Agencies Look to the Cloud for Help with Digital ID Requirement

Some agencies are turning to cloud computing providers to fulfill a requirement that they install smart card readers on all federal facilities by October.

The Obama administration recently clamped down on enforcement of the 2004 Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 that requires federal employees and contractors possess IDs embedded with digital fingerprints and photos to access government buildings and networks.

Many agencies only ask that staff show the badges, rather than taking the time and money to activate the electronic features of the cards. February regulations imposed an Oct. 1 deadline for mounting digital readers -- with a financial penalty for failing to comply.

ADT Security Services and Brivo Systems, a web-based software provider, announced this week that they have jointly outfitted five buildings in Detroit and Chicago with an access control system that officials can monitor through the Internet, or the "cloud." About 8,000 employees from roughly 50 federal agencies work in the facilities, according to the two companies.

Agencies are under pressure to outsource hardware and software services to the cloud, as the administration has set a goal of phasing out about 40 percent of the federal government's 2,100 cost-consuming in-house data centers by 2015.

ADT and Brivo began the initiative in downtown Detroit with the McNamara Federal Building, which houses offices for the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, among other agencies.

The Detroit facility and four other buildings in the Chicago area, which are operated by the General Services Administration, now have card readers at 55 access points.

"This platform allows the GSA to take full advantage of an infinitely scalable cloud solution in the future," John Szczygiel, Brivo's executive vice president said in a statement.