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Archives > August 2014 > Private Universities are Getting Smart About Student ID Technology

Private Universities are Getting Smart About Student ID Technology

Whether a card or mobile phone, credentials are becoming smart-Villanova and University of San Francisco lead the way.

By: Ann Timme

A student's ID card is one of the most important things they will use in their daily lives on campus. Today, there are three major initiatives for credentials used as student IDs that universities need to be aware of.

1. Smart cards are becoming the credential of choice. If you presently use magnetic stripe or proximity cards, start planning for the switchover now.

2. It's going to be a hybrid world. Although smart cards will be the credential of choice, multiple types of credentials-such as keys, PINs, various types of cards and biometrics-will still be necessary for certain operations. And, even though you may be using multiple types of credentials, you still will want one system to manage all of them.

3. Get ready for new technologies such as NFC (near field communications). With NFCenabled smart phones, you will be able to employ your employees' and students' smart phones as access credentials as well as for other applications around campus, just like they would use smart cards. Start preparing to choose the right technology now.

SMART TECHNOLOGY
Today, a smart credential, at about the same price as a proximity card, provides a higher level of security, more convenience and far greater functionality than other types of credentials currently used. On campuses, smart credentials have the ability to be used to gain access, make payments and many other functions in a much more secure manner.

For instance using MIFARE DESFireT EV1 technology offers several different layers of security, including mutual authentication, which creates the ability for the university to verify or authenticate the server. These smart credentials will also provide the following:

• AES 128-bit encryption, a key encryption technique that helps protect sensitive information.
• Diversified keys which virtually ensure no one can read or access the holder's credentials information without authorization.
• Message authentication code (MAC) which further protects each transaction between the credential and the reader. This security feature ensures complete and unmodified transfer of information, helping to protect data integrity and prevent outside attacks.

This is the bottom line: smart credentials increase the security of information kept on the card and stored in systems. In comparison to door keys, magnetic stripe cards or proximity cards, the encrypted security of smart credentials ensures that they are far harder to counterfeit.

IT-approved. When presenting a smart card solution, be prepared for representatives from the IT department to take notice. More and more security system decisions are being made with input from the IT department. Additionally, we're seeing increased desire for the convergence of physical and logical security access control.

ONE CARD, MANY USES
Although many still use magnetic stripe or proximity cards, universities have been out front in their use of the smart card one-card solution. That's because they can easily use smart cards for more applications than other card technologies, such as identification, building or room access, meal plans and "dining-dollars," student health facilities, access to recreational facilities, and charge privileges at university bookstores. Smart cards also prove useful for library circulation privileges, admission to athletic events, access to university transit and even bankcard access to university services-which eliminates the need to carry money on campus-and holding a biometric template.

Issuing only one smart credential also impacts administrative costs. Not only is the cost of a single credential lower than purchasing multiple forms of ID, but the reduced management and distribution time for one credential will have a significant impact on productivity.

As those using smart cards have found, there can be a caveat in deploying smart cards. Choosing the right smart card credential can make all the difference when trying to use them with applications other than access control. Look for platforms that are open format rather than those designed to work within proprietary systems or systems of a limited partner group. Open format systems are easier and less expensive to deploy while letting the university continue to use its present systems and equipment.

USING SMART PHONES LIKE SMART CARDS
As Near Field Communications (NFC) technology is now being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to enable access control, payments and many other applications, more and more organizations are considering joining the "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend and having their users deploy their own smart phones as their access control credentials.

NFC provides communication between two devices that are in close proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few inches and with the same security as using a smart card.

Since November 2011, Villanova University students and staff have been using the aptiQmobile web-based service along with NFC and their own personal smart phones as their ID to access dormitories, academic buildings and administration offices. Among the students in the Villanova trial, over 70 percent stated they would prefer to use their phone instead of a badge to enter buildings.

At Villanova, the NFC credential seamlessly integrates with the university's CS Gold campus card system from CBORD. CS Gold fully supports NFC credentials and seamlessly integrates with the aptiQmobile web service, so the credential download process is easy. Students download the aptiQmobile app to install their one-card credential to their phone. To use the credential, they simply open the app and present the phone to the reader. Access is quick, easy and secure.

The University of San Francisco (USF) also uses student smart phones and aptiQmobile for door access plus payment at laundry terminals. USF's systems approach integrates all aspects of a physical security solution including campus card programs, biometrics, access control, video surveillance systems, and incident response and notification systems. USF chose such a convergence model to increase crime prevention, respond to incidents in progress with as much information as possible and alert the community when incidents are in progress through an effective, multi-layer approach and to improve their investigative tools. The project's first phase was completed with high acceptance and further expansion is planned. USF also integrates its NFC credential seamlessly with their CS Gold campus card system from CBORD using the aptiQmobile app.

VERIFYING WHO IS AT THE DOOR
For those situations in which a campus needs additional verification to confirm access (above someone having the appropriate smart card or smart phone), biometrics handles the challenge.

There is probably no setting where biometric devices are more visible than on college campuses. Data from independent research, included in "Effective Management of Safe & Secure Openings & Identities," showed that ten percent of colleges are already using biometrics. Besides residence halls, some of the most popular venues for biometrics on a campus are recreational facilities. Students continually forget to bring their cards when planning to work out, but when using biometric information such as hand geometry, they are easily verified and admitted by using only their hand. Plus, the recreational facility doesn't face the problem of students transferring an ID card to a friend.

Biometrics are also popular at dining halls where they limit access to students who have paid for the meal plan and at computer labs where only those authorized to enter can do so, protecting sensitive equipment and information. Students throughout the nation appreciate the added security and convenience of not worrying about lost, stolen or borrowed credentials.

WHAT TO DO TODAY
For those campuses already using multi-technology access control readers from aptiQ, there is no need to replace readers in order to migrate to smart cards, smart phones or a combination of the two. These readers can work with PINs, magnetic stripe, proximity and smart cards as well as NFC-enabled mobile phone credentials all in one reader, providing universities an easy migration path to upgrade credential technologies at their own pace. If non-smart access technology is currently being used, multi-technology readers can be installed to help ease into the transition by reading both current ID badges and smart phones. This also makes it easy for campuses to continue to operate in a hybrid world of cards and mobile if needed.

Thus, it is very important that campuses be prepared for smart credential and NFC deployment, even if that facility wants to install proximity, magnetic stripe or keypad readers at present, and knows where biometrics can be most effective. If installation of a new reader on campus is needed, select multi-technology readers that combine the ability to read magnetic stripe, proximity, smart cards and NFC-enabled smart phones in just a single unit. That way, when the campus switches over to smart credentials, it won't have to tear out the old readers to install smart credential readers. During the transition, the campus can use both their old magnetic stripe and proximity credentials and the new smart credentials.

Some photography provided by Allegion

 

 

About The Author
Ann Timme

is Allegion Marketing Manager-Higher Education. She can be contacted at anntimme@allegion.com. Information about Allegion is available at www.allegion.com.

 

 

 

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