One driver for access control sales is not so much a feature as a threat: End users are increasingly worried about the security of their system, both physically and digitally.

“One thing that has really changed in the last year is the knowledge of the inherent weakness of the Wiegand interface,” says Scott Lindley of Farpointe Data. “There are articles on the Internet on how to hack that system. As a result we have seen an upsurge of our customers and integrators and installers asking us what they can do to harden the existing installation or make it even better.

“We have a couple of ways to do that. We have protection of the card to reader interface called MAXsecure that can be applied by the installer and allows them to add an encryption key between card and reader. We have been selling more and more projects with that feature.”

Dennis Thiele of LVC says there have been presentations at hacker conventions about being able to read Wiegand data and prox cards. “The information is out there and our customers can see it. They are asking us questions on how they can secure their readers and panels.”

Beyond the card, there is also an increasing level of security about the access control system overall, which is prompting discussions of software, hardware, and architectures.

“Encryption between the door hardware and the panels to prevent hacking is a feature that is in demand,” says Paul Ahern, CEO, Cypress Integration Solutions, Lapeer, Mich.

“One thing that continues to be increasing in visibility and importance that we have seen in the last year or two from the government and now the commercial enterprise is scrutiny around IT conformance and cybersecurity,” adds Tyco Security Products’ George Martinez. “We have some very strong encryption capabilities, not only around hardware compliance but also around cybersecurity for software.”

Scott Sieracki of Viscount Systems says new architectures like Viscount’s new unified cybersecure are increasingly popular with buyers who come from the IT world. “Cybersecurity is the No. 1 topic in all the software-based security world. Our customers ask what having a cyber-secured access control system means? We present a cybersecured solution because we are all software-based. There is no controller or panel or conventional distributed architecture. We are 100 percent software-based and enabled by Infosec to be protected by all the things they do on a daily basis with everything else they care about.”