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Kim Rahfaldt
Public Relations Manager
AMAG Technology

How to Overcome Airport Security Challenges and Solutions 

No matter the size, airports are responsible for the security of all workers who are employed within their walls, on the tarmac, and grounds. The challenge is ninety percent of those people don’t work for the airport. They work for the airlines, TSA, or different vendors that reside as tenants within the airport.

Airports need to provide a friendly and efficient experience for their tenants. They need to ensure the different employees (identities) are properly vetted and managed throughout their lifecycle. Additional challenges include the use of multiple disparate systems across an airport plus the rules and regulations that must be followed. How can airports provide a high level of customer service for their tenants, meet compliance regulations and ensure the safety and security of everyone? 

Onboarding

The faster an airport can onboard a new employee, the happier the tenant. When a new employee is hired, they get assigned to an airport and need a badge. The onboarding process is usually manual, and requires employees to make multiple trips to their airport to answer questions, get a background check, get fingerprinted, go through training, etc. Most of the time, the onboarding officer has to work in several different systems to complete the onboarding, which is cumbersome and error prone. Airports get pressured to quicken this process, and have an opportunity to show value to their tenants by getting new employees badged and out to work quickly.  By streamlining the onboarding process using an identity management system, the procedures are automated and the airline employee starts work faster. What used to take weeks, now takes days, plus automated processes also free up staff time, saving money.

Airports are highly regulated, and employees need to pass background checks and have a certain level of insurance to work in highly restricted areas like the Security Identification Display Area (SIDA). An identity management system can automate and streamline compliance requirements, ensuring the airport will not fall out of compliance. Built in reporting features provide pre-configured reports to streamline employee audits.

Unified Security

In the Security Operations Center, security officers monitor cameras that integrate with the access control system. When an alarm occurs, the video immediately pops up so the officer can see what is happening and respond quickly. Workflow modules outline what steps must be taken to address the alarm, which ensures the proper procedures are followed and quick action taken. Tools that allow officers to manage access control and video functions from one screen also aid in the response and provide a higher level of security. The ability to address alarms and videos from one screen along with a workflow aid provides unified alarm management and streamlines the process around what happens when an alarm comes in as officers receive, review and respond.

As alarms occur, security officers need to manage and document those incidents. Officers can investigate incidents and build a case when warranted using incident and case management software. The analytics uncover inefficiencies in processes and show where the airport can streamline to save money. 

Using a holistic, unified approach can automate processes around access control, video verification and alarm management, which improves security.

Multi Factor Authentication

In most markets, multifactor authentication is used on a fraction of the doors. In the airport environment, multifactor authentication is used throughout the airport. Every employee must present a badge and enter a PIN. If an employee loses a badge, a perpetrator cannot open a door without the PIN. This is especially critical on the SIDA side of the airport where tarmac access is available.

Compliance

Employees who work on the tarmac must have a large amount of insurance. If an airline employee’s insurance lapses, but they still have access, the airline would have to pay a big fine. An identity management system allows the airlines and other tenants to automatically track when insurance premiums are due and when background checks need to be performed.  By automating these processes, airport tenants know who can be where and when, when certifications, insurance premiums or background checks are set to expire, and can renew premiums and conduct a background check at the scheduled time. This keeps the airport in compliance, mitigates risk, and saves money.

Sonoma County Airport

Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport is located in Santa Rosa, California. When Alaska Airlines began service, officials realized the airport was not equipped to handle current security requirements and the increased number of passengers. The airport received funds to remodel and expand the passenger terminal, and decided to upgrade their security system. 

The airport installed an access control system with integrated video to secure its three buildings and 12 vehicle gates. The integration between the controllers and card readers provided a solution that reads the Federal Aviation Administration’s government issued ID cards. They needed to meet TSA requirements, and provide two levels of access for the terminal, remainder of the airfield, general aviation and cargo areas (SIDA and AOA). They needed to demonstrate to TSA who was in the building and when, and pull up that history when asked to meet compliance.

Anyone entering the vehicle gates must have an Airport Operations Area (AOA) badge to gain access. Cameras monitor transactions and an audit trail verifies who entered and when. Maintaining tight control of who is on the airfield is critical. If an unauthorized person tries to badge in, an alarm is sent to the access control system. An image appears on the monitor and the security staff decides how to proceed. Employees who work for the airlines, TSA and the airport work the Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) and must also have their badge displayed at all times.

Installing a unified security system allowed airport cameras to automatically record alarms driven by the access control system, providing tight security.  It also generated an audit trail to enforce audit and compliance requirements, saving the airport money.


Mr. Kurt Takahashi
President
AMAG Technology

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At first glance, access control systems may appear straightforward: built simply to lock and unlock a door. But delve deeper, and the administration of granting approval becomes extremely labor-intensive, and timely, in nature. Email traffic between security teams and site managers or business owners becomes overwhelming, as requests for approvals must be granted and access taken away manually, and precious time is wasted generating reports.While this in itself is problematic, it also leads to a rise in third-party compliance regulations. In the US, these can include everything from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for the healthcare sector to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection standards for utilities. So, how do you efficiently manage the way that physical identities are requesting approval, and ensure that it is carried out correctly? More


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SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today.  Before discussing AMAG Solutions in greater detail, please tell  us about your background?

Kurt Takahashi:  Thank you for having me. I am President at AMAG Technology, and lead AMAG’s sales force to implement new strategies to drive growth and extend exceptional customer service.

   
I began my security career at Sensormatic Corporation before moving to ADT Security Services where I worked my way up for 17 years to Group Director, Integrated Solutions Sales. As Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Quantum Secure, I reorganized Sales, Business Development and Marketing teams which helped increased global pipeline, sales and year over year revenue growth.

My expertise in PSIM/PIAM enterprise software and IP based security solutions such as access control, video and intrusion, make a good fit here at AMAG. I enjoy improving processes and strategizing sales and marketing initiatives to achieve results by understanding the customer and how solutions and services can benefit their organization.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Can you give us an update on AMAG Technology?

Kurt Takahashi: It’s been an exciting 12 months at AMAG.  We launched our Symmetry GUEST Visitor Management web-based solution early last year and it won New Product of the Year from Security Products magazine. Symmetry GUEST improves the visitor experience, streamlines operations while improving processes.  In many cases we provide smarter ways to ensure pre-registration of visitors and optimize how lobbies are both manned and managed. Organizations will know who is entering their building, properly vet them and ensure all compliance requirements are met. Visitors can check in using their smartphone or self-service kiosk, allowing organizations to be smarter about headcount  and provide a much improved visitor experience.

AMAG Technology has a rich history of 40+ years in the access control industry. Our goal is to extend the value of our access control platform by adding new solutions such as  Symmetry GUEST and soon to be released Symmetry CONNECT, our policy-based identity management system. AMAG Technology provides access control, video management, intrusion alarm, visitor management, identity management and incident management all by a single provider. Our policy-based platform and automation engine helps companies operationalize their electronic security ecosystem.  Our highly flexible open platform enables us to add new innovative technology built by our business partners easily and timely. This helps companies simplify their operations by allowing them to utilize AMAG’s user interface to manage their complex environments.

Security technology must work together in harmony to deliver a total security solution.   It needs to reach beyond and deliver greater operational value to the business. Selecting the right technology can completely impact an overall business. It can reduce risk, ensure compliance and save money by improving the overall process. It is our goal to deliver superior outcomes with both a technological and operational focus. AMAG’s solutions will help companies mitigate risk, streamline internal processes to ensure compliance and save money.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com:  What other new products have you brought to market this year and how are they helping organizations?

Kurt Takahashi: Our Symmetry CONNECT hosted solution helps automate all the back office management of visitors, contractors and employees.  It provides an automated way to on-board, manage requests, re-certify access, off-board and audit restricted doors and / or areas. It provides a single operational window to ensure the right people are in the right places with the right approval and quickly report on the outcomes.

At AMAG, we listen to our customers and bring technology solutions to market that help end users perform their jobs better. For example, our new Symmetry Control Desk delivers unrivaled unified security in one place. It fuses what historically takes multiple screens and operating windows into one by fusing together both access control events, live and recorded video, control over surrounding devices and automated workflow to help manage the incident and post orders.

We also just launched the Symmetry Bluetooth reader range. The Symmetry Blue reader range is used with Android or iOS Smart Phones alongside or in place of traditional cards.  Users download a free app and start using it.  The free app does not require a license, separate portal or a third party subscription to operate.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: AMAG offers a unified security solution to the market, but values and promotes integrations with different technologies.  What is your stance on third party integrations and why do you think they are important?

Kurt Takahashi: AMAG continuously examines new and different technologies in the market.  If there is a need for an integration, we will fill that need.  Our brand new integration with the RISK360 Incident and Case Management solution is a good example. Alarms in the Symmetry Access Control software communicate with RISK360, creating an incident, which could lead to a computer aided dispatch and provide critical information, producing a case management report for investigative purposes. We found a need for this integration in the market, listened to our customers and delivered it.
Our successful Symmetry Preferred Partner Program has been in operation for many years.  Every month we are jointly certifying integrations with technologies inside and outside the security industry. We are excited so many companies want to integrate with our Symmetry solution and are thrilled there are so many end users demanding these integrations.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Congratulations on the Federal Trade Commission project. Can you tell us more about the Symmetry solution they are using?

Kurt Takahashi: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has selected AMAG Technology and its Symmetry Homeland Access Control System to secure its headquarter building, Office of the Executive Director. Symmetry helps the FTC meet HSPD-12 which calls for a mandatory, government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the federal government, and the Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 201 (FIPS 201) which specifies PIV requirements for Federal employees and contractors. The FTC plans to install Symmetry Homeland in all 13 offices throughout Washington DC and surrounding area.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Kurt.