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Exceeding standards within access control

Exceeding standards within access control

The concept of access control has been placed under the proverbial microscope after witnessing hundreds of people storm the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month during one of the most infamous and unforgettable days in American history.

Watching video footage of outnumbered and overwhelmed Capitol police officers as political rioters vandalized offices, meeting chambers and the building’s historic Rotunda served as a reminder of the importance of fortified access control in higher-security facilities like the Capitol Building.  

Knowing that access control is one of the key elements in putting together a comprehensive security plan, it is imperative that standards are continually enhanced to give end users peace of mind knowing that their facilities are safe and secure.

To that end, the Security Industry Association (SIA) Working Group has developed and maintained the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) since 2011. This access control communications standard was designed to improve interoperability among access control and security products and was approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) technical committee on alarm and electronic security systems as an international standard in June 2020.

SIA recently announced the newest version of the standard, SIA OSDP Version 2.2, which replaces SIA OSDP 2.1.7 that was released in 2015. This latest version will allow peripheral devices to interface with control panels or other security management systems, according to the association.

In announcing the newest standard, SIA pointed out that among the updates are an enhanced method for file transfer, which allows for the transfer of large data sets for firmware updates or graphics from an access control unit to a reader, clearer instructions for the implementation of Secure Channel to facilitate encrypted communications and updated messages for handling smartcard applications within the protocol.

SIA also noted that OSDP version 2.2 is a “bridge that allows for easier updates of the OSDP specification and the subsequent publishing of these enhancements as an international standard. SIA OSDP allows devices, such as card readers, control panels or other security management systems to work together, providing the security industry with a solution that moves far beyond the widely used Wiegand standard in terms of security and functionality. A two-way channel and encryption pave the way for advanced security applications such as the handling of smart cards, biometrics and government applications that require public key infrastructure or federal identity, credential and access management requirements.”

With a combination of higher security, ease of use, and more interoperability, this latest version of the SIA OSDP standard not only fulfills customers’ security needs, but also offers greater functionality for the end users.  

As Steve Rogers, co-chair of the SIA OSDP Working roup and president at IQ Devices, stated upon the release of the new standard, “SIA OSDP version 2.2 is a culmination of all of the work done over the past five years to prepare the protocol for international standardization and fixes the majority of common implementation challenges faced by implementers of version 2.1.7.”

Access control technology has changed dramatically in recent years, and the need for improved standards in the security industry has never been greater. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, where temperature monitoring and mask detection are the new norm at building access points, cannabis dispensaries that are now opened in almost 20  U.S. states must have tight security measures in place, specifically at entry/exit points and cash-handling areas.

In light of the shocking events in Washington, D.C. just two weeks ago, there cannot be a drop-off in the level of security at government and other high-level facilities. With the latest version of the SIA OSDP standard now in place, we can only hope that access control will not be a source of anxiety, and instead offer a much-needed sense of security during these challenging times.



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