Security Technology Executive (STE) editorial director Steve Lasky recently posed some pointed questions for two leading access control vendors and a top national systems integrator to offer their take on the new technology landscape. This continuing series of technology-sponsored Roundtables-in-Print includes Steve Wagner is President of Open Options, a security industry veteran of 35-plus years; Ian Lowe, Product Marketing Director for HID SAFE and the newly released WorkforceID at HID Global; and Phil Lutes, President of Signature Systems of Florida since 1992, who has installed and serviced access control systems since the 1980s in a variety of vertical markets.
Open Options' General Manager, Chuck O'Leary, releases official statement on the current situation. View the official statement below.
Covid-19 (291 KB)
Dear Open Options customers,
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops, all of our lives will undoubtedly be affected.
Families, communities, and businesses are navigating a truly unprecedented global event. In this time, we know it’s critical that we operate and adapt to a safe working environment.
We are closely monitoring the situation, making judgments and decisions daily with the rapidly changing environmental conditions. We have advised our staff to avoid travel at this time, and to conduct meetings remotely through alternative communication tools.
We know that this challenges normal business practice, however, we feel that it is an appropriate precaution for both our employees and customers. We are following the guidance of our respective governments and health authorities and will ensure swift and diligent action in accordance with any regulation that is mandated.
As we allow many of our employees to work from home, there will be little disruption to our regular service and support hours. We’ll be sure to update you if things change via our website, and through other communication means. As of today, many of our suppliers have confirmed that they remain open for business and are addressing product stock supplies.
We thank you for your continued loyalty. Your business is important to us, and we know that communication is critical during times such as these.
Chuck O’Leary | General Manager
The Open Options training team divided their resources this past month in order to connect with dealers and system users across the country.
The training team kicked off their regional training classes with the first stop in Boise, Idaho. The class was full of eager students ready to learn more about the DNA Fusion software and how easy it is to see and administer. This was a great beginning to a year packed with training classes; many of which will find the Open Options Training team connecting with customers from coast to coast.
Meanwhile back at Open Options headquarters, a class of system users was learning and exploring the features of the DNA Fusion software. The group of students came from all areas of North America: Canada, Colorado, and Mississippi to name a few. These students all had one thing in common; they were all sent here to learn and to deploy for the first time within their prospective organizations, DNA Fusion software. Leading the Class was Sherinda Barrow, Director, Education Services, Open Options.
“Our first steps were to explain the importance of Best Practices in Access Control,” states Barrow.
“We discussed the importance of laying a solid foundation.”
The end result: all of the students left with new ideas on how to structure their system to make it tailored for their environment. One of the students commented “I am glad I took the class now and not five years down the road. I am learning how to configure the system for ease-of-use for our operators in the field.” While some of the system users had larger systems, all students benefited from the shared learning experience.
The Open Options training department is excited to have eager students that are looking for ways to optimize the DNA Fusion system.
A student momentarily spaced out and lost his badge, which he used to access school buildings. Then an unauthorized person found it, copied it and used it to try to access the school grounds. The end-user customer was not aware that the credential, which the school was issuing to students and faculty, was using legacy technology and is vulnerable to be easily copied. Since the school was using DNA Fusion as the access control software, they contacted Open Options to provide them with a solution to upgrade their current technology.
“The end-user at the school was literally shocked to discover that the credential with legacy technology, which the school had been using for years, could be easily compromised,” explained Ben Vestal, Vice President of Sales at Open Options. “I immediately reached out to our counterparts: HID Global for their expertise in providing a new credential technology, as well as the system integrator for their knowledge and implementation.”
There was space for improvement. The lost credential itself was compromised because it fell into the wrong hands, but the reality was that any credential from any student could be compromised at any time. The threat was real. Not only could thieves easily use a student badge to pretend to be a student and burglarize a school without detection, but hackers could also steal information from readers running the legacy technology.
To address the issue, Open Options helped the end-user determine a more advanced solution for a new level of security that would prevent their school’s credentials from being compromised in the future. “They asked us for a solution to upgrade their system to a newer, more secure technology,” added Vestal.
The technology that met the criteria was HID Seos. A proof of concept was provided. New credentials and readers were subsequently acquired to facilitate the upgrade.
Open Options also provided a comprehensive plan to ensure that the transition from the current technology to the new solution would be managed smoothly. In partnership with the system integrator, the budget and the timeframe for completion were quickly established. The upgrade was truly a team effort, with the Open Options sales team making the right connections for the end-user customer.
“The end user was impressed with the entire process and, after evaluating the proof of concept, selected the solution that Open Options provided,” said Vestal. “The transition and implementation were completed successfully, and the end user was very happy with the results. The process resulted in a more secure campus with a state-of-the-art solution.”
An integrator received an anxious phone call from an end-user customer who needed a “custom report” to be developed before an upcoming security audit. He required the custom report that would automatically deactivate cards not used after 45 days. The deadline to deliver this “custom” solution was extremely tight.
To make matters worse, the end-user customer had no budgetary funds available to pay for customer development. Nonetheless, the customer told the integrator to “figure it out”.
When our integrator realized the challenge he was up against, he made the call to the one source of consistent sales support for access control -- the Sales team at Open Options. The message was simply: Help!
The response from Open Options was typically helpful and completely unanticipated.
“Once our integrator reached out for help, it was explained that what the customer assumed would be a custom report with potential development fee, was actually an inherent feature already built into DNA Fusion,” said Scot Sturges, sales manager at Open Options. “We explained the feature to the integrator and the end-user then engaged Open Options Tech Support to assist with the installation.”
No custom development was needed. Indeed, the feature already conveniently existed in DNA Fusion. The customer got the functionality that they wanted within the timeframe needed. Open Options was ahead of the game, proactively anticipating what different customers may want for access control.
“The customer had this feature set up and running on the same day that the supposed ‘custom report’ request was made,” added Sturges. “This example goes to show that among the biggest assets that Open Options shares with partners and customers is communication.”
To All Open Options Partners,
The Mercury product notice presented to the market last week requires an update.
We continue to test the firmware recently supplied by Mercury in our Tech Support lab. In addition to doing so, we have written a Tech Bulletin walking you through to installation of the error-correcting version of Mercury firmware that will be available with the update.
Our testing will continue throughout the week with a targeted release date of January 27, 2020. This schedule provides you 6 weeks to download the issue resolving firmware to each of your clients using the devices listed in the excerpt of Mercury’s Tech bulletin below dated January 13, 2020.
Notice for Mercury OEM, Integrator and Consultant Customers
DATE AND TIME ASSOCIATED FUNCTIONALITY WILL BE SEVERELY IMPACTED ON ALL LP INTELLIGENT CONTROLLERS STARTING MARCH 1ST, 2020
This is an important notice for deployments of LP1501, LP1502, LP2500, LP4502 Intelligent Controllers.
ISSUE LP intelligent controllers will not properly handle leap year time calculations. After February 29th, 2020, Leap Day, the intelligent controller will report time and date incorrectly. This will have unknown effects on the functionality of the access control system.
EXCEPTIONS LP intelligent controllers that are deployed in “legacy” mode are not affected. Additionally, EP series controllers, bridge products (M5, MS, and MI) and legacy controllers such as the SCP series are not impacted by this issue.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and patience while we thoroughly test the firmware provided.
-Steven J Wagner
Earlier this week, Open Options employees gathered for the company’s national sales meeting, an annual event where the team reviews the successes of the previous year, sets goals for the upcoming year and celebrates with well-deserved honors and accolades.
At this year’s meeting, our sales force met with each of the Open Options department managers, including operations and training, software development, marketing, and more. These breakout sessions were highly beneficial in discussing and building on the progress made in 2019 and implementing goals for 2020.
Numerous individuals were recognized for their accomplishments during the company-wide portion of the meeting. Members of the sales team who achieved sales milestones are listed below:
Additionally, there were four individual sales awards given during the meeting:
Highest growth in software maintenance – Stacy Molenda
Highest revenue growth –Shannon Diddell
Highest growth in software sales - Stacy Molenda
Highest growth in new site sales – Shannon Diddell
Salesperson of the year – Scot Sturges
We also celebrated two career milestones:
Lane Ford, 20 Years at Open Options
Chuck Mentz, 20 Years at Open Options
Lastly, several employees were acknowledged for their efforts and exemplary contributions to the company throughout 2019:
Open Options enjoyed a great 2019 with incredible growth, new team members, and several enhanced product offerings and partnerships. To read more about what we accomplished in 2019 and what we look forward to in 2020, click here.
We are looking forward to a productive and prosperous 2020!