FIPS-201 Failure

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on May 28, 2012

The security market is hungry for money. With security budgets shrinking worldwide, any glimmer of untapped sales sends manufacturers and integrators scrambling. Nothing carries more impact that sweeping government regulations, and as a result, when FIPS-201 (PIV) demanded government entities reform their identity credential use, many providers jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, more than a decade later, the security industry is still waiting for race to begin.

In this update, we examine FIPS-201 intent, identify where it has gotten sidetracked, and discuss if it will ever be a significant source of security spending.

History

FIPS-201 aims to standardize physical and logical credentials into a single format:

  • Applies to over 5.7 million Federal Workers and Contractors
  • Provide official response to requirements defined in HSPD12
  • It is a joint US Department of Commerce / NIST project

When introduced, the US Government gave everyone 5 years to comply. After multiple deadline moves and delays, it still has not been universally adopted. This begs the question: "What went wrong?"

Barriers

The difficulty in pushing through FIPS-201 changes is not due to lack of awareness of the regulation itself. Rather, a host of other barriers have sidetracked adoption efforts:

  • Mass confusion understanding what FIPS-201 means: most people are waiting to be told how to be compliant.
  • Difficulty converging physical and logical identities: Getting parties to agree on compliance plans is tough.
  • Adoption required undeveloped technology: Compliant credentials and readers had to be designed first.
  • Unfunded mandates: Despite hard compliance deadlines, money was not budgeted to fund changes.
  • No enforcement beyond threats: While funding can be cut by non-compliance, real penalties are nonexistent.

Market Impact

A large integrator at PSA-TEC explained how his company geared up a major push for compliance in the government vertical, but various barriers prevented it from being a real market driver.

For example, a practical 'update' required to bring a 'legacy access control' system current to FIPS-201 standards is adopting credentials that meet ISO14443 communication standards. At the present time, this requires a type of card that mandates a 'read' range under 2 inches. In addition, FIPS-201 credential compliance requires a cryptographic 'self test' feature defined by FIPS-140. At current processing speeds, this activity takes almost a full second of continuous interface to 'read' a credential.

These requirements mean that government entities must replace all medium or long range proximity or magstripe technology readers protecting secured areas. In terms of real changes, this means a huge percentage of all installed card readers must be replaced. This does not even address the more specific data protection requirements applicable to the access control system itself, which may need to be substantially updated or forklift replaced to become compliant.

In spite of its far reaching impact, FIPS-201 compliance has not precipitated anything beyond incremental changes to most applicable access control systems. It is therefore difficult to gauge the overall effectiveness of FIPS-201. While directive's intent is smart, the case can be made that more fragmentation and confusion exist in the identity market now than before.

Future Market Driver?

The answer is: No, not it the way it was once expected. The lesson learned from this is that 'the cart cannot lead the horse'. No matter how sensitive the security market is in addressing these directives, if funding and enforcement are not concurrently made available they will be relegated into the heap of spineless legislation. Quite simply, government entities will not choose to spend money unless they are forced to or shown a tangible return on the expense. For many, FIPS-201 compliance simply becomes another check box on the '5-Year Strategic Plan' to be addressed at a later date.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Retired Mercury President Returns As Open Options President on Mar 18, 2019
Open Options experienced major changes in 2018, including being acquired by ACRE and losing its President and General Manager, John Berman who...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
Start Up Safe Zone $150 Gunfire Detector Profile on Mar 06, 2019
While gunfire detectors have been around for years, typically they are limited to enterprise level or municipal deployments. Startup AVidea, makers...
Top ISC West 2019 Booth Moves on Mar 05, 2019
With ISC West just a month away, we examine the most notable exhibitor moves including big exhibitors who dropped out and a number of significant...
Prysm PSIM Profile on Mar 05, 2019
A decade ago, PSIM promised significant potential but has always suffered from significant problems. Now, a number of PSIMs have either gone out of...
Genetec Declares "Lead With Synergis" Access Control on Mar 04, 2019
Genetec started with and is best known for its video management software. However, the company is now imploring its partners to lead with Synergis,...
Private School IT Manager Surveillance Interview on Feb 22, 2019
This IT manager describes himself as the "oft-maligned IT person" whose "opinions may not always be appreciated by the integrator crowd." But he is...
HID Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 21, 2019
HID favorability results were strong, in the 2019 IPVM integrator study of 200+ integrators, with a net +62% and low negativity as the table below...

Most Recent Industry Reports

IBM / Genetec Surveillance System Investigated Over Philippines Human Rights Abuses on Mar 22, 2019
A lengthy investigation into an IBM video surveillance project in the Philippines, raising concerns IBM helped local police conduct a bloody...
Eagle Eye Favorability Results 2019 on Mar 21, 2019
Eagle Eye has been the biggest spender in the cloud VMS market including (via their owner) acquiring Brivo for $50 million and CameraManager from...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Insurance Startup Coalition Profile on Mar 20, 2019
Many industry people believe cybersecurity insurance is not worth it, as the voting and debate in our Cybersecurity Insurance For Security...
Covert IP Camera Shootout - Axis, Hanwha, Hikvision, March, Vivotek on Mar 20, 2019
Covert cameras were one of the last holdout areas for analog cameras. However, in the past few years, IP / HD covert cameras have become...
Top Metrics For Ensuring Integrator Profitability - Statistics on Mar 20, 2019
How do integrators ensure the profitability of their projects? As part of our profitability study, 100+ integrators answered the following...
Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program' on Mar 19, 2019
There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras? While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are...
Hanwha Tax Evasion Probe, Camera Division Implicated on Mar 19, 2019
A Hanwha group subsidiary was raided as part of a tax evasion probe. While a Korean news media report listed the raided entity as 'Hanwha...
Genetec Security Center 5.8 Tested on Mar 19, 2019
Genetec has released Version 5.8. This comes after a wait of more than a year that caused frustrations for many Genetec partners. Our previous...
Retired Mercury President Returns As Open Options President on Mar 18, 2019
Open Options experienced major changes in 2018, including being acquired by ACRE and losing its President and General Manager, John Berman who...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact