Problem Solver: Promoting Smart Cards

With the price of smart credentials being comparable to proximity cards, there is no reason for your customer not to deploy smart credentials immediately, even if the only application will be physical access control. A smart credential, for a comparable price, provides a much higher level of security than today’s most popular card credential, the proximity card. Not only are they are more secure, they offer increased data storage and can be used for multiple applications within a facility.

Smart cards use high security encryption methods that ensure the data on the card is safe, even during transactions. For instance, the aptiQ™ smart card offers four different layers of security:

  • Mutual authentication ensures that the reader and the card are allowed to talk with each other before any information is exchanged.
  • AES 128-bit encryption is an advanced key encryption technique that helps protect sensitive information. This is the same style of secure encryption that protects documents of national security at the National Security Administration (NSA).
  • Diversified keys ensure that no two credentials are encoded alike, meaning if one credential somehow got “hacked,” the criminal still won’t have access to any other credential on the system.
  • Message authentication code (MAC) further protects each transaction between the credential and the reader. This security features ensures complete and unmodified transfer of information, helping to protect data integrity and prevent outside attacks.

With the ability to store more data than other credentials, smart cards are the perfect choice when creating a credential strategy that involves consolidation of many credentials into one card that can be use for all of the different applications that are required in the facility.


Readers Help Make the Transition Easier

As your customers plan to upgrade to smart cards, they should also examine the readers they’re using to read their credentials and start planning for the future. For example, many organizations with magnetic stripe or proximity based access control systems are now deploying multi-technology readers, which read magnetic stripe, proximity and smart cards at the same time, anticipating the eventual move to smart card credentials. Knowing that issuing new smart cards to everyone in the facility at one time could be an overwhelming and expensive task, multi-technology readers let facilities migrate to smart card technology over time. By thinking ahead, you can help them be ready for the move to smart credentials and avoid having to replace devices as they move from one credential technology to another – saving time and money.

Also, promote access control devices that are open architecture. Open architecture devices work with most access control systems. This ensures that the devices they choose will work with their existing system as well as any system they might move to in the future. By not having to replace devices during a system transition, their future acquisition and installation costs are greatly reduced.


Jeremy Earles is Portfolio Manager, Credentials & Readers, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies