By the year 2020, about 20 per cent organisations globally are expected to use smartphones instead of traditional physical access cards to enable access to offices and other premises, research firm Gartner said on Tuesday.
In 2016, less than 5 per cent of organisations used smartphones to enable access to offices and other premises, Gartner said in a report.
Gartner projected that the same kind of cost and user experience (UX) benefits will drive increasing use of smartphones in place of discrete physical access cards.
“A significant fraction of organisations use legacy physical access technologies that are proprietary, closed systems and have limited ability to integrate with IT infrastructure,” Gartner Research Director David Anthony Mahdi said.
The increasing availability of mobile and cloud technologies from many physical access control system (PACS) vendors will have major impacts on how these systems can be implemented and managed, he added.
PACS technology is widely deployed across multiple vertical industries and geographies to secure access to a wide range of facilities (buildings, individual offices, data centers, plant rooms, warehouses and so on), ensuring that only entitled people (employees, contractors, visitors, maintenance staff) get access to specific locations.
Mobile technology is already widely used for logical access control. Phone-as-a-token authentication methods continue to be the preferred choice in the majority of new and refreshed token deployments as an alternative to traditional one-time password (OTP) hardware tokens.
Smartphones using technologies and protocols such as Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, and Near Field Communication can work with a number of readers and PACS technology.
Using smartphones can also simplify the integration of biometric technologies.
“Rather than having to add biometric capture devices in or alongside readers, the phone itself can easily be used as a capture device for face or voice (or both), with comparison and matching done locally on the phone or centrally,” Mahdi said.
This approach also mitigates the risks from an attacker who gains possession of a person’s phone, he added.
“We recommend that security and risk managers work closely with physical security teams to carefully evaluate the UX and total cost of ownership benefits of using access credentials on smartphones to replace existing physical cards,” he said.