SIGNAL Executive Video: GSA Looks for Flexibility in Access Control Systems

May 31, 2023

We are syndicating the original article from SIGNAL Media.

By Nuray Taylor

 Physical access control is in a unique age.

Despite the ever-changing nature and modern day safety concerns of the federal identity, credential and access management (FICAM) environment, it is an exciting time to witness growth with the industry, said David Helbock, Identiv's director of product management. 

Helbock is a liaison to the General Services Administration Federal Information Processing Standards (GSA FIPS) 201 Evaluation Program, which is the GSA-approved products list (APL) testing team for accepted physical access control systems (PACS). 

“Since we work with the [GSA APL] lab so often, we get to work with the government employees that are managing the lab, as well as the contracting company that is managing the lab for the government,” Helbock explained. 

As a liaison, Helbock gets to play a role in the application processing components and requirements. Currently, he said, the government is looking into using Identiv’s Fast Identity Online (FIDO2) authentication mechanism in PACS. 

FIDO2 is objectively used to eliminate the need for passwords over internet servers, therefore making it more secure for government and contract employees. 

“Some of the other programs we’re talking about with the APL team are the mobile credential, using a derived credential on your mobile device to enter the door, not just your [personal identity verification] PIV card,” Helbock continued. The process in theory would still comply with the necessary authorization mechanisms but would give the agency additional flexibility in using other tools for PAC entry.  

Agencies are implementing some of those tools on their mobile devices to use logical access control resources, Helbock added. “A lot of times with zero trust, they want to know that ‘Hey, you need to log in to see that resource, you don’t get to log in and see the kingdom.’”

Public key infrastructure (PKI) based authentication mechanisms are increasingly used outside of government agencies as well, Helbock told SIGNAL Media in an Executive Video Series episode hosted by Kimberly Underwood, SIGNAL’s director of digital news media. 

A project Helbock was particularly excited to share centers on Identiv’s involvement in supplying employees working at historic buildings with wireless readers in an effort to prevent damage to the buildings. Identiv partnered with wireless organizations in the physical access industry and together, they created a solution using personal identity verification (PIV) cards to do authentication with wireless readers and eliminate cables that would have to run through the historic facilities. 

Helbock discussed many additional Identiv capabilities, including the speed driven 13.02 GSA APL Topology Type.