Access Control for Outsiders
When government or private employees come to work, they unlock secure workplaces with access control cards. Without a card, no access can be granted, unless, of course, the person has come to fix the plumbing, repair a computer, replace the water cooler bottle, drop off a package, service the coffee machine, deliver lunch, or carry out any of the hundreds of legitimate tasks outside people handle in offices every day.
Shouldn’t outsiders undergo some kind of check beyond showing a driver’s license or employee identification card to a security officer at the door?
Sometimes they do. For some outside contractors, gaining access to secure facilities requires an interminable wait while security tries to verify identity and authorize entry. Similar problems can arise for a private or government worker assigned to a different company or agency facility for the day.
Whether it is done too quickly or too slowly, deciding how to admit outsiders is a stumbling block for many conventional security systems.
Andrew Chapman, CEO of oneID LLC, Dallas, says his company offers an alternative to identify and authorize outsiders. Opened for business in April, oneID is an Internet- and telephone-accessible identification and background verification service. “Our idea is to figure out an access control system for the other 95 percent of the world — the people that come to facilities but are not employees,” says Chapman.
Chapman says oneID has modeled its services to fit the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program being developed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). TWIC aims to provide a cross-facility credential to enable authorized airport workers to move freely among installations.
The company is also discussing ways to admit delivery trucks from vendors with the Naval Supply Systems Command, which runs Naval Exchange retail operations.
In a process called “Simple Verification,” the oneID service enrolls personnel working for suppliers, vendors and other contractors and posts profiles on a secure oneID Web site. The profiles include a photograph, voiceprint, voice message, fingerprint, signature and the results of a background check of criminal, driving and other records. Those seeking enrollment must sign a consent form authorizing oneID to conduct the background check. Anyone convicted of any of 29 criminal offenses will fail the check and not be enrolled. Successful enrollees receive a oneID identification badge in the mail, which contains a photo, company logo, company name, and a oneID identification code, toll free phone number and Web site address.
Upon receiving the badge, the person calls oneID to activate it. During the phone call, the oneID system matches the individual’s voice to the voiceprint stored on the Web site. A successful match activates the oneID profile of the individual.
The contractor or vendor pays a fee to register each employee and a monthly subscription fee for verification services. The service carries no charge for facilities that the contractors or vendors will visit to perform work or make deliveries.
A government agency, for example, might require its vendors to enroll employees in the oneID system. When an enrolled vendor’s employee arrives at the agency office, he or she would present the oneID badge.
A security officer monitoring the agency’s entrance can verify the individual’s identity in several ways. First, the officer can simply compare the photo on the badge to the person. Second, the officer can call the number on the oneID card and listen to a recording of the individual’s voice, making a judgment as to the match. If that’s not good enough, the officer can log into the oneID Web site (www.oneidusa.com), key in a code recorded on the identification card and view a picture of the individual. Out in the field, an officer can use a Web-enabled cell phone or other handheld device to access the site and order up a person’s picture.
For higher-security government installations, oneID has taken its system a step further by recording fingerprints of enrollees on its Web site. “You do an easy handshake from our system to your biometric system and bump our fingerprints up against the vendor’s,” Chapman says.
In this scenario, a vendor would present his or her oneID card to a card reader and touch a fingerprint reader. The system compares the scanned print to the print on the card to the print stored in the oneID database.