By: Rich Lyman, Manager of Global Technology, Netronix Integration and Ivan Golian, IT Director, Netronix Integration

The security industry is no stranger to combating vulnerabilities. Whether physical or cyber threats, security professionals must always anticipate what could go wrong and have a plan already in place to respond accordingly. Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), first released in 2011, is one tool available to the industry that is beginning to gain much traction for both its ease of implementation and secure encryption.

OSDP is an access control communication standard developed by the Security Industry Association (SIA) that has gained global acceptance, replacing 40-year-old Weigand protocol. While Weigand is still prevalent in some legacy security systems today, it no longer meets the needs of consumers. Weigand is simply a binary set of data without room for evolution, but end users demand more. The industry must adapt to the changing needs of consumers, and OSDP is helping to accomplish this.

1. Encryption
OSDP supports 128-bit AES encryption, making it far more secure than Weigand. This encryption protocol is required in all U.S. federal government applications, and has been adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). With encryption in place beginning with the access control card, “man in the middle” hacks are practically eliminated. In addition, increased encryption measures support companies’ compliancy with privacy laws, such as GDPR. Using Weigand puts data at risk, whereas OSDP protects it, and in turn keeps sensitive information secure.
2. Interoperability
OSDP works under an open architecture, which allows for system functionality to change as needs do. This makes system maintenance more economical, and provides the flexibility to update as needs change, without a costly price tag. End users can use equipment from most manufacturers that conform to OSDP protocols, allowing for a customized solution tailored to user’s unique needs and budgets. OSDP is also on track to become an International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) standard, the world’s leading organization that establishes international standards across electrical technologies, further expanding its reach.
3. Bi-Directional data communications and advanced Smart Card Capabilities
Unlike Weigand, OSDP provides support for bidirectional communications and advanced Smart Card Capabilities (such as PKI/FICAM and biometrics), further enhancing the security of a system. With the ability to host multiple devices on the same wire, it reduces the risk of a compromise with badge-to-reader communication. Support for smart cards further enhances flexibility, while maintaining system integrity.
4. Evolving Protocol
In a world where hackers attack every 39 seconds, it is more important than ever to not only have a secure protocol in place, but one that can evolve as needs change. SIA has a working group dedicated to the development and maintenance of OSDP so that it matures at a steady pace and remains relevant. OSDP is a living, breathing, evolving protocol, so to speak, and advances on-pace with technology.

End users are engaging in conversations surrounding physical and cyber security more than ever, and in turn are becoming more active in the decision-making process, as it relates to their security system. It is the integrator’s job to educate end users on technology and standards available to them, and this includes OSDP.

For more information on OSDP you can visit

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Source: Security-Net Blog