Access control for both physical and cyber systems is equally mission-critical, but many financial institutions today rely on outdated technology and communication protocols that leave them exposed to potential theft of intellectual property, data breaches, and compliance violations. Security teams can take advantage of key events and circumstances, such as mergers and facilities consolidation, to win support for cost-effective and minimally disruptive physical access systems upgrades.

Older, vulnerable physical access control systems (PACS) can enable insiders and criminals to gain access to secure facilities, where they may then access networked computer systems, physical assets, or personnel. The problem goes beyond outdated credentials. PACS are made up of card readers that communicate with a controller via an access control protocol. The most commonly deployed protocol dates back to the early 1980s; it is unencrypted and vulnerable to interception and cloning. Furthermore, such older systems are difficult and costly to maintain, limited in functionality and distance, and cannot be updated remotely.

A major weakness of older-technology PACS involves the use of proprietary software that is bound to specific hardware. This type of vendor lock-in limits a financial institution’s ability to turn to alternative suppliers, which could improve security, reduce costs, and enhance the consumer experience.

Benefits of upgrading to dynamic technologies

Implementing new, more dynamic access control technologies provides many benefits over maintaining older, more static ones. Replacing physical credential management with a digital process enables organizations to respond quickly to security issues, such as deactivating devices and deprovisioning a user’s credentials over the air. Similarly, mobile credentials can be issued and updated electronically while eliminating the costs and time lags of reissuing plastic cards. The business case for an upgrade can be built around three key benefits:

  • Increased usability and support for mobile credentials now and in the future

  • Operational efficiencies in reducing card management issues, such as massive re-carding

  • Centralized management of secure identities to ensure consistency, greater security, and more efficiency of resources

4 key steps in the migration process

Security teams face a number of challenges when it comes to upgrading PACS without disrupting day-to-day operations. An essential element of any upgrade plan is a complete site survey to determine what is installed where, and what it is meant to protect.  Financial institutions should follow these key steps in the migration process:

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Protecting financial institutions with integrated solutions

Convergint, partnered with HID, has the expertise and technology needed to help financial institutions enhance the customer experience, protect against evolving security threats, meet strict compliance requirements, and manage costs. Click the button below to contact Convergint’s team of security experts to learn more.

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Please see the “IMPORTANT PRODUCT SAFETY AND SERVICE INFORMATION” documentation, available at, prior to using a Convergint-installed solution.