Virginia Lottery places bets on security, ID badging
Virginia Lottery places bets on security, ID badging

Dec 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Carol Carey

Security has been a priority at the Virginia State Lottery building since the lottery's inception in 1988. At that time, Security Director Dennis P. Shaw helped oversee the installation of a Westinghouse access control system. A CCTV system was also put in place, as was an ID badging system. Since then, these systems have been upgraded regularly.

"From the beginning," says Shaw, who presently supervises a staff of 14 security officers, "we took a proactive approach to security. Rather than waiting for problems to occur, we anticipated them and put systems and procedures in place to make a safe work environment."

The Virginia Lottery building is located in Richmond's Capitol Square area, which is in downtown Richmond, adjacent to the business district. The security staff's relationship with the Capitol Police, who are responsible for all state offices in the Capitol Square area, is also an integral part of its overall security program. The police have posts at each of the two entrances to the 14-story, 600 to 700-employee lottery building, and maintain 24-hour shifts. Interaction between Shaw's security staff and the police is ongoing.

"They have a list of employees and we also inform them when we are expecting visitors. All of our packages are delivered through them," says Shaw.

Upgrading badging system A recent focus has been to strengthen security at the two lobby entrances, which have guard stations. To accomplish this, and to streamline its badging system, lottery officials upgraded the building's original ID card system (which involved a time-consuming process of taking employees' photos, laminating the cards and having employees return to sign them) to a digital one that makes use of a database.

In March of 1999, the Virginia Lottery contracted Millennium Card Tech Inc., Glen Allen, Va., to install an EPISUITE Classic stand-alone photo identification system by G & A Imaging Ltd. A Fargo Pro PVC-based direct card printer, Afga digital camera, and a digital signature capture pad by Wacom were also part of the package.

The Fargo Pro printer can produce large quantities of full-color cards at high speeds; it takes approximately 25 seconds for a full color card.

"Once the EPISUITE Classic was installed in a stand-alone PC, the Lottery was able to import existing employee data into the software. The software comes with a database utility that allows information to be captured from an original database, such as that used by Human Resources or an access control system and import it into its destination database in EPISUITE," says Eric Harris, Millennium's president.

Both Harris and Shaw note that the new system was a vast improvement over the former, non-digital system. Not only did security officers have immediate access to a relevant database relating to employee status, but the process of producing the cards had been made far more efficient. In addition, the new cards were set up with a strong adhesive that allows employees to attach ID cards to the back of their proximity cards. Employees now use one card instead of two.

Networking badging system Shaw and his staff were so pleased with the new badging system, they wanted the two guard stations at the lobby entrances to have access to it. As a result, in November, the Virginia State Lottery began installation of a networked version of EPISUITE, called EPISUITE Professional, which was expected to be complete by the end of November.

The networked version is installed in a file server in a room adjacent to the Security Center, and is connected to two work stations at lobby entrances.

"We expect to have greater efficiency once the guard stations have access to the EPISUITE database," says Shaw. "This will enable the guards to have real-time updates of employees' status. We feel this is important because the greatest threat to building security is internal.

"Guard stations are provided with information on a need-to-know basis only, such as the name, ID number (not Social Security number), photo, and date of hire of an employee. "The guard can compare the ID presented by the employee with information in the database; they are not, however, given any confidential data. When an employee leaves, records are deleted, so the guard would immediately know if an unauthorized person were trying to gain access," says Shaw.

With the EPISUITE Professional, it is possible to print more than 50 standard reports and audits, including security event logs and operator activity records. Information and images can be imported directly into the program and then customized.

"What most people want to do is avoid redundant data," says Ed Cochran, vice president of sales and marketing for G & A Imaging Ltd. "They may need five of the 20 information fields in a human resources or access control database for the EPISUITE program, so they export what they need, such as an employee's name, title, department and other ID badge information." Off-site network access to the photo database is expected in approximately one year.

In addition to the two manned guard stations, there are more than 60 access points protected by a WSE SE/6000 Next Sentry access control system with WSE 808 and 818 eight-door controller card readers. This represents an upgrade from the previous Westinghouse SE/5000 and SE/6000 systems. Shaw notes that the SE/6000 Next Sentry is Y2K compliant. "A Y2K upgrade was performed in 1999 via an EPROM chip replacement on the controllers," he says.

The access control system operates on a LAN within the Virginia Lottery corporate building, and over a WAN with T-1 lines to two remote locations, one a central warehouse five miles from the corporate building and the other a computer center 10 miles away.

The lottery has also been steadily upgrading its CCTV system. Currently, there are 16 cameras, all pan/tilt/zoom, nine color and seven black and white. "We're gradually changing to all color," says Shaw.

The overt cameras are both indoors and outdoors. In the Command Center, there are six Sony monitors, one 17-inch and five nine-inch; along with a Uniplex multiplexer, which allows one of the monitors to show all 16 camera points. Another monitor sequences camera points. Certain cameras are on continuously, their images captured by five Panasonic VCRs.

While the badging, access control and CCTV systems are not integrated at present, this is being considered for the future. If its past track records is any indication, the Virginia Lottery fully intends to keep up with technology. "Keeping up with advances in software," says Shaw, "is one of the challenges I most enjoy."

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