More use of smartphones to access workplaces expected
Number of firms ditching work ID cards set to rise in coming years, says Gartner
As many as 20 per cent of organisations will use smartphones for workplace access by 2020, according to a new forecast from Gartner.
Companies are increasingly ditching work ID cards and urging employees to use smartphones to gain physical access to offices and other premises, according to the research firm Gartner.
Currently less than 5 per cent of organisations use smartphones to enable access to work premises, Gartner found. But it estimates that this will rise to 20 per cent by 2020 on the back of the growth in technologies and protocols such as Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication), which can work with a wider number of readers.
“A significant fraction of organisations use legacy physical access technologies that are proprietary, closed systems and have limited ability to integrate with IT infrastructure,” said Gartner’s research director, David Anthony Mahdi.
“Today, the increasing availability of mobile and cloud technologies from many physical access control system vendors will have major impacts on how these systems can be implemented and managed,” he added.
Among the further benefits of using smartphone technology are the simplification of integration with biometric technologies, according to the company.
“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,” said Mr Mahdi. “This approach also mitigates the risks from an attacker who gains possession of a person’s phone.”
He acknowledged that smartphone technology did have some limitations, including a significant disparity in functionality between different devices.
“Nevertheless, replacing traditional physical access cards with smartphones enables widely sought-after cost reductions and UX [user-experience] benefits,” said Mr Mahdi.
“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.”