid building access if there is a fire. When the emergency call comes, firefighters update their individual, programmable key at the station or while on the move, using a remote key updater kept in the fire engine. There’s no longer any need for fire stations to hold multiple sets of keys or for off-site firefighters to divert to the station to collect the right key.

More rapid response means a better chance to prevent a fire spreading. Safety is improved for everyone, Skellefteå residents at home and firefighters at work.

Clear workflow bottlenecks in public housing

With crime against empty properties on the rise, public authorities in the English city of Rotherham aimed to minimise the time a council house stands vacant. However, workers from multiple departments require access to prepare a property for a new tenant. Passing keys securely between all relevant staff members was a major cause of delay.

Security managers issue the precise permissions which every staff member needs

At Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), intelligent key technology helped streamline these workflows, upgrading security and saving money at the same time. RMBC identified physical key handover as a major bottleneck in their workflow. They needed a solution to speed up the process.

Now, each relevant RMBC staff member is issued with their own programmable key. Using simple online software, security managers issue the precise permissions which every staff member needs. The access rights of any key can be amended or revoked at any time. Physical handover of mechanical keys, and the time and money spent coordinating this process, has been eliminated.

Preserve the fabric of historic buildings, and the design integrity of new spaces

Building type can make a big difference to the access control one chooses. Public spaces inside protected heritage buildings often cannot opt for card- and reader-based access control. Here, wireless electronic cylinders which simply replace existing mechanical locks solve the problem, preserving doors which may be centuries old.

Intelligent key security is hardly noticeable for the library’s many visitors

The issue of aesthetics also affects modern public spaces, albeit differently. In Stuttgart, innovative design was a key element of the city’s new library building. Door security should be discreet and not disrupt the vision of Korean architect, Eun Young Yi. This was the first public building in Stuttgart’s Europaviertel, a unique creation with a double façade with glass bricks, a brightly lit atrium four storeys high, and public entrances on all four sides.

Almost as soon as it opened, the building was declared an architectural icon — “instantly one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.” Intelligent key security is hardly noticeable for the library’s many visitors, yet critical for protecting Stuttgart’s precious public heritage

Save time and money managing keys for a mobile workforce

Many public services involve managing and directing a mobile or contractor workforce. Mileage expense mounts up when workers must return to base to collect keys or update their access rights.

With a Bluetooth-powered solution, everyone carries their own programmable key

Mobile workers use more fuel and increase a carbon footprint. One makes a business more sustainable quickly if one reduces the mileage one travels.

Reducing miles while maintaining security is not easy, if one relies on mechanical keys to secure remote or dispersed sites. Bluetooth-enabled intelligent keys eliminate the need for workers to return to headquarters to collect or return a mechanical key. With a Bluetooth-powered solution, everyone carries their own programmable key and keeps its access rights up to date on the move, simply by making an encrypted connection to a secure smartphone app — meaning fewer miles driven and less money wasted on unnecessary fuel.

One technology powers all the solutions

All the installations referenced above — and many, many more across the full spectrum of public services — run on the same technology: CLIQ® from ASSA ABLOY.

CLIQ combines electronic and mechanical security in a range of wireless cylinder applications, including a full range of mechatronic and electronic cylinders and padlocks. CLIQ locks are installed without wires: every cylinder’s power is supplied by a battery inside the CLIQ key.

These keys are physically identical and programmable by a system administrator using a desktop updater; by keyholders with a portable programmer; or in the case of CLIQ Connect Bluetooth-enabled keys, via an encrypted connection to a secure smartphone app, minimising both wasted journeys and unnecessary social contact between workers and office staff. Intuitive software makes it simple to manage access rights, enable and disable keys and customise access schedules, on site or on the go.

To learn how you can put CLIQ® intelligent key technology to work in agile, flexible, secure public services, download a free introductory guide at https://campaigns.assaabloyopeningsolutions.eu/eCLIQ

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with What's App Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What You Need To Know About Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) For Emergency Preparedness?
What You Need To Know About Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) For Emergency Preparedness?

Have you ever stopped to consider the volume of new data created daily on social media? It’s staggering. Take Twitter, for instance. Approximately 500 million tweets are published every day, adding up to more than 200 billion posts per year. On Facebook, users upload an additional 350 million photos per day, and on YouTube, nearly 720,000 hours of new video content is added every 24 hours. While this overwhelming volume of information may be of no concern to your average social media user posting updates to keep up with family and friends, it’s of particular interest to corporate security and safety professionals who are increasingly using it to monitor current events and detect potential risks around their people and locations—all in real-time. Meet the fast-paced and oft-confusing world of open-source intelligence (OSINT). What is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)? The U.S. Department of State defines OSINT as, “intelligence that is produced from publicly available information and is collected, exploited, and disseminated promptly to an appropriate audience to address a specific intelligence requirement.” The concept of monitoring and leveraging publicly available information sources for intelligence purposes dates back to the 1930s. The British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) was approached by the British government and asked to develop a new service that would capture and analyze print journalism from around the world. Monitoring and identifying potential threats Originally named the “Digest of Foreign Broadcast, the service (later renamed BBC Monitoring which still exists today) captured and analyzed nearly 1.25 million broadcast words every day to help British intelligence officials keep tabs on conversations taking place abroad and what foreign governments were saying to their constituents. OSINT encompasses any publicly accessible information that can be used to monitor and identify potential threats Today, OSINT broadly encompasses any publicly accessible information that can be used to monitor and identify potential threats and/or relevant events with the potential to impact safety or business operations. The potential of OSINT data is extraordinary. Not only can it enable security and safety teams to quickly identify pertinent information that may pose a material risk to their business or people, but it can also be captured by anyone with the right set of tools and training. OSINT for cybersecurity and physical threat detection Whether it be a significant weather event, supply chain disruptions, or a world health crisis few saw coming, the threats facing organizations continue to increase in size and scale. Luckily, OSINT has been able to accelerate how organizations detect, validate, and respond to these threats, and it has proved invaluable in reducing risk and informing decision-making – especially during emergencies. OSINT is typically shared in real-time, so once a situation is reported, security teams can then work on verifying critical details such as the location or time an incident occurred or provide the most up-to-date information about rapidly developing events on the ground. They can then continue to monitor online chatter about the crisis, increasing their situational awareness and speeding up their incident response times. OSINT applications OSINT can help detect when sensitive company information may have been accessed by hackers  Severe weather offers a good example of OSINT in action. Say an organization is located in the Great Plains. They could use OSINT from sources like the National Weather Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to initiate emergency communications to employees about tornado warnings, high winds, or other dangerous conditions as they are reported. Another common use case for OSINT involves data breaches and cyber-attacks. OSINT can help detect when sensitive company information may have been accessed by hackers by monitoring dark web messaging boards and forums. In 2019, T-Cellphone suffered a data breach that affected more than a million customers, but it was able to quickly alert affected users after finding their personal data online. OSINT is a well-established field with countless applications. Unfortunately, in an ever-changing digital world, it’s not always enough to help organizations weather a crisis. Why OSINT alone isn’t enough? One of the core challenges with leveraging OSINT data, especially social media intelligence (SOCMINT), is that much of it is unstructured and spread across many disparate sources, making it difficult to sort through, manage, and organize. Consider the social media statistics above. Assuming a business wanted to monitor all conversations on Twitter to ensure all relevant information was captured, it would need to both capture and analyze 500 million individual posts every day. Assuming a trained analyst spent just three seconds analyzing each post, that would amount to 1.5 billion seconds of labor—equivalent to 416,666 hours—just to keep pace. While technology and filters can greatly reduce the burden and help organizations narrow the scope of their analysis, it’s easy to see how quickly human capital constraints can limit the utility of OSINT data—even for the largest companies. Challenges with OSINT OSINT data collection includes both passive and active techniques, each requiring a different level of effort and skill Additionally, collecting OSINT data is time-consuming and resource-intensive. Making sense of it remains a highly specialized skill set requiring years of training. In an emergency where every second count, the time required to sift through copious amounts of information takes far longer than the time in which an organization must take meaningful action to alter the outcome. Compounding the issue, OSINT data is noisy and difficult to filter. Even trained analysts find the need to constantly monitor, search, and filter voluminous troves of unstructured data tedious. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped weed through some of this data faster, but for organizations with multiple locations tasked with monitoring hundreds or thousands of employees, it’s still a challenging task. Adding to the complexity, collecting OSINT data isn’t easy. OSINT data collection includes both passive and active techniques, each requiring a different level of effort and skill. Passive vs Active OSINT Passive OSINT is typically anonymous and meant to avoid drawing attention to the person requesting the information. Scrolling user posts on public social media profiles is a good example of passive OSINT. Active OSINT refers to information proactively sought out, but it often requires a more purposeful effort to retrieve it. That may mean specific login details are needed to access a website where information is stored. Lastly, unverified OSINT data can’t always be trusted. Analysts often encounter false positives or fake reports, which not only take time to confirm accuracy, but if they act on misinformation, the result could be damage to their organization’s reputation or worse. So, how can companies take advantage of it without staffing an army of analysts or creating operational headaches? A new path for OSINT Organisations can leverage the benefits of OSINT to improve situational awareness and aid decision-making Fortunately, organizations can leverage the benefits of OSINT to improve situational awareness and aid decision-making without hiring a dedicated team of analysts to comb through the data. By combining OSINT data with third-party threat intelligence solutions, organizations can get a cleaner, more actionable view of what’s happening in the world. Threat intelligence solutions not only offer speed by monitoring for only the most relevant events 24/7/365, but they also offer more comprehensive coverage of a wide range of threat types. What’s more, the data is often verified and married with location intelligence to help organizations better understand if, how, and to what extent each threat poses a risk to their people, facilities, and assets. In a world with a never-ending stream of information available, learning how to parse and interpret it becomes all the more important. OSINT is a necessary piece to any organization’s threat intelligence and monitoring system, but it can’t be the only solution. Paired with external threat intelligence tools, OSINT can help reduce risk and keep employees safe during emergencies and critical events.

Baltimore Is The Latest U.S. City To Target Facial Recognition Technology
Baltimore Is The Latest U.S. City To Target Facial Recognition Technology

The city of Baltimore has banned the use of facial recognition systems by residents, businesses and the city government (except for police). The criminalization in a major U.S. city of an important emerging technology in the physical security industry is an extreme example of the continuing backlash against facial recognition throughout the United States. Facial recognition technology ban Several localities – from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco, from Oakland, California, to Boston – have moved to limit use of the technology, and privacy groups have even proposed a national moratorium on use of facial recognition. The physical security industry, led by the Security Industry Association (SIA), vigorously opposed the ban in Baltimore, urging a measured approach and ‘more rational policymaking’ that preserve the technology’s value while managing any privacy or other concerns. Physical security industry opposes ban In such cases, it is local businesses and residents who stand to lose the most" “Unfortunately, an outright ban on facial recognition continues a distressing pattern in which the clear value of this technology is ignored,” said SIA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Don Erickson, adding “In such cases, it is local businesses and residents who stand to lose the most.” At the national level, a letter to US President Biden from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coalition asserts the need for a national dialog over the appropriate use of facial recognition technology and expresses concern about ‘a blanket moratorium on federal government use and procurement of the technology’. (The coalition includes Security Industry Association (SIA) and other industry groups.) The negativity comes at a peak moment for facial recognition and other biometric technologies, which saw an increase of interest for a variety of public and business applications, during the COVID-19 pandemic’s prioritization to improve public health hygiene and to promote ‘contactless’ technologies. Prohibition on banks, retailers and online sellers The ordinance in Baltimore prohibits banks from using facial recognition to enhance consumer security in financial transactions. It prevents retailers from accelerating checkout lines with contactless payment and prohibits remote online identity document verification, which is needed by online sellers or gig economy workers, according to the Security Industry Association (SIA). At a human level, SIA points out that the prohibition of facial recognition undermines the use of customized accessibility tools for disabled persons, including those suffering with blindness, memory loss or prosopagnosia (face blindness). Ban out of line with current state of facial recognition Addressing the Baltimore prohibition, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation reacted to the measure as ‘shockingly out of line with the current state of facial recognition technology and its growing adoption in many sectors of the economy’. Before Baltimore’s decision to target facial recognition, Portland, Oregon, had perhaps the strictest ban, prohibiting city government agencies and private businesses from using the technology on the city’s grounds. San Francisco was the first U.S. city to ban the technology, with Boston, Oakland; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Berkeley, California, among others, following suit. Police and federal units can use biometrics Unlike other bans, the Baltimore moratorium does not apply to police uses Unlike other bans, the Baltimore moratorium does not apply to police uses, but targets private uses of the technology. It also includes a one-year ‘sunset’ clause that requires city council approval for an extension. The measure carves out an exemption for use of biometrics in access control systems. However, violations of the measure are punishable by 12 months in jail. The law also establishes a task force to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of surveillance tools. Transparency in public sector use of facial recognition Currently, the state of Maryland controls the Baltimore Police Department, so the city council does not have authority to ban police use of facial recognition, which has been a human rights concern driving the bans in other jurisdictions. A measure to return local control of police to the city could pass before the year lapses. SIA advocates transparency in public-sector applications of facial recognition in identity verification, security and law enforcement investigative applications. SIA’s CEO, Don Erickson stated, “As public sector uses are more likely to be part of processes with consequential outcomes, it is especially important for transparency and sound policies to accompany government applications.”

What Are The Security Challenges Of Protecting Critical Infrastructure?
What Are The Security Challenges Of Protecting Critical Infrastructure?

Many of us take critical infrastructure for granted in our everyday lives. We turn on a tap, flip a switch, push a button, and water, light, and heat are all readily available. But it is important to remember that computerized systems manage critical infrastructure facilities, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline is an example of the new types of threats. In addition, any number of physical attacks is also possibilities. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting critical infrastructure?