Flexibility Makes It Happen
Flexibility Makes It Happen

Apr 1, 2003 12:00 PM

Major surgery can be a traumatic experience. For almost 25 years, Boston Scientific Corp. has introduced less-invasive therapies and medical devices designed to ease the risk, trauma and cost associated with traditional surgery.

The Natick, Mass.-based company employs 14,000 people and operates 21 technology centers worldwide. Amazingly, as late as 1997, the company had no security department. Boosted by aggressive acquisitions, Boston Scientific revenues grew from $2 million in 1979 to more than $3 billion in 2003.
Calling in the Security Doctors

By the late 1990s, Boston Scientific executives realized their fast-growing company needed a strategic security plan. Still, the introduction of a cohesive security system has the potential to be as traumatic and inconvenient for a business as a major surgery can be to a patient.

With distribution and manufacturing facilities and regional headquarters spread across six countries, and sales offices in an additional 105 countries, Boston Scientific's path to security could have produced unpleasant side effects.

Veteran security consultant Lynn Mattice was asked by Boston Scientific's newly appointed interim security director to lend his expertise. "(In 1997) they were at a point where it was evident that they needed to create a corporate security department. They never had any one individual responsible for the company's global security program," Mattice says. "My task was to create a strategic plan and conduct a risk vulnerability assessment of the structure of the corporation."

The first thing Mattice realized was that security precautions within the company's far-flung facilities were inconsistent at best. "It became evident that because of all the acquisitions that had taken place, there was a broad range of variance, from no security systems whatsoever in some facilities to some fairly sophisticated ! even to the point of excessive ! security systems at other locations."

Armed with the risk assessment research, Mattice, now director of corporate security and business intelligence for the company, began to create a unified security system.
Choosing an Enterprise System

The first decision was to select an enterprise software solution. Boston Scientific's new security system would have to be flexible and work well with the company's existing infrastructure.

"The company makes very fast-paced, aggressive moves," Mattice says. "As a result, it needed a system with huge levels of flexibility built into it."

The company was extremely satisfied with its NT network, a robust system that boasted dual redundancy ! so any solution would have to be network-friendly. "Obviously, we wanted to piggyback on that substantial investment the company had made and not have to use alternative communication sources," Mattice says.

Boston Scientific decided to review only systems able to operate efficiently and effectively on an NT network without affecting the daily business operations. Six proposed security solutions met the bill. The company then narrowed its choices to three by way of a detailed review process.

"We built the criteria of what we needed to look at," Mattice says. "We did exhaustive reviews of system capabilities, validation of claims, evaluations of the capabilities of the companies to provide ongoing support. As we went through the review it became evident that while a lot of people purported to have NT solutions, there were very few who could operate effectively in that environment."

The three finalists were invited to visit the company's headquarters, and Boston Scientific executives also interviewed company engineers. "That was very telling in itself," Mattice says, "because one of the systems that we thought had a high probability of success brought in a bus full of engineers to the meeting. This drew a question mark in my mind when I saw this many people having to come to explain their system. When we started into our technical questions, we were stumping engineers. They couldn't give us answers."

The remaining two companies had another attractive feature. Both had been selected by Microsoft NT engineers during a global review of all companies offering NT-compatible security solutions. Microsoft had invited the two companies to Washington for a challenging test of their systems. One accepted the challenge: Rochester, NY-based Lenel Systems Intl. Inc.

"We spoke with the engineers who had done the tests themselves and that was the thing that put us over the edge with Lenel," says Mattice. "Lenel was the one who had undergone the test and succeeded phenomenally. Microsoft generated all these transactions, alarms, and downloads at once, and they couldn't kill it. It was extremely impressive."
Outfitting the System

Open architecture was a key requirement for Boston Scientific. "Once you make a decision to go with one of these systems, you're pretty much locked in," Mattice says. All of the finalists were required to have an open architecture system, lessening the risk of being bound to specific proprietary hardware.

"We came from the software industry, where open architecture was preached all the time," says Lenel president and CEO Elena Prokupets. "All the software design principles that are necessary to succeed we brought to the security industry."

In the past several years, Mattice has used the open architecture of the Lenel OnGuard system to create a customized security prescription for Boston Scientific. The system oversees access control and intrusion detection, CCTV, identification management and fire detection. Mattice says the system handles 41,000 transactions each day.

Access to exterior doors at Boston Scientific facilities are controlled by HID readers. Entrants show only their proximity badge during normal business hours, but then must also enter a PIN after hours. High-security areas require badge and PIN at all times.

All Boston Scientific employees carry proximity cards marked with their name, title and picture. What the badges don't include is any identifying company information. Lost badges are mailed to a P.O. box number far from the actual location of the company facility. "I don't understand why companies put their names all over their badges, because all that does is give someone a roadmap," Mattice says.

The Lenel system also links readily with Boston Scientific's human resource database system, PeopleSoft, alleviating the need to re-enter employee data into several systems. "You maximize the productivity of your work force, and you minimize errors," says Mattice. "We find that generally the HR databases are pretty pristine because people usually try to keep all this information correct so they can get paid."

Because the access control and human resources databases are integrated, badges auto-terminate when employment ends. A standard bar code produced by the Lenel system ties the badges into the company's time card system. In the manufacturing facilities, the barcodes help identify who worked on which product at a specific time.

New uses continue to be developed for the badges. In the company's manufacturing facilities in Ireland, employees will soon use their proximity badges as debit cards in the company cafeterias.

Fire detection will soon be facilitated with a Notifier Fire Alarm system, which links into the Lenel system. CCTV at Boston Scientific is an Intellex system supplied by American Dynamics.

An innovative solution created to fit the needs of Boston Scientific is the "face badge reader." The device includes a camera angled to view the face of the entrant, a camera to view the ID or badge, independent lighting and an intercom. This is useful at a gate or a remote building, Mattice explains. "If something happens, I've got all the information on this individual. And we can call and verify if someone is expecting this delivery or this visitor before we open the gate. And that offsets security officers. For a $5,000 investment, I've now supplanted a $100,000 annual cost."

The entire Boston Scientific security operation is coordinated through several control centers. The security personnel ! often recruited from fire departments ! monitor Lenel's round-up of the detection systems on 43-inch and 18-inch flat panel video screens, while constantly updated security information flows on electronic message boards overhead.

"In most cases, we have tapped into fire departments to staff the control center," Mattice explains. "You're getting people for a second job who understand clearly what an emergency is, who remain calm and cool during an emergency; and they are intelligent, sophisticated people." Employing fire department personnel also means having a built-in EMT.

While security systems might be monitored locally at branch locations during business hours, all monitoring responsibilities revert back to the global control centers after hours.
Security Insurance

Purchasing these complicated security provisions can be a weighty investment. Realizing manufacturing sites often struggle with the "capital budget battle," in which the facility manager must decide where his dollars are best spent for his facilities, Mattice and his team devised a solution.

"Our senior vice president and chief operating officer is a very pragmatic individual who understands the value of these systems, that they are an insurance policy," Mattice says. "As a result of that, we budget all the capital for these projects into his budget." Then the corporate headquarters distributes the security upgrades each quarter, and the local site simply pays the depreciation.

In this way, the essential security requirements are met, and Mattice's global security cure continues to be administered to the Boston Scientific family ! just what the doctor ordered.
Corrina Stellitano is a Fairhope, Ala.-based writer and regular contributor to Access Control & Security Systems.

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