Read the latest news and blogs surrounding access control, time and attendance systems and integrated security solutions with Tensor plc.

It’s All About You case study image

It’s All About You

One thing users who are nervous about using fingerprint technology often don’t realize is that once their fingerprint is scanned for use in security applications, it is not saved. Only the specific pieces of data are stored, which are used to construct an algorithm. If one were to conduct a survey of technology publications over the past decade or so, it’s a good bet there would be at least one instance in each of those years in which someone declared that “this is the year of biometrics.” Full of promise but long constrained by a diverse set of obstacles, biometrics – or the use of body or physical characteristics for secure authentication and identification – has not yet lived up to the hype. Yet, lest we let 2007 slip by without the required declaration, let it be know that, indeed, this may well be the year biometrics takes hold on a broader scale, particularly its uses in security applications. Widely Varying Attitudes Biometrics is a very sexy technology – the challenge is having a workable, cost-effective system. The opportunity cost can be high, because money could always be spent on other, more proven technologies. The bottom line is, does it really enhance the customer experience enough to make them bother with it? Most folks are probably thinking, ‘I’m perfectly happy doing it the way I already do.’ Interestingly, those consumer attitudes toward biometric technology seem to be very culturally based, with acceptance rates much higher in some countries than in others. In places like Latin America, Europe and Africa, people don’t have this notion of Big Brother watching that Americans sometimes do, to them it’s just a convenience. In the Enterprise Enterprises are also increasingly making use of biometric technologies internally, particularly for access control. While current estimates cite adoption at less than 20 percent of corporations worldwide, the prediction is that in two to three years, that will increase closer to one third. Smart cards and one-time passwords, meanwhile, will reach about 50 percent adoption. In the government, a personal identity verification system is currently being implemented that will require all federal workers and contractors who require unescorted access to present a smart card with a chip on it that includes two fingerprints. Once it’s in place, it is estimated that it will touch six million military staff and civilians. Biometrics in the Future? The market is definitely picking up. As the government implements more programs, people will become more comfortable and familiar with biometrics. It’s a pretty exciting time.

Teen Workplace Laws case study image

Teen Workplace Laws

A survey of teenage workers found numerous violations of federal laws, and a new strategy to combat the problem is being called for. Some experts say much of the problem may stem from unsophisticated employers unaware of the multitude of state and federal laws. Although enforcement of child labor laws remains a widespread concern, there’s no quick fix to the problem. A recent national survey of teenage workers found numerous violations of federal laws, including performing unlawful or unsafe tasks as well as working late on school nights. In addition, one-third of the teenagers said they had received no job-safety training, according to the survey by the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center of 866 teenagers working in the retail and service industries. The Department of Labor must identify violators and potential violators and make it clear that violations will not be tolerated by bringing the hammer down on some of these employers. Workplace fatalities in 2005 went up dramatically over 2004 for workers under 16 years of age. Each year, hundreds of thousands of U.S. teens are injured in the workplace and 70 die from those injuries, according to federal statistics. The Department of Labor needs to be a teen worker’s advocate and ought to take a vigorous proactive position. Among teens who work in grocery stores and restaurants, 47 percent said they had performed tasks prohibited by law for employees under 18, according to the survey. Youth and inexperience also puts teenagers at a disadvantage when they’re asked to do something unsafe or illegal. Rather than willfully disregarding laws, variations in regulations from state to state may create a scenario in which employers may be unaware of specific regulations – there’s not a universal federal standard that always applies. Employers who do not restrict work hours as permitted by law create the “most logical” scenarios under which a lawsuit might be filed. More than 2.3 million 16- and 17-year olds worked in the United States in 2005, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Statistics for younger working adolescents are unavailable. Employers need to know and comply with laws, identify safety and health hazards, provide appropriate supervision, label equipment teens may not use, train teens to use safe procedures, make teens aware of tasks they may not perform and report all injuries. In order to remain compliant with developments to child workplace laws, you may wish to consider investing in a time and attendance system, which automates the process of recording your employees’ clocking data and warns you against working time infringements of your workers.

Worried Consumers Want Biometrics case study image

Worried Consumers Want Biometrics

A majority of consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom are so worried about the security of their personal information that they overwhelmingly want companies and their governments to turn to biometrics to protect them. A recent survey has shown that 63% of consumers in the United States believe that the rise in identity fraud and the insufficient protection of personal information will become a “significant security threat” in the near future. The same number also believe financial institutions and the government are not doing enough to stop the threat. That sentiment is even stronger in the UK, where 87% of consumers feel the same way. There, biometric technology – in particular fingerprint biometrics – is increasingly being implemented in security solutions, such as access control. In the United States, 69% of citizens want banks, credit card companies, health care providers, and government agencies to adopt biometric technologies, rather than other security technologies like smart card readers and passwords. In the United Kingdom, the number is even higher, coming in at 92%. While usually effective as a first line of authentication, the primary drawback of both passwords and tokens (such as smart cards) is that each relies on either something you know or something you have. There is no way of verifying that the person presenting the token or typing the password is the one authorized to access a building or network. Using passwords and smart cards together provides a higher confidence level, and is being turned to more and more in situations when an organization requires increased security. The study also shows that nearly 85% of consumers believe US border security is inadequate, and only half think the US government is making security a priority. Fifty-one percent think technology “plays a significant role in ensuring homeland security” and that biometrics is one of the best methods the government could use. There has been a consistent outcry among consumers for more effective technologies, such as biometrics, that will better equip businesses and government organizations to protect and verify personal information in a way that’s reliable and convenient. Consumers are concerned that current security processes at our nation’s airports and borders are inadequate, which likely will result in even more widespread adoption of biometrics within these areas. The increased enthusiasm for biometric technology has spurred Tensor Time Systems Inc to offer access control, and time attendance systems that combine RF smart cards with fingerprint biometrics. If you require further information on these products, please contact us.

Enthusiasm At Work case study image

Enthusiasm At Work

Only 14 percent of workforces have employees who are enthusiastic about their jobs, according to a recent survey, which found that employee attitudes toward their jobs and work environments are largely a result of tenure on the job rather than generational or age differences. Both younger employees, ages 25 to 34, and older employees, 55 and older, show sharp declines in their satisfaction from their first year of employment. The study of over 64,000 workers focused specifically on equity – or being treated fairly with respect to the basic conditions of employment, cited as being a significant element of job satisfaction. Company culture – or how management treats employees, and management’s attitudes and behaviors toward workers – determines how much of a downturn in enthusiasm there will be. Older employees start new jobs with the same hopefulness as younger workers. They have the same fundamental needs as younger employees, and their level of enthusiasm depends on how well their needs are met as they move through the various stages of their employment life cycle. Many factors affect the needs and expectations that workers bring to new jobs, including previous work experience, career stage and life stage. Regardless of age, there is commonality among workers regarding their visions of “quality employment” or “good jobs”. Employees of all ages want opportunities to learn new things on the job, and want to feel respected for their potential as well as their contributions. Only 14 percent of organizations have enthusiastic work forces, of which more than 75 percent of employees are satisfied overall and less than 10 percent are dissatisfied. Unfortunately, it is the management who unwittingly de-motivate employees and diminish their enthusiasm. Many companies treat employees as disposable as paper clips – when the going gets tough, workers become expendible. In addition, employees generally feel that they receive inadequate recognition and reward for their contributions. Despite the inevitable stresses and strains, employees can remain committed to their relationship with the organization if they feel that they are trusted, respected, challenged to grow and supported so that they can be successful at work. One of the priorities of today’s workforce is having access to the types of flexibility that help them manage their work responsibilities as well as their personal / family responsibilities. Flexibility affords employees some choice and control, which is consistent with a culture of respect. Whilst unable to offer services to increase employer : employee relations, Tensor Time Systems Inc manufacture and supply clocking systems, which are fully customizable to accomodate specific flexi-time arrangements within your workforce.

Ohio’s Minimum Wage Increase case study image

Ohio’s Minimum Wage Increase

Whilst the recent boost to Ohio’s minimum wage is welcomed by those receiving it, it is another matter for businesses caught out by the changed regulation. For the average small business employing 40 full- and part-time workers is likely to see a change in their wage bill of around $1,000 a month. This has been the first minimum wage hike in the state of Ohio since 1996, and sets wages at $6.85 per hour – an increase of 33% over the previous minimum of $5.15. The increase in the minimum wage was approved on Nov 7 2006 by Ohio voters in a constitutional amendment, which also calls for annual boosts tied to inflation. The result of this new piece of legislation has resulted in a large number of business owners feeling hard done by. Many believe that wages should be determined by the free market and not simply the result of a one-off vote. Adjustment is now needed by companies and organizations in order to absorb this wage increase, which is more than likely going to come in the form of price increases. Companies have warned that overtime hours for full-time members of staff are likely to be slashed to compensate for losses accrued by the wage hike. The total effect of the wage increase is unlikely to be known for the next couple of months as businesses adjust to their increased overhead costs, however it is likely to push the cost of living up for residents across the entire state of Ohio. Wage Statistics There are more than 5.34 million employed people in Ohio, with 50 percent of those workers making less than $14.07 per hour. The average hourly salary is $17.44, and average annual salary is $36,270. There are more than 130.3 million employed people in the country, with 50 percent making less than $14.15 per hour. The average nationwide hourly salary is $18.21, and average annual salary is $37,870. In Ohio, there is an estimated 26,000 people at $5.15, the previous minimum wage. With changes in state regulation an inevitable part of the future, you may wish to consider investing in a time and attendance system, which automates the process of recording and paying wages to your employees.

Wal-Mart Settles Federal Lawsuit case study image

Wal-Mart Settles Federal Lawsuit

It has been announced that the retailing giant Wal-Mart have agreed to pay $33.5 million in back wages plus interest to settle a federal lawsuit, which accused the company of violating overtime laws involving 86,680 workers. Officials from the US Labor Department said that many of the violations involved failing to pay time-and-a-half premium pay to managers and programmers in training. Some other salaried non-managerial employees had also not been paid the correct amount of overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week. Wal-Mart was also accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – a federal law that governs overtime – by failing to properly include factors such as bonuses when calculating the base wage to which the time-and-a-half rate corresponds. The settlement paid by Wal-Mart is one of the largest ever reached by the FLSA. More than 40 state lawsuits have been filed against Wal-Mart, most of them still pending. Most of the accusations revolve around the retailer making employees work off the clock and for refusing to pay employees the overtime they had earned. Wal-Mart officials have been keen to point out that it was Wal-Mart itself who alerted the Labor Department to the overtime problems after finding them in an internal audit and has stringently denied any wrongdoing and liability whatsoever. Following the closure of this particular lawsuit, the average compensation for the nearly 87,000 employees will be around $375, with 75 employees receiving more than $10,000 in back wages. Of course, whilst not guaranteeing that each employee will clock in correctly, it may be within your organization’s interest to invest in a time and attendance system, which automates the process of recording and paying wages to your employees. Many companies have stumbled in calculating the base pay for establishing overtime pay. An often complicated piece of legislation, it was deemed in this case that Wal-Mart hade made improper and illegal calculations by computing pay on a biweekly rate rather than a weekly rate. In addition, vacation and sick pay had been used to determine the base hourly rate, which resulted in a lower value.

Contact Less Smart Card Orders case study image

Contact Less Smart Card Orders

Smart cards became available during the 1960s following demands from users frustrated by swipe card technology. This new form of identification offered intolerance to moisture, could be read by a smart card reader no matter what the orientation, and was infinitely more secure than any other device on the market. In the last few weeks alone, orders for well over $100 million of contact less (ie RFID) smart cards and associated systems have been placed. The business is surging forward with the percentage of smart cards that are contact less rising to 16% of deliveries in 2007 after having been stuck at around 5% for the preceding twenty years. One can even foresee the day when those buying smart cards with contacts will be asked to explain themselves. So, the question has to be asked… why use it? The lame reply about having the old infrastructure and not being able to afford the contact less one is the nearest to a valid excuse. A high proportion of new purchasers now seek the lower cost of ownership and the user friendliness of contact less cards and the orders are flooding in. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority A case in point involves the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, who have awarded a $11.58 million contract modification to Cubic Transportation Systems Inc to implement software and technology upgrades merging the Metropolitan Area rail, park-and-ride and regional bus systems through a common smart card and a centralized transaction processing and reporting back-office system. Enhancements will include new contact less card readers at all Metro subway and parking facilities, expanding the SmarTrip regional smart card system. The upgrades will increase efficiency and save the agency millions of dollars in annual operating costs. Credit, Debit, Account and Store Cards The success of contact less card payments in the USA in 2006 was been such that Visa described its Visa Contactless product as “one of the most rapidly adopted payment innovations in Visa history”. Since contact less bank card payments were first introduced in earnest in 2004, over 13 million MasterCard, Visa and American Express-branded cards have been issued, and can be accepted at over 30,000 US merchant locations. Tensor Smart Cards Tensor Time Systems Inc have long advocated the use of smart card technology within time and attendance and access control systems. With a read range that is unaffected by most external conditions, we have found that the Tensor range of smart card scanners can successfully operate within even the most exposed environment. If you’re looking to implement smart card technology within your organisation, you may wish to consider a system from Tensor – the leading provider of smart card security systems in the US.

Biometrics Benefits Business case study image

Biometrics Benefits Business

Fingerprints help business prevent data loss and theft because of how difficult they are to duplicate. Protecting an organisation’s sensitive data in the event a laptop is lost or stolen is invaluable, but implementing biometric authentication can lead to other, less obvious benefits. Biometric implementation can help firms comply with a litany of government regulations for data security and can help to combat the hackers’ exploitation of password weaknesses. Preliminary findings suggest employees prefer using their fingerprints to authenticate to their machines over other methods. Passwords can be difficult to remember and tokens are easily lost. Furthermore, most corporations have seen that acceptance by users can either make or break the adoption of new technology. Today, businesses are using biometric technology in a variety of ways. When a fingerprint is required up front before the operating system loads, this is called "pre-boot authentication". Proper authentication before booting the operating system or accessing the hard drive is one of the strongest ways to pretect data if a laptop is lost or stolen. Using biometrics for pre-boot authentication adds security, but keeps the process easy and convenient. Fingerprints can also be combined with passwords and used as two-factor authentication when accessing Windowsâ„¢ a VPN or the corporate network. Another common business application is to require fingerprint authentication, in order to access sensitive documents or to log into secure applications. With respect to administration, fingerprint authentication systems have made huge headway in recent years and are easy to deploy and maintain. Passwords and their hassles may even be eliminated entirely when the biometric validation is done at a central server. A server-based biometric implementation benefits network administrators by allowing them to enroll a user’s fingerprints at a remote station. When fingerprint enrollment is done at a central location and the fingerprints are automatically distributed to the user’s account across the network, the system administrator can verify the user’s identity when he or she enrolls his or her fingerprint. In this scenario, users are also free to "roam" or, in other words, to log into different computers, all with a single fingerprint enrollment. To alleviate the fears that users may get "locked out" of their computers, administrators are able to specify a backup method of authentication in case of sensor failure, which is uncommon. Compared to other authentication methods that require complex administration systems, external tokens or expensive hardware, biometrics is emerging as one of the more cost-effective technologies in terms of both deployment and administration.

ID Badge Printing Methods case study image

ID Badge Printing Methods

ID badges produced for visitor monitoring or access control applications invariably use the same card production process. There are a number of different production methods, which produce varying degrees of security integration. The least expensive badge printing method is also the least secure. Printers using an inkjet printing engine are designed to accept blank cards with a surface that will accept ink. Not only are these printers less expensive initially, the ink cartridges are relatively inexpensive compared to more advanced printing media. Security weaknesses include a lack of built-in lamination and print definition quality needed for higher security applications. Most ID badge printing software incorporates both inkjet and dye sublimation printing options allowing you to choose which output suits your needs. The most popular method of card production utilises the most popular printing method found today: Direct-To-Card (DTC) printers. These printers use a dye-sublimation process where the print head transfers colors from a special ribbon directly to the ID card. Advanced models of DTC printers can also be equipped to apply either a standard lamination layer or a high-security overlaminate containing at least one visual security element. Various ribbons are available for DTC printers based on the ID badge design and security needs of the end user. Full-color ribbons blend up to 16.7 million colors to produce photo-quality images. Full-color ribbons are also available with a special fluorescing panel to produce a covert visual security element viewable only under ultraviolet light. When producing barcodes encoded with cardholder-specific data, one of two types of black may be used. The standard black produced by dye-sublimation ribbons produces a barcode that can only be read by a visible-light reader. Black resin ribbons produce a barcode readable by infrared-light readers. This provides a higher level of security since the more sophisticated infrared-based reader will reject a copied barcode. The most expensive and most secure method of ID card production uses a high-definition printer. This type of card printer actually first prints an extremely high-quality image onto a special film, then the film is transferred by a heat and pressure process to the ID card.

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