Securing pharmaceutical assets
Securing pharmaceutical assets

Aug 1, 1998 12:00 PM

Linking access control to the IS network to improve operations and reduce costs. Three years ago, $9 billion global pharmaceutical giant Hoechst Marion Roussel installed one of the largest, most comprehensive access control systems in the United States at its North American headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. The system provided access control across a 160-acre campus set on a 325-acre, company-owned business park. Three satellite facilities located within 10 miles of the main campus also relied on this access control hardwareand software. The Kansas City site includes 12 interconnected buildings housing manufacturing facilities, a drug development center, a research and development library, computer-training facilities, a 300-seat auditorium, a professional development center, a health and fitness center, satellite facilities linking Kansas City to other learning centers around the world, and a visitors center. A network of parking lots and underground parking garages serves all these structures, which span approximately 1.8 million square feet of space. North American operations also include facilities in Arizona, New Jersey, Ohio and Canada. Hoechst's product portfolio includes drugs aimed at cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, oncology, central nervous system disorders, diabetes and osteoporosis. Products currently undergoing clinical trials include medications for Alzheimer's disease, respiratory disease, schizophrenia, HIV infection, epilepsy and leukemia.

A new system As Hoechst's security manager, Jeff Marlow is responsible for protecting the company's vast intellectual property assets and for maintaining a safe, secure workplace for the 2,200 employees assigned to the Kansas City facilities. The new access control and alarm monitoring system installed three years ago replaced myriad proprietary systems that had evolved over time in different buildings across the campus. All told, the new system managed 250 proximity-card readers from HID Inc., Hamden, Conn., through field panels made by Newport Beach, Calif.-based Apollo. HID also supplied the badging media. Over the years, Marlow has issued more than 7,000 photo ID cards to employees and contractors working at the Kansas City site, storing the images in a proprietary database. About two years after installation, Marlow set out to find a system that would preserve the company's investment and integrate with the company's new commitment to Windows NT networking and operating systems (see sidebar). "We were searching for a single system that could be fully integrated and use a technology that could link other sites in North America," Marlow says. "We also wanted the new system to use standard company desktop PCs and network servers to allow economical growth in Kansas City and our other North American facilities." Lenel Systems International Inc., Fairport, N.Y., satisfied the requirements. Lenel is a certified Microsoft Solution Provider and has a powerful, yet easy-to-operate software. In addition, the Lenel system would work with Hoechst's existing card readers and panels, following a simple firmware change.

Making the change Marlow purchased the Lenel system late in 1997 and completed installation early this year. The most challenging part of the system start-up involved importing the image data from the old database, redesigning the access levels, and inputting hardware data. Nevertheless, the system started right up. "With more than 250 readers, 13 workstations and 7,000 badges, the system operated perfectly and has demonstrated its speed, flexibility and reliability," Marlow says. "Our security center operators have commented on how fast and easy it is to use. With a few mouse clicks, they can verify an image with a live picture, or open a door with the annunciation of an alarm. The system also provides a quick and easy way to handle automatic backups, archival storage by our mainframe computer, and automatic data sharing between the human resources and security departments."

Layered security As with any large campus, security at Hoechst begins at the perimeter. A fence encircling the campus provides the first line of protection. Inside the fence, near the roads and walkways, a network of black-and-white, pan/tilt/zoom cameras combines with microwave detection zones to detect intruders who might negotiate the fence. The cameras were supplied by Panasonic Video Imaging Systems Co., Secaucus, N.J. Racon Inc., Seattle, supplied the microwave detection system. Much of the campus is wooded, however, making a complete ring of electronic security expensive. To deal with this problem, Marlow has built a natural fence of thorny vegetation to complement the CCTV and microwave detection systems. Employees and visitors enter the campus at three control points staffed by security officers during regular business hours. Electronic sliding gates activated by HID card readers tied to the Lenel system provide access when the security officers go off duty. Black-and-white, pan/tilt/zoom Panasonic cameras also cover each of the three main entrances to the campus. Additional cameras cover strategic stretches of campus roadways, the parking lots and garages, and the front entrances of the buildings. According to Marlow, about 20 exterior cameras handle these chores. Most of the exterior cameras have pan/tilt/zoom mounts and have been programmed to respond to alarms covering nearby access control points. Marlow has also placed emergency phones in the parking areas. "They are just regular phones, but they are keyed to the cameras in the parking areas," he says. "When our communications people installed those phones, we asked for an output with an off-hook indicator that we connect to the switcher. If someone picks up the phone, the local camera will pan to that location." Marlow has deployed the lion's share of cameras inside the dozen buildings on campus. "Most of our buildings have multiple entrances, and we have fixed cameras in the vestibules that can view the area as well as individual faces, " he says. About 100 black-and-white, pan/tilt/zoom cameras from Panasonic scan the docks and other critical areas. In cabling the cameras, Marlow ran hard wire from groups of cameras back to a control point where a fiber-optic backbone sends the video signals back to the security station, which is called the security console. Fiber Options, Bohemia, N.Y., supplied the fiber-optic transmission system. Nine 16-channel multiplexers and VCRs, supplied by Anaheim, Calif.-based Gyyr, manage the video. Camera switching, control and access control alarm monitoring duties are handled by a matrix switcher provided by American Dynamics, Orangeburg, N. Y. The switcher also connects to duress buttons located in lobbies and some executive offices. Sentrol, Inc., Tualatin, Ore., provides these devices. In the security console room, eight black-and-white Panasonic monitors track the cameras under the supervision of five staff security officers working round-the-clock shifts. Each officer has one monitor to call up any camera in the system, and two monitors that display alarm conditions or areas of concern in a quad format. A large 25-inch monitor hanging from the ceiling provides a view of any camera of interest. Finally, a single monitor has been set to respond to an AdPro video motion detection system supplied by Vision Systems Inc., Hingham, Mass. In the end, the heart of a system the size of Hoechst's lies in the reliability of an access control system capable of managing and communicating with all system components. According to Marlow, the move to a system based on NT technology has enhanced his ability to do this, while promising to reduce the cost of growth in the future.

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