Articles by Dennis Raefield
Emerging trends include cyber security, mobile, physical access control and The Internet of Things Viscount 2014/2015 Review and Forecast: At the enterprise level, spending on physical security continues to be a challenge. Companies have to do more with less, become more strategic about security investments, focus on better situational intelligence, predictive analytics, better utilisation of IT resources and infrastructure, and shift from just integration strategies to more holistic approaches to physical/logical security. Some key emerging trends that are developing: Mobility – information and control from anywhere on any platform. Cyber-security influencing product design. Cloud infrastructure continues to gain acceptance and drive more innovation. Physical access control is evolving from control of barriers to extending identity policies, attributes and privileges to “the door.” Smart phones as a platform for derived credentials. The Internet of Things will fundamentally alter how we deploy, monitor and control security technologies. From the perspective of the access control space, we see physical/logical convergence evolving from integration/interoperability to holistic approaches and native applications. The “door” becomes an IT asset, managed by security, but maintained as an IT asset. Mobility will become more mainstream in a BYOD (“bring your own device”) world, and access control software will finally be de-coupled from proprietary controllers. As companies deal with new threats in the cyber world, it will impact the way they think, plan and deploy physical security solutions: Cyber risk: the asymmetrical threat to physical security. The appropriate role of PSIM within an enterprise. The role of advanced analytics and insider threat detection. Investment strategies for achieving effective enterprise surveillance. The role of open-source intelligence in managing converged risk. The importance of converged risk management in protecting corporate brand and reputation. At the enterprise level, physical security will become more and more deeply embedded into the overall corporate IT strategy. Product vendors who do not make their software run more “native” in the IT infrastructure and do not move away from proprietary integrations with IT/logical security applications will be the “losers.” We are entering a whole new era of technology innovation that breaks down decades-old barriers between physical, logical and IT security 2014 was a transition year for Viscount, and we still succeeded with enormous growth. We repositioned the company in a new category of physical/logical converged solutions. An entirely new executive team was installed to re-launch the company and drive growth. We launched a new access control solution that completely departs from the conventional system architectures and can be deployed on existing IT infrastructure. We achieved the Federal Government’s FICAM certification as the first and only access control solution that is all software based, receiving a separate designation as FICAM 1302. All of this is setting the stage for 2015, which will be a breakout year. The challenges that come with sustaining high growth include continuing to deliver innovative products that solve new security threats, maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction, while simultaneously challenging an industry to “think differently” about how access control solutions are designed and deployed. We are entering a whole new era of technology innovation that breaks down decades-old barriers between physical, logical and IT security, creating new opportunities for innovative companies to solve the new security threats in more holistic ways. Emerging technologies in smart phones, wireless mobility, NFC, cloud infrastructure, virtualisation, data mining, identity management and cyber protection will dramatically alter the way physical security products are designed. Fully leveraging existing IT infrastructure investments, third-party applications and platforms will allow the smart physical security providers to produce more “native, IT-centric” solutions faster and at lower price points. The opportunities to create new solutions in a converged world will unlock tremendous growth opportunities for those innovative companies willing to think differently. See the full coverage of 2014/2015 Review and Forecast articles here
Physical access control system architecture should be built to use the changing IT infrastructures of today’s organizations to their fullest It’s time to completely rethink physical access control systems with an eye toward the changing world of information technology. Today’s physical access control system architecture only leverages existing network hardware technology – it doesn’t utilize the organization’s full IT infrastructure, which includes systems providing advanced security services and sources of security-related real-time information. A close look at most organization’s IT roadmaps will show that traditional-architecture access control systems are off on a side road. Physical access control system architecture should be built to use the changing IT infrastructures of today’s organizations to their fullest. Such an approach is key to future-proofing and minimizing costs. The architecture needs to be able to keep pace with technological advancements in computing, communications and integration at the system level and the device level, providing strong security capabilities in a cost-efficient manner. Because hardware-centric, distributed intelligence can’t keep up with IT advances, an ever-widening gap exists between the capabilities, effectiveness and ease of management that a physical access control system can provide – and what today’s physical access control products can provide. Unless the concept of “putting intelligence at the door” includes all the intelligence that should be utilised to make an access decision, such an approach actually provides less security than today’s networked technologies are capable of providing. A key issue is a system’s native support for technological advances versus requiring third-party devices and middleware in a piecemeal approach to system design. With traditional hardware-centric physical access control systems, advanced features and real-time authentication and authorization capabilities could only be achieved by implementing costly third-party solutions or custom-designed applications. Cost and reliability factors have kept such capabilities out of reach for most physical access control customers, even though IT security systems have had such features for more than a decade. Until a full transition is made to next-generation architecture, existing physical access control system deployments will continue to fall further and further behind as technology advances, and will continue to have shortcomings and weaknesses At the infrastructure level, next-generation physical access control system architecture must be IT-centric, taking advantage of an organization’s existing IT infrastructure. It must be deployable throughout the enterprise like any other business application that uses networked end-point devices. At the application level, next-generation physical access control system architecture must be IT-aligned in support of the customer’s preferred approaches to identity, credential and access management (ICAM), and must be easily integrated with relevant business systems. These changes create significant opportunities for integrators and end users, offering software- and net-centricity, server-based real-time access decisions, advanced security protection, scalability, IT- and ICAM-friendly deployment, and mobile device- and smart card-friendly deployment. There are two questions to consider about making the transition to next-generation physical access control architecture: First, will your organization’s current system be satisfactory five to 10 years from now given the pace of technological advances? Second, from a cost- and security-effectiveness standpoint, is continued investment in legacy physical access control technology the smartest approach to your organization’s critical asset protection and incident response needs? Until a full transition is made to next-generation architecture, existing physical access control system deployments will continue to fall further and further behind as technology advances, and will continue to have shortcomings and weaknesses – as well as needless costs – that constitute a liability to an organization’s asset protection program. Editor’s Note: This article is based on Mr. Raefield’s answers to several questions about the access control market posed by SourceSecurity.com.
Enterphone iQ enables to effectively control visitor access to residential, mixed use, and resort complexes Viscount Systems Inc. ("Viscount") recently announced that it will launch a new mid-priced telephone entry system, "Enterphone iQ" this year at ISC West, the largest security industry trade show in the U.S. Enterphone iQ is based on Viscount's legacy MESH technology, which enables facility management professionals and property managers to effectively control visitor access to residential, mixed use, and resort complexes. "We're looking forward to unveiling the newest addition to our Enterphone portfolio to the thousands of exhibitors and attendees at ISC West this year," said Dennis Raefield, President and CEO of Viscount. "Enterphone iQ captures a price point we did not previously target and allows Viscount to further penetrate a resurgent telephone entry market." A Software-Based Telephone Entry System Enterphone Touch Screen Kiosks and free-standing Kiosks are located at building entrances, lobbies and gates, and allow building tenants to communicate with visitors and grant or deny entry. Enterphone iQ joins Viscount's other Enterphone product lines, which include a range of options that offer customisable levels of aesthetics, resilience and functionality. The mid-priced Enterphone iQ offers a software-based telephone entry system at a price comparable to competitors' black and white, LCD, text line displays. Along with the additional Enterphone offerings, Enterphone iQ is designed to provide access control for the apartment and high rise condominium building market, the rapidly growing gated community market and various resort and mixed use developments that use traditional telephone wire intercom access control systems. In today's high-risk environment, real estate developers and property managers need to fully leverage their investment in IT infrastructure while also ensuring a high level of protection for residents and guests. Viscount's entire Enterphone product line, including our Enterphone iQ model, effectively delivers that promise. Viscount’s Booth At ISC West 2015 To learn more about Enterphone iQ and Viscount's full suite of security solutions and services that address today's physical security, regulatory and risk management challenges, please visit Viscount's booth #28045 at ISC West on April 15 - 17th, 2015.
Viscount Systems CEO and President will hold a conference call on Thursday, March 26 Viscount Systems Inc. ("Viscount"), a software company specializing in physical and logical security solutions, recently announced that it will release its fourth quarter and full year 2014 financial results on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, after the close of the U.S. financial markets. Conference Call To Review Results Dennis Raefield, CEO and President of Viscount Systems, will hold a conference call Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 1:15 PM PST (4:15 PM EST) to discuss Q4 and full year 2014 results. Join the meeting by following the procedures below. Please join the meeting by clicking on the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9023284375628762626 Join the conference call Canada (Long distance): +1 (647) 497-9368 United States: +1 (609) 318-0024 Access Code: 168-967-191 Audio PIN: Shown after joining the session Should you have questions during the event please send an email to email@example.com.
The new patent marks a significant advance in how access control systems can provide value during an emergency Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, has been awarded its third U.S. patent for its Freedom Access Control solution, building on the technology’s already strong intellectual property foundation. U.S. Patent 8907763 B2 outlines the system and method for mustering individuals during an emergency using mobile devices. Mustering, or accounting for individuals during an emergency, lockdown or evacuation has traditionally required a manual roll call process or a hard-wired access control panel to help account for individuals, allowing them to use access cards to “report” their location. However, this presents problems for visitors and those without card access. Viscount’s Freedom application changes the way mustering is conducted, allowing organizations to place a QR code at central meeting places. Now, individuals can simply scan the code with a mobile device to account for their whereabouts and system administrators can access a remote, Web-based platform to ensure compliance. QR codes can be placed in a number of locations, providing an inexpensive, easy-to-deploy alternative to traditional hardwired card readers that require power and may be limited to a single location. “This new patent marks a significant advance in how access control systems can provide value during an emergency,” said Dennis Raefield, President and CEO, Viscount Systems. “Using a unified physical/logical software application with the ability to utilize mobile devices to account for individuals enhances the way companies, schools and governments handle an emergency situation.” On a school campus, for example, students with a smartphone can scan a QR code that automatically triggers an e-mail to parents letting them know their child is in the school’s safe zone. “This innovation can mean the difference between life and death, and can allow for peace of mind for parents during an emergency,” Raefield said. The software-centric Freedom Access Control solution eliminates the need for physical access control panels. Instead, IP encryption bridges receive messages from the software platform to trigger lockdowns, advise personnel locations and monitor doors. Freedom may be used for interfacing facility access with control, particularly for facilities or physical premises, such as buildings, homes, physical infrastructure and restricted areas within buildings. Viscount Systems is pioneering the development of mobile and IoT technologies to drive future security applications. The company’s new, patented technology offers greater mobility and connectivity through its Freedom access control platform. As the “Internet of Things” (IoT) expands into security, more IP-enabled devices can be connected as an extension of an organization’s existing network infrastructure. As an example, this new technology allows customers to incorporate smartphones or other mobile devices to enhance security operations and management.
Arens participated in Viscount’s latest funding round and joins as designated board member Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, announced recently the addition of Geoffrey W. Arens to its Board of Directors. Mr. Arens participated in Viscount’s latest funding round and joins as the designated board member appointed by the company’s Series A Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock Holder, One East Capital. Mr. Arens has over 22 years of investment experience and is currently the Managing Partner and Founder of Dendera Capital LP, a New York-based hedge fund. Previously, Mr. Arens served as Managing Director for ING Capital LLC, where he ran the bank’s proprietary investing activities including its event-driven, Global Investment Strategies group. Mr. Arens previously served on the Board of Directors of California Coastal Communities, a residential land development and homebuilding company where he was Chair of the Compensation Committee and member of the Audit and Nomination Committees. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Cadiz Inc., a California-based water and agricultural resource where he was a member of the Audit and Nomination Committees. “I look forward to joining the Viscount Board of Directors and welcome the opportunity to be part of what is a compelling growth story moving forward,” Mr. Arens said. “Viscount is built on a foundation of innovation and as the company moves to scale with its Freedom platform, I am excited to help drive long-term, sustainable growth.” “Viscount is extremely fortunate to have Geoffrey’s advice and engaged support as one of our Directors,” said Dennis Raefield, President and CEO, Viscount Systems. “He has already made important contributions to our success, and I’m confident he will be an important partner in shaping our growth and strategic planning moving forward. I am happy to add another investor-oriented Board member to the team.”
In his new role with Viscount, Sieracki will be responsible for developing robust sales and business strategies Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, announced recently that it has appointed Scott Sieracki as its new Vice President of Sales effective immediately. Sieracki, who reports directly to Viscount President and CEO Dennis Raefield, will drive new opportunities for growth and development for the company specifically in the commercial marketplace. In his new role with Viscount, Sieracki will be responsible for developing robust sales and business strategies. He will leverage his extensive sales and executive management expertise to oversee all inside, distribution and federal sales functions, while directing general management of Viscount’s sales team. "I am excited to join the Viscount team and look forward to accelerating the company's business and sales strategies as we begin 2015," Sieracki said. "Viscount Systems is poised for significant growth in the commercial market and I'm looking forward to being a part of that growth and development. Our software-centric access control solution is delivered through continuous innovation and strong customer support, and the company is positioned for further advancement." Sieracki has more than 20 years of security industry expertise. He most recently served as Executive Vice President, Global Sales, IDV Solutions. Over the course of his career, he has held strategic leadership roles with leading global and start-up organizations including Vice President of Global Sales for Quantum Secure; Director of National Sales for Tyco Fire & Building Products (Software House); and President of Open Options. “Scott is an seasoned industry veteran who will bring significant access control and sales management experience to propel Viscount’s business to new levels,” said Raefield. “I am confident that Scott’s experience in sales and executive leadership positions will drive new levels of success for Viscount in our target markets in North America and beyond.”
Viscount’s software-centric Freedom Access Control solution takes physical access control panels out of the equation Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, announced recently it has received a second U.S. patent for its Freedom Access Control solution, building on the technology’s strong IP foundation. U.S. Patent 8854177 B2 outlines the system and method for storing user permissions for multiple disparate physical devices in a unified permissions database, connected to a network in common with the products. Physical access control traditionally requires significant amounts of expensive proprietary hardware to drive the decision database. Viscount’s software-centric Freedom Access Control solution takes physical access control panels out of the equation. Instead, IP encryption bridges receive messages from the Freedom software platform to trigger locks and monitor doors. The solution works by assigning permissions for existing users and groups through databases, such as Active Directory, based on the functions of each IP bridge and associated MAC address. “This new patent marks another significant advance in how access control systems are deployed and managed,” said Dennis Raefield, CEO, Viscount Systems. “It further validates our vision to transform access control from a physical security solution to a unified physical/logical security software application. Innovation is at the core of Viscount’s Freedom platform and as such, we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible." For the end user, unified software systems, such as Freedom, provide a wide range of benefits from measureable ROI and simplified systems management to new levels of functionality and harmonisation with logical and cyber security applications. Designed as a software-centric platform, Freedom delivers simplified system audits and compliance through correlated logical and physical databases and logs, and creates direct relationships between IT and corporate security functions.
Viscount will secure sites for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, recently announced that it has been awarded additional contracts to secure U.S. Federal Government facilities in Washington, D.C., and Ohio for the Department of Homeland Security – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). “We are proud of our continued collaboration with our Federal System Partners. With the Freedom Access Control solution recently approved as fully FICAM-compliant, our product line meets the security and interoperability specifications outlined within the FICAM testing process, ensuring a strong value proposition,” said Dennis Raefield, CEO and President, Viscount Systems. “Our solid execution of delivering high-caliber security solutions that meet and exceed rigorous security requirements enables us to be well-positioned for aggressive growth.” Freedom is a revolutionary IT-centric access control system that eliminates the need for traditional access control panels. Fully compliant with FIPS-201 and HSPD-12, Freedom leverages the power of the IT infrastructure to control access points through encryption bridges that transform card readers into IP addressable devices. All data is encrypted to eliminate the opportunity for cyber threats, ensuring a high level of security is maintained. Network complexity and upfront costs are immediately reduced due to a reduction in hardware and infrastructure investments, allowing users to meet strict budget requirements, and experience immediate and long-term return-on-investment.
The Systems have been certified to UL 294 Standard for Access Control System Units by Intertek ETL Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, recently announced the successful completion of UL 294 certification testing of the Freedom Access Control and ID Management Systems with its IP encryption bridges. The Systems have been certified to the UL 294 Standard for Access Control System Units according to testing by Intertek National Testing Labs (ETL), a Nationally Recognized Testing Lab (NRTL). Applicable Freedom Systems' will now be available for customers requiring UL 294 conformity/compliance. UL has developed more than 1,000 Standards for Safety, which are vital to ensuring public safety and improving quality of products and services. "Our customers rely on us for proven products and solutions for many of their most critical security requirements," noted Dennis Raefield, President and CEO of Viscount. "Completing our UL certification is further industry validation of our Freedom system architecture, which represents a software-centric approach to access control and ID management, a dramatic departure from traditional hardware-centric systems," Raefield further noted.
Viscount is able to deliver security solutions that meet the Government's high compliance standards Viscount Systems, a leading provider of IT-based security software and services, recently announced that it has been awarded additional contracts to secure U.S. Federal Government facilities in Missouri and Massachusetts for the Department of Homeland Security - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). "The pace of new contract activity with USCIS and other agencies within the Federal government continues to grow. This escalation is based on Viscount's ability to deliver security solutions that meet the Government's high compliance standards for performance, reliability and support," noted Dennis Raefield, President and CEO of Viscount. "We are committed to work with our Federal Systems Partners to provide solutions that not only meet the Government's rigorous security technology standards, but establish Viscount Systems as a trusted vendor in securing our Nation's institutions and infrastructure."