Steve Guthrie, airport security coordinator at Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in central Idaho, will be the first to tell you that small general aviation airports must contend with the same TSA directives as the largest commercial airports. Guthrie will also be the first to speak volumes about the time and effort his Category III commercial services facility has saved using some of the same security-specific computer systems as much larger airports.
Project: Security Regulation Compliance
Location: Friedman Memorial Airport, Hailey, ID
Physical Identity & Access Mgt. System: SAFE for Aviation
Vendor: Quantum Secure
Implementation: March 2013
Cost: Varies according to user volume
Key Benefits: Streamlines badging process; automates previously manual processes; eliminates multiple data entry
Computerized Security Training: SSi
Access Control System: Lenel
As SUN’s security coordinator, Guthrie’s responsibilities include badging, on-site security reviews and TSA compliance reporting and monitoring. He also serves as special projects manager, risk management specialist and executive assistant to Airport Manager Rick Baird at the leanly staffed rural facility.
“Because of the requirements that we are required to comply with by law, we had to either hire additional resources – which would have been more people – or we had to look for technical solutions,” explains Guthrie. Together with the airport authority and Baird, Guthrie pursued a technical solution to eliminate double, sometimes even triple, data entry requirements and to automate previously manual processes.
Guthrie and Baird initiated a request for proposals and ultimately chose Quantum Secure’s latest suite of software, SAFE for Aviation. Since last March, SUN has been embracing an array of physical identity and access management software products that eliminated the need for more personnel. The new system moved the airport’s TSA-adjudicated Security Threat Assessment from an entirely manual process entailing multiple data entries to a streamlined and automated flow of relevant information between applicable systems. The result, Guthrie explains, is improved business processes.
Advantages of Automation
By using Quantum Secure’s newest software suite to streamline its processes for issuing security badges and maintaining TSA compliance, SUN is taking the same approach as large Category X facilities such as Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Another product, Identix, then interfaces with a fingerprint biometric technology that enables SUN to electronically capture and transmit forensic-quality ten-print fingerprint records.
Saurabh Pethe, Quantum’s project manager, explains that the company’s baseline software includes everything relating to credentialing within two portals: one internal browser-based portal and one external portal that authorized signatories use to begin pre-enrollment entries from outside offices.
“The airport does not have to fill in any paperwork per se,” Pethe notes. “The authorized signatory fills in a lot of information for the applicant and then prints the application form so they can sign it and submit it to the airport.”
The trickle-down effect of SUN’s new efficiencies include rapid movement, and, by default, greater ease for airport employees, he explains.
After using the system for about one year, Guthrie is enthusiastic about the timesaving Pethe describes. “Prior to Quantum, the badge issuance process would take up to an hour and a half, to include applicant interviews, data entry and badge issuance,” recalls Guthrie. “Now, when an applicant comes in, he or she is out of my office within 15 minutes.”
SUN also uses Quantum’s Asset Manager, which assigns and keeps track of the assets (metal keys) that have been assigned to individual employees. In addition to the company’s standard reporting, Friedman purchased the Security Reporter add-on product. Since deploying the new systems, Guthrie noticed a marked difference during the airport’s annual badge audit process, which previously required multiple mailings, emails and phone calls. “The Quantum system allowed me to push audits up to my signatories, and it was all completed within two weeks instead of two months,” he reports. “It has really helped in regards to compliance, because it takes the human factor out of it. The Credential Management System is automated and structured; compliance is followed to the tee.”
SUN’s Quantum software also connects to the Lenel’s access control system it already had in place and interfaces with SSi computer-based training through a third-party system.
Guthrie describes SSi as a “fantastic partner” that has taken the airport’s efficiencies to a new level. The company’s automated system delivers required training to authorized signers, aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel, new Security Identification Display Area badgeholders and FAR 139 airport agents without requiring extra manpower to maintain and update training programs, he explains.
“As a brand-new employee, it can take an hour or two to take the minimally required training programs,” explains SSi President Lorena de Rodriguez. At small airports, where employees are often hired a few at a time, providing staff to teach a small number of new hires can be a hardship, explains Rodriguez. Sometimes, she adds, it’s just a supervisor and one new employee. “Having an automated approach allows employees to take the training when they are able and the supervisor to provide more dedicated training about specifics – after the basics have been covered,” she relates. It makes more sense for a supervisor at a large airport to spend two hours presenting training information, because classes contain more people, she continues.
Large airports, such as San Francisco International, also benefit from SSi’s customized computerized training products, she notes: “Friedman Memorial has standard training programs that deliver the same efficiencies as those sought after by big airports: immediate recordkeeping and the constant availability of training to students after they have been securely enrolled in the program.”
Guthrie was pleased to discover that both SSi and Quantum allow smaller airports like SUN to pay for their systems via a monthly subscription instead of purchasing all of the hardware and software licenses upfront. Quantum refers to it as “proportionately scaled” pricing.
“Our licensing is basically like any other enterprise solution, with costing based on the number of active card holders,” Pethe explains. “If Friedman has 1,000 active card holders, our licensing is based on 1,000 active card holders. For larger capacity airports — if it is 25,000 IDs — then the licensing scales up.”
According to Guthrie, the investment is well worth the outcome. “I have been able to eliminate 50 percent of my paperwork,” he notes. “These efficiencies have allowed me to focus on overall compliance requirements, physical security and additional job expectations.”