RFID Innovation: How Remote Reader Updates Helps Companies Address Skilled Staffing Shortages

User Authentication, Access Control and IT Staffing Shortages 

In a 2023 Manpower survey, 77% of companies globally reported difficulty in finding skilled workers—a 17-year high. Information technology (IT) was at the top of the list of skills companies are looking for. Many countries are facing a shrinking talent pool as older, experienced workers retire and decades of declining birth rates take their toll. At the same time, the demand for IT professionals has surged due to the continued push for digitalization, an increasingly complex IT ecosystem, and rising cybersecurity threats.  

What does all this have to do with user authentication and access control? Authentication solutions play a critical role in both physical and digital security. Applications for authentication and access control have expanded far beyond the front door and now encompass an ever-increasing range of functions, including elevator access, secure printing, single sign-on (SSO) to business systems, workstation and meeting room check-in, industrial kiosks and smart lockers, and even company amenities such as the cafeteria or gym. These authentication applications rely on radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers that can read an RFID transponder (in a card or fob) or a mobile credential transmitted via Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) or Near-field Communication (NFC).  

Installing, configuring and maintaining all these RFID devices—and the back-end systems where user data and access levels are maintained—requires skilled IT professionals. The IT staffing shortage impacts both the companies that rely on authentication systems and providers and integrators serving the authentication market.  

Implementing Remote Management of RFID Readers 

Addressing the skilled staffing shortage will require innovative approaches that can reduce the person-hours required for managing and maintaining IT systems. For authentication and access control, remote management of RFID devices is a promising solution.  

Remote management enables remote control and monitoring of RFID readers over a network. Instead of physically accessing each device to configure or update it via a configuration card or direct connection to a computer, readers can be managed from a central system. Configuration, firmware updates and monitoring functions are all managed via a secure cloud platform.  

This significantly reduces the time and the person-power required to manage a fleet of RFID devices. Readers do not have to be physically touched or removed from the devices in which they are embedded in order to update firmware. Instead of sending teams of IT professionals on-site to implement a security update or reconfigure devices, it can all be managed instantly from a central location with the push of a button. 

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Remote management of RFID readers allows companies to be more efficient and flexible.  

  • Adding a new transponder technology or making other configuration changes can be done quickly and efficiently across all applications and locations.  

  • Troubleshooting and maintenance of RFID devices can be performed remotely, minimizing costly and time-consuming on-site service calls. 

  • Security is also enhanced by remotely monitoring system health and ensuring that security patches can be made in a timely manner for all devices.  

  • New RFID devices and applications can be seamlessly integrated into the system for a scalable solution.  

Organizations with a large number of RFID devices spread over multiple locations will see significant benefits from remote management. Service providers in the authentication and access control space can also rely on the capability to push out firmware updates to all clients automatically or to help their customers manage their readers.  

Of course, when implementing remote management of authentication infrastructure, data security and privacy are paramount. Security measures such as advanced encryption must be used when sending updates and configuration settings to readers over the network. It is also important to adhere to all data protection regulations and industry best practices for network, cloud and data security, especially when dealing with sensitive or protected data. By working with trusted remote management solution providers and regularly reviewing security protocols, organizations can ensure the integrity and confidentiality of transferred data. 

Putting Remote Management into Action

ELATEC has implemented a secure remote management capability for our RFID readers. Remote management of RFID devices offers an effective way to reduce dependence on on-site personnel while maintaining service to our customers. It also enables faster response to customer inquiries and improved troubleshooting. Our specially designed remote management capability is a secure solution that benefits us, our clients, and their end users.  

The shortage of skilled IT workers impacts both ELATEC and our clients. Offering a remote update option for our RFID readers allows us to offer better, faster service. It also enables our clients to be nimbler and more responsive to changes in transponder technology, security standards and functionality requirements.  

Skilled staffing shortages aren’t going away anytime soon. Neither is the need for secure, reliable user authentication and access control. Remote management of authentication infrastructure is one way that companies can reduce the IT burden for management of physical and digital security. When readers can be updated remotely with the push of a button, IT staff can spend their time on other things, like responding to end-user needs and maintaining network security. With remote management from ELATEC, reader configuration and maintenance won’t require an army of IT specialists.   

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