April 27, 2010 By Andy Opsahl
Managing building access cards is typically a job for facilities maintenance staff, but that's no longer the case for government workers in Honolulu. The consolidated city and county government shifted the job to the Honolulu Department of IT (DIT) and gave the access cards the duel functionality of signing on to laptops.
Naturally laptop sign-on was part of the city's core IT infrastructure, meaning the key cards became part of that. This enabled integration of the cards with the payroll system. If an employee is terminated within the payroll system, the employee's key card for building access and laptop sign-on is automatically deactivated. In the past, a separate operator of a separate system would have had to perform that function.
"Now we end up with one card for one person, and it tells the entire system what systems they can get to, what buildings they can get into, what floors on what buildings they can get into, and at the same time, we can track where they are. We know where they are at any given point of the day," said Gordon Bruce, the DIT's director. "It has taken this whole cyber-security and physical security, and tied it together under a single platform."
Honolulu recently deployed the project with grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for deploying federal standard ID cards. With the system in place, Honolulu can also verify the ID cards of federal officials when they visit.
"If you say you're with the Department of Homeland Security, FBI or Secret Service, we'll say, 'Give us your ID card.' [We'll] scan it through our reader, put your PIN in and biometric, and your picture's going to come up and say you are who you are," Bruce said.
He expects the system to simplify security when Honolulu hosts major events involving numerous federal officials.