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Texas Biomed chose Open Options as the standard for their access control

Texas Biomed chose Open Options as the standard for their access control
When Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) in San Antonio, Texas found itself operating with an outdated security platform, its security team researched and discovered Open Options.
Bioscience is an industry that relies on innovation and creativity. Its people, processes and physical assets are its most precious resources and securing these resources is not only critical to a bioscience organization but to the future of scientific discovery. So when Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) in San Antonio, Texas found itself operating with an outdated security platform, its security team researched and discovered Open Options.

“Texas Biomed chose Open Options as the standard for our access control moving forward due to DNA Fusion’s flexibility and support as well as its integration of non-proprietary systems and hardware,” said Mark Hammargren, CPP, Texas Biomed Director of Security.

Located on a 200-acre campus on the Northwest side of San Antonio, Texas Biomed is pioneering and sharing scientific breakthroughs that protect you, your families and our global community from the threat of infectious diseases. Since its founding in 1941, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute has gained worldwide recognition in scientific and academic communities for the quality of its basic research. Their scientists are able to conduct their research amid 550,000 square feet of space that includes laboratories, offices, an animal hospital, a library, and specially designed animal facilities.

Evolving to interoperable access control

In 2016, Texas Biomed’s security was operating on two separate platforms, including Open Options’ DNA Fusion for newly constructed buildings. Texas Biomed’s former access control provider was an outdated system, and due to limited parts and support, it became more and more expensive to maintain each year. Furthermore, consoles were installed in multiple locations and didn’t communicate properly with each other, posing numerous security threats.

For over two decades, Open Options and Mercury Security have worked together to provide a truly open architecture access control solution. Because of Open Options’ commitment to open architecture and their numerous third-party technology partnerships, Mercury Security named Open Options one of the company’s first Platinum Elite partners in 2014.

Hammargren also cited the ability for the software to alert security personnel of unauthorized access and forced entries, the option to absorb system upgrades without having to completely reinstall the software, and loss prevention as a few major requirements their access control system must fulfill.

Texas Biomed worked with Convergint Technologies to implement Open Options’ DNA Fusion across the entire campus.

“We chose Convergint as our integrator because of their reputation in the marketplace, customer service, and the fact that they had the best value when specifying the project,” Hammargren said. “That, coupled with Open Options’ excellent products, service, and support definitely helped the transition.”

The initial implementation took a few months to complete. During the implementation process, all on-property card readers were integrated and several keypad readers were added. Various hardware settings were also updated and continue to be updated as the facility’s occupant’s needs evolve.

Security structure

While Texas Biomed’s security is ultimately monitored from their 24/7 Security & Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), their DNA Fusion system can be managed locally from multiple areas around the campus, including server rooms, the Director of Security’s office, and main entry and exit posts, to name a few.

“We have found DNA Fusion’s ability to customize a system operator’s interface and privileges in the software to be extremely helpful in our day-to-day security,” said Hammargren. “For example, security officers at our facility’s entry and exit points use layouts specifically built to allow them to contact employees and supervisors, and to visually verify the person using the badge is in fact the person holding it.”

Texas Biomed has numerous DNA Fusion operators, ranging from the director of security to SEOC officers.

“We have had one of our senior emergency communication specialists attend Open Options training, which significantly helped close gaps in our knowledge of the product,” said Hammargren. “This knowledge allows us to easily conduct DNA Fusion training onsite between operators.”

In addition to the easy-to-learn interface, Hammargren also cites the clear layouts and menu options, ability to quickly change grid views, and effortless software updates as a few of DNA Fusion’s stand-out features.

Fulfilling a unique set of requirements

Because Texas Biomed houses laboratories full of expensive equipment and controlled substances and has numerous sensitive support areas such as HVAC and boiler rooms and server farms, it is extremely important that access is closely monitored and managed. As part of Texas Biomed’s security procedures, they implement dual authentication and anti-passback at some of their more sensitive locations. The anti-passback feature requires that for every use of a card at the “in” reader, there be a corresponding use at the “out” reader before the card can be used at the “in” reader again.


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