Bolstering a University's Campus Security: Smartcard Technology Helps Delaware State University Develop a Plan to Build a Comprehensive Identity Management System

Article excerpt

Educational institutions have made improving physical and information security a high priority nationwide in recent years. Delaware State University (DSU) is no exception in including security, as a key component of its overall in formation technology strategy.

The university's security goals are similar to those of other universities: It seeks to safeguard from security threats its 1,400 resident students, 650 faculty and staff members, and hundreds of computing students and campus visitors. DSU must also protect its information resources, including research data, from cyber-security breaches.

Yet, the university has unique needs when it comes to security: DSU's science departments conduct classified research for the federal government. The campus is located near Dover Air Force Base, one of the largest t ;S Air Force bases in the nation, from which a large quantity of supplies and equipment are delivered overseas. Additionally, the campus is across the street from Dover International Speedway, one of the largest NASCAR race tracks in the country.

Taking Advantage of the Existing Infrastructure

In the past, the school has largely relied on traditional physical security solutions and policies photo ID badges for students, faculty, and staff; automobile ID stickers; restricted dormitory and academic building access to students and faculty; motion sensors; and ordinary keys for access to dorms, academic buildings, and other facilities. Visitors are required to get passes from campus police to visit buildings that are open to the public, and access to the campus is controlled through gates manned by police officers.

While some of these tools and processes continue to help control who is on campus and which buildings and equipment they have access to, university officials wanted to do more to boost security. For one thing, the keys used to gain access to buildings and computer rooms were limited in terms of controlling access, and as it so often happens, many keys were lost or stolen. In addition, DSU had no way to ensure that former employees of the university could not access the network or certain electronic files. For example, retired faculty could log on to e-mail or access applications remotely even though they were no longer on campus.

A Security Upgrade

Administrators wanted to take advantage of the university's existing fiber-optic network technology infrastructure on campus. The network links every building on campus, so a Siemens HiPath 5000 communications system from Siemens Information and Communication Networks (communications.usa.siemens .com), was installed to transition the school to voice over IP (VoIP). University administrators felt they could leverage such installations in their security efforts.

The university has embarked on a plan to build a comprehensive identity management infrastructure using Siemens' HiPath SIcurity solutions, which utilize the HiPath SIcurity Card smartcard and HiPath MetaDirectory suite of products. …