Making the Move to OSDP


Making the case for OSDP

Jeff StanekBy Jeff Stanek

Jeff Stanek is President of LenelS2


There is a lot of industry discussion about Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) and its importance in hardening the edge of access control system architecture. At LenelS2, we are keenly aware of this concern, and believe it is our responsibility not only to be part of the discussion, but also to provide you with solutions. LenelS2 was instrumental in the original development of OSDP, which is now a Security Industry Association (SIA) standard. 

For over 30 years, the industry has been installing readers with the standard Wiegand interface. You show it a credential, and it transmits the data from the credential to an access control panel. The problem with this scenario is that the Wiegand interface, in most cases, is neither encrypted nor supervised, making it relatively easy to extract badge data by monitoring the signal on the Wiegand data conductors, to inject data into the system, or both – and to do so undetected. This problem is pervasive. There are millions of Wiegand readers in service that are subject to this kind of compromise. 

What OSDP does is use a more intelligent reader that carries on a bi-directional conversation between it and the panel. OSDP supports both encryption and supervision. All data is encrypted and not transmitted the same way twice. Supervised connections indicate reader malfunctions or tampering. With OSDP, you are solving a potential identity theft problem because it is not possible to listen in between the reader and credential and decode or inject the captured data elsewhere. 

In order to use OSDP, you need both a reader and a panel capable of participating. OnGuard panels have had this built in for years. Our Network Nodes that support NetBox systems have not, but our upcoming new access control blade introduces this capability. BlueDiamond readers are, of course, also OSDP-enabled. 

Recognizing the problem with the inherent insecurity of Wiegand technology, we are offering solutions to provide you with secure reader/credential technology. This is part of our philosophy of assisting our customers in deploying robust security systems for their stakeholders. 

With the launch of the new access control blade, we encourage NetBox users to make the move to OSDP-enabled hardware. To that end, we will soon be announcing a limited-time promotion that bundles the new access control blade with BlueDiamond readers. Stay tuned as we will announce this promotion in the coming months. 

The combination of the new access control blade along with BlueDiamond readers will be cost effective for critical openings. Even if you don’t pull every reader off the wall, do it for exterior and critical interior readers. They will coexist in a mixed environment with legacy Wiegand-connected readers. You can use the same credential with an OSDP reader (all BlueDiamond readers support both OSDP and Wiegand interfaces), and the reader will be supervised and secure. 

To help ensure that your OSDP readers will work seamlessly with your access control system, we are also in the process of adding an OSDP reader certification program to our OpenAccess Alliance Program (OAAP), allowing manufacturers to have their readers certified for compatibility with OnGuard systems. 

We continue to think ahead about improving all aspects of physical security systems, and look forward to helping you make the move to OSDP if you have not already. 

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