Isonas IP Access Control Shares April, 2013 Announcements:

Isonas IP Access Control Shares April, 2013 Announcements:

Goodwill Selects ISONAS for Loss Prevention

In 2007, Goodwill-Suncoast, FL was looking for a way to help increase the level of security in their stores and prevent losses. They needed a system that could easily scale across multiple retail locations and was simple to install. So they turned to ISONAS, where they found an all-in-one IP Reader/Controller, “at the door” decision making, competitive pricing, scalability and ease of use.

Five years later, after the first pilot implementation of ISONAS, Goodwill – Suncoast has officially standardized on the ISONAS IP-Access Control System in their “Super Store” model. The ISONAS solution is in 7 of their 8 superstore with an average of 7 keyless entry points per location and all centrally managed on a single server.

This is just one of the many retail organizations that ISONAS has been able to partner with to increase the level of security and provide transparency in their business. Our simple solution partnered with ease of scalability allows a retail business to protect their assets.

ISONAS Empowers Video Insight

ISONAS IP Access Control allows video management systems to act as the front end software. Users familiar with video management systems(VMS) such as Video Insight have the ability to install ISONAS Access Control and have a single command and control for the entire video and access control system via the VMS software platform.

So why are more and more end users looking to implement solutions this way?

Video Insights’s Integration with ISONAS allows for the user to have a single powerful interface for handling day to day usage of both the access control as well as the video system. Securtiy Staff can have alarm events appear on their video screen and quickly move into powerful video searching tools. This integration requires no special licenses from either Video Insight or ISONAS.

Come see ISONAS’ Integrations at ISC West!

Our Integrations will be featured in the following booths at ISC West:

  • Advancis Software Booth 14119
  • Video Insight Booth 25067
  • Video IQ Booth 6095
  • Arteco Booth 1126
  • IP Video Booth 1142
  • OnSSI Booth 23073

Or join our seminar “Why Integrated Edge-based IP Video and Access Control Makes the Grade with K-12 Security” Wednesday April 10 from 12:45pm to 2:45pm
Learn more here

If you would like to schedule a meeting with us please email us at

About Us:

ISONAS Security Systems, Inc. designs, builds and distributes the first panel-free, network-based security Access Control system in the industry. We’ve installed readers for organizations worldwide – from education and healthcare institutions, to state and local governments, to Fortune 500 companies. Now let us help yours.

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ISONAS Pure IP Access Control: “Think Bigger” with Integrated Video and Access Control

ISONAS Pure IP Access Control: “Think Bigger” with Integrated Video and Access Control

IP Surveillance and Pure IP Access Control are making waves in the market!

Thousands of customers worldwide have installed IP video surveillance systems with robust VMS front ends such as Video Insight and Milestone. Those customers now want to add access control and they want to avoid re-training their employees on new software. They also want simple, panel free installation that matches the simplicity of their IP cameras. VMS companies are now providing solutions to this challenge using ISONAS. Video Insight has had significant recent success and now Milestone will also have the ability to act as the “front-end” user interface for both video and access control.

App-Techs’ MXPBridge® Integrates Milestone with ISONAS Security Systems
Thanks to everyone that had a chance to make it to the App-Techs/ISONAS Booth at the MIPS show in February. It was great to catch up with everyone. If you didn’t get a chance to see our latest integration with Milestone and ISONAS Security Systems, here is some more information.

As many of you know, customers are looking for an elegant and affordable integrated security solution. Until recently, the access control system(ACS) was primarily viewed as the command and control for an integrated VMS/ACS. That is old school thinking! With the MXPBridge® to ISONAS solution, the Milestone XProtect® Smart Client can now become the front-end command and control of a comprehensive security system.

With Milestone as the front-end, the solution provides users with a single, powerful interface for controlling doors and managing ACS/ VMS alarms and events. When alarms occur, video will quickly alert the staff of the situation. If further investigation is required, Milestone’s powerful alarm management features will allow users to search for ACS alarms, push ACS alarms, update the status of the ACS alarms and bookmark these events for a comprehensive security management solution. The installation of ISONAS PowerNet reader-controllers eliminates all control panels and costly wiring resulting in faster install, increased flexibility, and lower cost. ISONAS is a proven solution in thousands of installs worldwide and now offers even more value when paired with Milestone.

App-Techs’ MXPBridge® – Milestone XProtect Bridge Plug in Software
App-Tech’s MXPBridge® XProtect Plug-in Plug facilitiates data transactions between ISONAS Security Systems and all Milestone XProtect Products. This integrated solution is easy to install and allows the Milestone Smart Client to become the front-end of a unified Video Surveillance and Access Control Solution.

To learn more about this integration contact us:

ISONAS Security Systems: Normal Business Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. MST Main Phone: 800.581.0083 or

About App Techs:
App-Techs was established in Lancaster, PA in 2003 as a computer networking company. They have grown to become a trusted manufacturer, distributor, and full turn key system integrator for Vidoe Surveillance, Card Access and Industrial Wireless Network Solutions.

ISONAS Security Systems, designs, builds and distributes the first panel-free, network based Access Control System in the industry. We’ve installed readers for organizations worldwide – from education and healthcare institutions to state and local governments, to Fortune 500 companies.

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Isonas IP Access Control: There Are 3 General Types Of Access Control Systems

Isonas IP Access Control: There Are 3 General Types Of Access Control Systems. If you have started research on access control systems(ACS), you have probably found that many systems like to call themselves “IP-enabled” and the difference between hardware configurations is difficult to understand. There are three general types of access control systems.   Each is an improvement over the succeeding generation and the three represent the evolution of ACS hardware technology over the last thirty years.

Isonas3161First, a traditional panel system consists of a number of control panels, each managing 4-64 doors.  This group of control panels must have a hard-wired computer to run the software to control the system.  Each panel has electrical power, and back up batteries in the event of a power outage.  Periodic, specialized maintenance procedures are required to maintain the reliability of the backup batteries. The panels then must be wired with special wires to an RFID “dumb” reader at each door to communicate credential information.  When a card is presented at the door, a signal is sent to the panel to make the access decision.  If the door is to be opened, then  the panel sends electrical power back to the electric strike at the door, which unlocks the door.

A traditional system works fine, but is costly with a lot of wiring, unnecessary system components, and opportunities for the system to have a single point of failure that can affect many doors on the system.  In addition, the system can only be managed on a local computer.  Few organizations still make the decision for a completely traditional system because most want to be able to access the control software from any computer on their network, or via the internet.

Isonas3162This desire to manage the access control system from any computer, or the web, gave rise to the most common system topology today…the “IP-Enabled Panel” systems.  These systems are much easier to manage and are more flexible than traditional systems, however, they do nothing to address the costs involved with hard wiring in a building and they do little to counteract the ability for a failure to affect a large number of doors.  Physical space is still required for the panels and battery back-ups.  The electrician still must be paid to run the electrical wires and the city still must permit and inspect the work.  Better, but certainly not an easy solution.  A better name for these systems might be “partial IP access control”.

isonas3163The most advanced innovation is a network of Pure IP Access Control that eliminates all control panels and creates a system that is 30-40% less expensive to install, has no single point of failure, and is extremely flexible by eliminating the need for external power by delivering Power over Ethernet (PoE).  A Pure IP access control system leverages an organization’s existing network infrastructure, and moves decision making to the door.  This allows each reader-controller to be network device that can be installed, managed, and operated independently of the others or as one complete access control system.  Power is supplied to the door via PoE and all devices at the door are powered by the reader controller with no other external power necessary.

Isonas3164The primary benefits of a Pure IP Access Control system are:

  • Dramatically increased flexibility and scalability.  With no panels, the system can be installed one door at a time.  Wireless networks can be used to manage remote sites, vehicles, gates, cabinets, or control permissions to operate machinery.
  • Significantly lower cost to install.  No electrical wiring = no electrician, conduit, junction boxes or drywall work.
  • Increased stability.  The system can operate in “local mode”.  If the network is down, the access control system continues to work.
  • Lower maintenance.  There are no batteries to maintain because the access control system is provided back up through the network power back up in the event of a power outage.
  • Faster to install.  Less physical installation is needed.
  • Full featured access control software.  All features expected in any full featured access control combined with the added benefits of the Pure IP hardware topology.
  • Ability to operate within existing Video Management Software.  If you already have Video Insight, Milestone, IP Video, Arteco, or Video IQ managing your network of IP surveillance cameras you can use the same software to view your access control and tie access events to video clips.

ISONAS Pure IP Access Control is the proven revolution in access control.  ISONAS is installed in large organizations such as British Petroleum, hospitals such as Sinai Hospital, universities such as Ole Miss, and large school districts such as South Country Schools in NY where 1,250 readers across 38 buildings operate on a single  server.

ISONAS is the only system capable of delivering the benefits of Pure IP Access Control because of the patents issued on the ISONAS system in August 2010.  The patent covers three areas:

  1. The ability to program in “network mode” and operate in “local mode”.  Permissions can be set centrally, but the system continues to act locally if the network goes down.  No single point of failure.
  2. Power over Ethernet.  The ability to control the electric strike, request for exit, door sensor, and other inputs at the door with power provided over Ethernet dramatically reduces the cost and time of install.
  3. The ability to control the system over a web interface.  How often to see a teller at your bank?

Other systems can provide one or two of the benefits the ISONAS patent gives with Pure IP Access Control.  Only ISONAS can deliver the proven revolution in access control.  You can find more data at or you can call one of our sales engineers at 303.567.6516.

Thanks for reading.  Next week we will begin comparing against specific other systems in the market.

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Isonas IP Access Control: Simple Switch Configuration Protects A Network

Isonas IP Access Control:  Simple Switch Configuration Protects A Network

We often get questions about the security of network if an ethernet cable, like the ones used to power and provide data to the ISONAS access control system, can be accessed. The simple answer is that a managed network switch can be set to restrict and/or close the flow of data. Think about a telephone that accepts incoming calls, but has no key pad to make outgoing calls. In this example, a typical network switch will be configured with an “Access Control List” (ACL). This ACL will restrict the network switch’s ports so they only pass traffic that is related to the PowerNet’s communications. This protects a network when a port is exposed outside the building.

The switch that is discussed is a member of the Cisco line of Small Business Managed Switches (Model: SRW224G4P). This is a class of switch that could be easily used on smaller ISONAS installations, and the features being discussed are commonly supported on most brands and models of managed network switches.

The ACL is configured as an “ingress ACL”, in that the rules are checked against network traffic that is “incoming to the switch”. This ACL will not affect packets are that going out of the switch, towards the PowerNet.

The configuration will be done in two steps:
1) Define the rules of the Access Control List. These rules are referred to as ACL “Conditions”
2) Direct the network switch to use these rules, on the network port(s) that are connected to the PowerNet(s). This process is called “Binding the ACL to the port(s)”.

There are three simple rules for this ACL

1) Do not allow TCP/IP connections to be created from the PowerNet side of the connection.
2) Restrict the TCP/IP traffic, so it can only flow between the PowerNet and the Host computer, where Crystal Matrix is running.
3) Block any other network traffic.

The network switch being used for this example allows you to assign a name to an ACL, and we will name the ACL as “PowerNet”.

Prevent the creation of TCP/IP connections from the exposed end.

The 1 st ACL condition to be configured prevents new TCP/IP connections from being created from the PowerNet side of the cable.

Note that the order in which the ACL Conditions are “applied” is important, so this condition needs to be defined 1 st .
The important settings of this ACL condition are:

Attribute Setting
Action Deny
Protocol TCP
TCP Flags Syn flag is “Set”Other flags are “UnSet”
Source IP Address Any
Dest. IP Address Any

The network switch’s configuration screen, with these settings specified, is shown below.


Block all other network traffic from using this connection.
The last ACL condition will block all network traffic that was not already allowed by the 2 nd ACL condition.
The important settings of this ACL condition are:

Attribute Setting
Action Permit
Protocol TCP
Source Port 10001Note: Your installation may have the PowerNets configured to use a different IP port.
Source IP Address Any
Destination IP Address This would be the static IP Address that is assigned to the Crystal Matrix Host computer.

“Bind” the ACL to the physical port on the network switch
The rules of the ACL have now been defined.
The next step is to tell the switch what ports it should apply these rules to. For our example, port #21 is connected to a PowerNet.
From the “ACL Binding” screen, port #21 is configured so that:
The use of an ACL is: “Enabled” The specific ACL to use is named: “PowerNet”

This completes the task of protecting the port, and yet still allows the required communications between the Crystal Matrix host computer and the PowerNet.

For more information:
ISONAS Headquarters:
4720 Walnut Street, Suite 200, Boulder, Colorado 80301 USA
Tel: 800-581-0083 x102 (toll-free) or 303-567-6516 x102 (CO)
Fax: 303-567-6991

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Isonas IP Access Control: Network Topology Techniques

Isonas IP Access Control:  Network Topology Techniques

Different techniques can be used during the design of a network that supports the PowerNet to enhance the security of the exposed network connections.

Virtual LAN (VLAN)

VLANs can be used to support multiple logical networks on a common networking hardware platform.  If the access control system is geographically dispersed, this is a very cost effective method.  Also, since most managed network switches readily support VLANs, this is also used in single locations, to leverage the customer’s current investment. It gives you the benefits of a physically separated network, without incurring the cost of installing separate network switches.

Physically Separate Networks By installing a 2 nd IP network within the customer’s facility

It is easy to totally isolate the security system’s network traffic from the corporate network; however this technique adds cost to the installation and is not recommended for most ISONAS projects.  If IP video is being installed as part of the project, then isolating the corporate network from the video system’s volume of network traffic is often a desired goal, and this has the secondary benefit of enhancing the security of the solution.

If separate networks are installed:

Host computer may be equipped with dual NIC cards
Typically it is still desirable to manage the host computer from the corporate network.  To meet this goal the Host Computer needs to be able to communicate over the security network and the corporate network.   Equipping the Host Computer with two Network Interface Cards (NIC) is one technique that can be used to accomplish this while preserving the isolation between the two networks.

Isolated Subnets w/Firewall
If separate networks are installed, a standard Router/Firewall configuration can be setup to connect, yet isolate, the two networks. This allows the Host Computer to communicate over both the security network and the corporate network. This same technique is commonly used when connecting the corporate network to the public Internet, so it is a well understood process.

Stay tuned next week as we look at an example of this in action.

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Isonas IP Access Control: More On Security – Managed Network Switch Techniques

Isonas IP Access Control: More On Security – Managed Network Switch Techniques

The ISONAS PowerNet is a pure IP access control system that elimnates control panels by creating an all-in-one reader/control at each access point.  All power at the door, and the necessary flow of data is provided by a single ethernet cable .  We often get questions from facilities professionals about the security risk of an ethernet cable, or LAN connection, that might be accessbile from outside the building.  Using standard configurations on a managed network switch, access to the network can be completely controlled and any security risk can be eliminated.

The use of a managed switch to protect the exterior LAN connections is the protection method most commonly used and easiest to implement.  You will find that your IT professional is very familiar with managed switches and can quickly implement configurations providing complete security for exterior LAN connections.

Managed Switches are made by most of the major LAN equipment vendors and the feature-set supported by each brand and model will vary but the techniques mentioned in this document are supported by most of the common models.

Access Control Lists (ACL)

Managed Network Switches support “Access Control Lists” (ACL). These are business rules that the switch will follow when certain events happen on the physical ports that are connected to that switch.  These rules are easy and fast to configure on any managed network switch.

Please note that an ACL is a feature of the network switch, and ACL’s are totally independent from the ISONAS Access Control System.

The types of rules that an ACL can implement for a specific physical port on the switch include:

  • Only allow a connection to a specific MAC address
  • Only allow a connection to be made to a specific set of IP Ports
  • Only allow outgoing connections to be made.

With these types of rules, you can easily protect the network by restricting the switch’s physical port to only allow the ISONAS PowerNet’s network traffic.

Network Policy Enforcement

Network Switches can either directly support Network Policy Rules, or they can be managed by a Network Management Application which can implement these rules over the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
Using these policy techniques, the network switch can be configured to either:

1. Create a network alarm, if the network switch detects that the physical connection to the PowerNet has been interrupted

2. Shut-down the physical port, on the detection of the disconnect
The technique of shutting down physical ports can cause the customer additional administrative overhead for the Access Control System. If a power outage was to interrupt the PowerNet’s network connections, either manual intervention would be required to re-enable the physical port(s) on the network switch, or a programmatically driven event in the SNMP application might re-enable the port, after some selected criteria have been met.

Stay tuned as next week, we will review the Network Topology Techniques.

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Isonas IP Access Control: Protection of Network Connections on the Outside of a Building

Isonas IP Access Control: Protection Of Network Connections on the Outside Of A Building. When installing pure IP physical security systems or other IP based edge devices such as IP-based video camera systems or IP-based intercom systems, we sometimes hear questions regarding the security of network connections that reside on the outside of a building. Often, the site’s IT department colleagues can quickly answer the concern by following a few of the commonly used techniques we will outline below.

Networking Tool Chest

The techniques described here are part of a “networking tool chest” that may be used by the system integrator and end-users to provide security to the network connections used by the PowerNet reader-controllers.

In some ways, this “Networking tool chest” is similar to an auto mechanic’s tool chest. The mechanic has many tools in his tool chest. Some are used for every repair job. Others are only used on a select number of jobs, where the project being completed requires them.

Likewise, you will probably not use every tool in this networking tool-chest, on every project. In fact, most projects will typically only use one or two of these techniques. Depending on the brand and model of networking equipment used, there may be other tools available to the customer that we will not discuss.


The vast majority of the tools within the networking tool chest are implemented thru the networking hardware/software; such as Network Switches, Routers, Firewalls, VLAN’s, etc.

There are several concepts and features of the ISONAS system that are important to understand, when discussing this topic.

Data Encryption

The IP communications between the PowerNet reader-controller and the Host computer can be encrypted using AES 256 bit encryption. For installations where data will be passing over the public Internet, encrypting that data is encouraged. IP data encryption is also a tool that is available to prevent anyone from attaching to a network connection and sending data to the access control system. Within the Powernet itself, the credential and event data is encrypted using the same AES 256 bit techniques, prior to being written to the PowerNet’s nonvolatile memory.

Assigned IP Port

When discussing IP Networks, the term “port” has two meanings. A “port” can be the physical connector where a network cable is attached to a device. This might be on a network switch, on the PowerNet, or on a laptop.

For our discussions, when talking about a physical connection, we will use the term “physical port”.

A “port” can also be an internal identifier that network devices use to organize different conversations over the network. For example, assume that your laptop has a single LAN connector and a single IP Address assigned on that connection. Even though you have a single physical connection to the network you may simultaneously receive email, browse the internet, and maintain an active connection to your payroll system. In order for this to work, your laptop needs a way to segregate the data coming from these different systems. IP Ports are used for this. Each conversation will be assigned its own IP Port. For your laptop’s one IP Address, there are 64,000 IP Ports available.

An analogy may help explain this. If your IP Address is like a Post Office, then one of your IP Ports is like a single Post Office Box.

For our discussions, when talking about these internal network identifiers, we will use the term “IP Port”.

The ISONAS system is designed so the host computer communicates to the PowerNet using a single “IP Port”.

This design feature of the ISONAS system allows the network to be configured to block the remaining 64,000 IP ports.

This is a very efficient configuration and assures that a PowerNet is the only device that will successfully communicate over the physical port.

How The IP Connection Is Initiated

Commonly, the ISONAS system is configured so the host computer will always initiate the IP communication connection to the PowerNet reader-controller, in an outgoing direction. Once the network connection has been established, the data can travel both ways. This allows the network to be configured to treat the physical port going to the PowerNet as an “outgoing only” connection.
An analogy would be a simple intercom speaker located at the front door and connected to your phone system.

People inside can call the front door, but the front door cannot call into different phones inside the building.

Alarm Notifications

The PowerNet and Crystal Matrix software can detect different alarm conditions that would indicate that someone is attempting to disrupt or disable the PowerNet.

Through the PowerNet’s Tamper Detector, if the reader is physically disturbed, it will generate an alarm.

Through network communication heartbeats, if the communications path between the PowerNet and the host is disrupted, then alarms will be generated.

Alarms can cause a Video System to focus on the door, email to be created, or notify personnel who are monitoring the Access Control System.

Stay tuned as next week, we will review the Managed Network Switches Techniques.

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ISONAS IP Access Control Powers VMS Platforms

Isonas IP Access Control teams up with Video InsightsISONAS IP Access Control Powers VMS Platforms allowing video management systems to act as the front end software. Users familiar with video management systems (VMS) such as Video Insight and Milestone have the ability to install ISONAS access control and manage the entire video and access control system via the VMS software platform.

The integration between these systems and the ISONAS solution is supported by a standard Crystal Matrix component, called the TCP/IP interface. This interface has a rich command set, and allows for a wide-range of features to be provided across the paired systems.

Isonas IP Access ControlVMS platforms tend to provide more interesting video clips and real time camera management over the a simpler view of access granted and denied. These systems allow for the pairing of video and access events creating greater security and more detailed history of events.

To understand how a strong VMS can provide a unified front end, we will dive deeper into the Video Insight platform.

Video Insight’s Integration with ISONAS allows for the user to have a single, powerful interface for handling day to day usage of both the Access Control as well as the Video System.

Isonas IP Access ControlSecurity Staff can have alarm events appear on their video screen, and quickly move into powerful video searching tools.

This integration requires no special licenses from either Video Insight or Isonas.

The User can lock, unlock, admit users and lockdown the system from the Access View. They can bring this up simply by hovering over the door on the Facility Map.

Isonas IP Access ControlThe Access View also allows the user to see the following:

  • Last badge used along with that users history
  • Last alarm event as well as previous alarms on that door
  • Camera associated with the door
  • Recordings from that camera

Isonas IP Access ControlThe Video Insight software records traditional access control history, and the associated video can be accessed from the same screen.

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Isonas IP Access Control teams up with Solstas Lab Partners again!

Isonas IP Access Control teams up with Solstas Lab Partners again!

Solstas Lab Partners; one of the largest full-service laboratories in the nation, has decided to expand their ISONAS system from their Greensboro North Carolina office to their new Charlotte office. The advantage of having both offices and their corresponding access points all on one server really motivated Solstas Lab Partners to continue using ISONAS. With a current regional footprint that extends throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, Solstas Labs is growing at twice the industry rate. A quote from their website includes: “As we consider future expansion, we will look to partner with like-minded companies that share our core philosophies, and that can meet a well-defined patient need.” As observed in this quote, Solstas Labs really takes the time in choosing “like-minded companies that share [their] core philosophies;” and one of those companies being ISONAS.

Please visit their website for more info: Solstas Lab Partners

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