By J. Matthew Ladd, The Protection Bureau
Over the past four years, the adoption of mobile credentials for access control has increased significantly, and is expected to account for 20% of all credentials by 2020. While it will be some time before mobile credentials replace the tried and true plastic card completely, the industry is beginning to embrace this new technology and implement it in a way that provides more secure data exchanges in the long run. In an industry where old habits die hard, it is important to examine the advantages of all possible solutions and decide what is best for you.
- 1) Mobile credentials are less likely to get lost
The largest security risk, as it relates to access control, is if a credential gets into the wrong hands. There is no easy way to identify when this happens, or even to track where the credential ends up. By the time a user realizes their credential is missing and reports it, it could have already been used to access secure areas. If this card is replaced with a mobile credential, the likelihood of it going missing decreases significantly. There are few daily tasks that can be completed without a cell phone. From tracking calendars, taking conference calls and checking emails on the go, a busy professional is never without their mobile device, and if they are, they typically know where they left it. The same cannot be said for a credential card. People could leave it on their desk, in their car or at home without a second thought. Try hiding someone’s cell phone versus their credential card and see which one they notice is missing first.
- 2) Mobile credentials offer more than traditional credentials – and are more convenient
While mobile credentials get you in the door, they have the power to accomplish so much more. Already, mobile devices have multifactor authentication built into them, with fingerprints, pins and facial recognition technology. If an access control system utilizes these built-in features, users can gain the heightened security of multifactor authentication without the need for new hardware, which can be costly and time consuming. In addition, mobile devices also have location services built into them, alleviating the need to scan an actual badge by using proximity servers to identify when a person is near a door they need access to. When juggling coffee, laptops and breakfast in the morning, the last thing an employee wants to worry about is digging around for a credential card.
- 3) Mobile credentials can save money
Mobile credentials already seem like the easiest choice, but the real selling point is that they can be far more cost effective than the traditional access control badge. They are easily upgradable and eliminate the cost associated with issuing a physical badge or access control card to every employee. Because employees are already using their cell phones, it makes sense to leverage the technology everyone already carries in their pockets. This is especially useful on college campuses or hotels, where key cards are replaced frequently.
Overall, mobile credentials are making a good case for themselves. From convenience, to increased security, to long-term cost savings, it simply seems like the logical direction for the industry to go. As implementation has picked up in past years, time will tell if the industry adopts mobile credentials exclusively.