With all the fast-moving and exciting developments in the security industry it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends and what they actually offer to users and operators. Here is TDSi's guide to some of the key decisions faced by customers and installers in security technology.
Edge Verses Distributed Intelligence
This is a complicated sounding term for what is actually a straightforward choice with data storage either on a mobile or remote device (Edge) or shared via an online connection between a network of devices and a central storage system (Distributed).
In the 'Edge' model decisions/events are stored on the device being used (be that a security device or a smartphone etc.) The advantage is that data does not have to be shared to make decisions, the device being used can act upon pre-programmed protocols. An example could be a isolated security reader which holds details of all the approved identities it is able to grant access to. This approach is particularly well suited to a poorly connected network.
However, the 'Distributed' model is much more effective over a large and well-connected online network. A security system with central records ensure devices can reference against up-to-date information instantly. This also gives security operators and the organisation's decision makers a much more comprehensive view of the wider operational status at any given time.
Cloud Verses Server-based systems
The decision between cloud-based security systems and those that are server-based is also often defined by the needs of the operating environment. These are also two strategies where there can be strong opinions for and against.
Traditionally there was a reluctance to entrust security systems to the cloud, with perceived notions that the online connectivity would be more open to attack. However, online security has significantly strengthened in recent years. Think of all the financial transactions which are carried out online every day, all around the world. Users trust their money to online security and so too do security operators who realise the benefits of fast and reliable connections, with greater flexibility in performing actions and administrating overall organisational security.
Naturally on-site server-based security systems can also face the threat of unauthorised access and tampering. If a criminal can gain access to the on-site servers (perhaps posing as an employee or contractor), with the right know-how they can also compromise the access control as well as wider security systems.
Modern data encryption methods have transformed both cloud and server-based security systems so actually the choice is often down to preference and individual circumstances of the business operating it - both can offer excellent solutions when applied appropriately.
IP Verses Serial connections
The increased use of IP connections has revolutionised the installation process of security systems. Having traditionally run wired serial connections for electronic security, the IP alternative offers great flexibility for even the most demanding project.
The obvious advantages of an IP connection are that it uses existing cabling and a vast array of potential systems that a security device can communicate with. This could include the organisation's central database, a remote command and control centre or even a secure mobile device carried by the security team.
There are huge benefits when it comes to installation too. With serial cables the length of the connections between other controllers is a deciding factor on where security hardware can be installed. There can be compatibility problems between different types of wires too, limiting flexibility and the introduction of new security elements. IP systems are highly compatible, avoid problems with physical location and offer wireless options where installation could be a challenge.
IP Systems also provide the ability to monitor the devices using the industry standard SNMP protocol for network diagnostics. This means that the IT department can assist with monitoring and diagnostics of any problems.
Security Credentials Cards Verses Biometrics
The options for security credential systems have really opened up in recent years. Traditionally security cards have been favoured and biometrics systems offered an interesting but somewhat specialist alternative that has sometimes been impractical or prohibitively expensive in the real world. Technology developments now mean this is no longer the case.
MIFARE Cards have long been a highly flexible option, used for security access control but also for vending systems or as ID for the loaning of items. This popularity has brought about its own issues however, with cloning technology becoming a concern. The latest MIFARE Plus and DESfire technologies are addressing this and mean this is still a highly flexible, secure and cost-effective option
Modern biometrics systems also offer a much better option than ever before. Fingerprint and finger vein readers, and more recently facial recognition, offer a very high level of security and by their nature (using the uniqueness of the human body) and do away with the inconvenience of having to carry a card. At the same time they are more expensive and not always particularly well suited to very busy or heavily used access locations. However, offering the choice means there’s a solution for any problem.
There is also an excellent third option though combining cards, biometrics and PIN technology in one reader for a highly flexible approach. This can be used to offer multiple access options or even as three layers of security, where only the most secure access control is an option. This is the perfect solution for high security applications such as data centres, government/military facilities and banks/financial institutions.
Speak to the experts!
For more details on the security systems on offer and which ones would benefit your organisation or customers, please contact us on 01202 723 535
TDSi Product and Marketing Manager
Sarah began at TDSi in 2011 as Marketing Co-ordinator, her role has developed to emcompass both marketing and product managment. Her key focus is to improve the customer experience by supporting the delivery of innovative products and services.