Immigration affects the American population on an almost daily basis. Immigration policy and security protocol follow the basic principles of access control, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the epicenter and arm of our national security efforts.

USCIS, an offshoot of the DHS, is an organization that consists of 18,000 employees and contractors from 250 offices across the world, and it oversees lawful immigration to the United States. On an average day, the USCIS offices can receive up to 3,000 new citizens, grant permanent residency to nearly 4,000 people and process up to 135,000 background checks. (Find a full overview here.)

Since its founding, DHS and its federal branches have done their best to protect current and future citizens,  downloadand uphold national security, but there are new threats on the horizon as these agencies expand, requiring 24/7, high-level protection. Technologies used at these government locations must comply with the most rigorous of government standards otherwise national security may be at risk. Since immigration services deals with a high volume of both staff and a wide array of personnel, access control in these facilities must also be able to scale outward with ease, preferably through the native infrastructure already in place.

However, the access control systems installed in government facilities such as these must cover more than just the physical security bases. The pressure to upgrade physical access control systems to be IT-compatible and cyber-secure increases each day as more federal agencies fall prey to cyber attacks from beyond our physical frontiers. Access control platforms in use by Citizenship and Immigration Services must be able to efficiently track staff and visitor activity through layers of encryption for a secure environment that radiates outward from the interior to the exterior.

Viscount Systems has been awarded contracts to provide access control for USCIS because of the unique technical capabilities of its Freedom access control solution as well as its compliance with FIPS-201 and HSPD-12. As part of the FICAM testing process, Freedom underwent a series of stringent compliance tests to ensure the system is not prone to any type of unauthorized network access. Freedom is an IT-centric access control system that eliminates the need for traditional access control panels, which are vulnerable to cyber attack, ensuring a higher level of security is maintained. The result is a lower cost per door with overall lower annual maintenance costs than the traditional panel alternatives.

The Freedom software can be deployed on virtual machines, in a cloud environment or on physical servers, and uses real-time data to obtain situational awareness relating to both physical and cyber-security threats that greatly benefit federal efforts to manage immigration services. The growing physical-logical connection in access control is easily managed through the Freedom Government platform, minimizing risk so that government officials can concentrate on securing the personal information of millions of citizens.