Solutions for 13 of the Most Common Airport Credentialing “Challenge Areas”
Implementing the Airport Credentialing Efficiency Toolkit
For Airport Credentialing Offices (CO), it’s all about efficiency. To help, Safe Skies’ Program for Applied Research in Airport Security (PARAS) commissioned a research program for the development of the Airport Credentialing Efficiency Toolkit. It provides a lot of actionable information and best practices to help airports assess and improve the efficiency of their credentialing processes.
Informed by data and insights provided by 26 airports (including several Civix clients) and a host of industry experts, the Toolkit provides recommendations in 13 credentialing “challenge areas,” such as staffing limitations and job duty assignments, appointments and scheduling, and leveraging available technology.
While the Toolkit is intended to provide guidance to the industry and Safe Skies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) do not endorse a particular product, method, or practice, we at Civix are sharing how our Aviation Secure Credentials (ASC) suite helps address each of the Toolkit’s 13 “challenge areas” and aligns with its “best practices” for improving credentialing efficiency.
1. Staff Availability and Job Duty Assignments
Challenge: The Toolkit provides guidance on CO operating hours, staffing levels, staff positions and more. This includes recommendations to leveraging technology and minimizing duplicate manual data entry. This includes technologies that allow for electronic form submission that provide basic error checking and ensure the data is readable.
Solution: Civix’s ASC offers the industry’s only self-service badging kiosk, which facilitates electronic form submission, unifies data entry, automates processes, eliminates opportunities for human error, and more.
Dubbed a “virtual Trusted Agent,” the kiosk offers 24/7 access to self service functions for badge application creation, employee badging, document scanning, fingerprinting, submitting background checks, and much more.
It’s been shown to cut badge processing time by 70% and Trusted Agent staff requirements by 50%.
2. Credentialing Office Location and Layout
Challenge: The Toolkit dedicates an entire section to CO location and layout, providing guidance on general design, space allocations, floor plans and more. It suggests moving to a “trusted agent position-centric” design to minimize the physical movement needed to process applicants. The Toolkit also provides a diagram (Figure 2-4) for equipment layout on a workstation with roughly a 25 square-foot footprint.
Solution: Civix’s self-service kiosk works around the requirements of the diagram by hosting all the necessary equipment within a small 3 square-foot footprint. Furthermore, the “virtual Trusted Agent” only needs to be plugged into power and connected to a secure network It can be placed in areas that are convenient for personnel and do not need to be confined to COs. All the data is transferred to trusted agents electronically and in real time, and the data can be accessed from anywhere with a secure network connection.
3. Appointments and Scheduling
Challenge: The Toolkit provides guidance for properly managing appointments and scheduling to improve both efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Solution: With Civix’s kiosk, personnel can perform secure credential functions at their convenience 24/7. It automatically sends the information to COs, integrating into established workflows without needing to schedule as many time-consuming face-to-face appointments.
4. Authorized Signatory Responsibilities
Challenge: Authorized Signatories can “cause additional work for the CO when they do not consistently or correctly perform their responsibilities,” according to the Toolkit. To address this challenge area, the Toolkit suggests airports maintain regular communication with Authorized Signatories and provide them with tools to help them complete their responsibilities.
Solution: Civix ASC solutions address this through automation and notifications that improve efficiency and communication with all parties, including Authorized Signatories. It reminds people when they need training, and it sends information to COs electronically, making their jobs easier.
Furthermore, during the badge application process, the Civix kiosk can scan I-9 documents to harvest data and automatically populate forms, avoiding keystroke errors associated with manual data entry.
5. Leveraging Available Technology
Challenge: Many technological solutions are available that can assist the CO with more effective and efficient operations, as highlighted by the Toolkit. It says, “Manual processes require multiple data entries, are prone to errors, and can create bottlenecks when volume increases.”
The Toolkit defines a best practice as, “An IDMS provides the highest level of efficiency by eliminating multiple data entry points and automating multiple credentialing processes.” It says the key benefits to look for are:
- Online resources that will reduce staff involvement
- self-service portals
- Automated processes
- Improved Authorized Signatory resources, training, and communications
- Self-service badge renewal automation solutions
Solution: Civix IDMS achieves all this in unparalleled ways. The enterprise solution simplifies identity management and badging through integration, automation, and accessibility. It consolidates everything into one view, managing background checks, biometric data, badging, continuous vetting, and auditing all from one application.
It also features an elevated level of integration, which the Toolkit identified as a primary roadblock to CO efficiency. Civix IDMS comes with several pre-configured integration options for Designated Aviation Channelers, learning systems, access control systems, business systems, federal agencies, remote printing, and more.
6. Ensuring Complete and Accurate Submissions
Challenge: The Toolkit finds that “incomplete and inaccurate submissions can profoundly impact the efficiency of CO operations” and goes on to state that 52% of the airports that contributed to the research thought accuracy and completeness of application forms are a concern.
Solution: Many of the common application errors outlined in the Toolkit can be avoided with the Civix ASC suite’s document scanning function, field validation, and business rules, which mirror each airport’s existing business processes. For example, the Civix kiosk can scan I-9 documents to automatically insert the data into badge applications. Simply, it eliminates the need for manual data entry, or it doesn’t allow the applicant to proceed when an error is spotted by the system.
7. Document Verification
Challenge: Document verification, an important function of the credentialing process, always involves manual review. The Toolkit identifies a best practice as “Identification document scanners are automated scanning tools that can greatly enhance staff efficiency.”
Solution: The Civix kiosk has built-in document verification, which automates the process and allows for Trusted Agent oversight. It leverages Acuant AssureID, an automated solution for Identity Verification & Document Authentication to fight fraud and meet AML/KYC Compliance.
8. Applicant Assistance
Challenge: The Toolkit identified gaps where resources may be needed to improve operational assistance when working with applicants who need additional assistance to complete the credentialing process, such as those who may not be fluent in English and physical accommodations. It found that only 10% of mostly large and medium hub airports indicated they provide documents in large print. Having ADA-accessible electronic documents, as opposed to paper forms, can help with accessibility.
Solution: The Civix ASC suite provides a guided, intuitive workflow, which makes it easy to use for all applicants and badge holders. It offers a range of language options; and it also allows for mobile enrollment that simplifies the application process, allowing people to complete 90% on their phone and finish with fingerprinting on the Civix kiosks.
9. Forms and Instructions
Challenge: In this challenge area, the Toolkit looked at the various methods used by airports to collect applicant data. To improve efficiencies, it recommends using electronically fillable forms and electronic form submissions.
Solution: Civix ASC solutions, particularly the self-service kiosk, streamlines the entire application process, gathering data through a unified electronic process, eliminating the need for multiple paper forms.
Notably, Civix has a transaction agreement with the TSA to offer its Aviation Channeling and Data Management System (ACDMS) to facilitate the communication of biographic and biometric data securely from aviation badging entities to TSA.
With this ACDMS integration, the Civix Secure Credentials solution offers airports one source for all their badging needs.
10. Relevant Metrics and Reporting
Challenge: For meeting operational business objectives, the Toolkit recommends ways to optimize automation for metric reporting and speaks to the value of visual reporting.
Solution: Civix IDMS achieves both by consolidating everything into one view through an interactive, real-time, visual dashboard.
11. Supporting Airport Peer Communications
Challenge: The Toolkit provides strategies that airports can utilize to expand peer communications and further promote industry collaboration.
Solution: Civix is a trusted partner to the FAA, state aeronautics departments, and over 100 airports worldwide. Through this vast network and decades of experience, it is able to gather lessons learned and share best practices. Civix developed its Secure Credentials suite of solutions precisely to meet the unique needs of airports. Furthermore, Civix convenes annual conferences to gain insights from airport stakeholders so that it can enrich its products to stay ahead of their evolving needs and industry trends.
12. Effectively Implementing New Processes
Challenge: As noted by the Toolkit, credentialing operations are continuously evolving, usually due to a new security directive or the adoption of a technology system. For best practices in identifying and implementing new processes, it recommends emphasizing the reason for the change, promoting continual improvement, and more.
Solution: The Civix ASC suite addresses this “challenge area” through its defining characteristics: the solutions are quick to implement, easy to use, and designed to eliminate friction in airport operations.
The solution is designed to evolve with new technologies. For example, a new feature includes facial recognition to compare a picture of a person captured by the kiosk with photographs of the person on documentation, such as their government issued-ID.
Another new process includes the ability to return badges directly to the kiosk, deactivate them in the access control system and IDMS – without needing intervention from the Trusted Agent.
13. Forecasting and Future Planning for Demand
Challenge: This final challenge area focused on methods to plan for and manage staff demand. The Toolkit even provides a staff forecasting tool that was developed as part of the research effort.
Solution: The Civix Airport Credentials suite can help reduce staff demand through automation, self-service, and integration.
Access Control Improvements
Challenge: Access control is referenced throughout the Toolkit and highlighted in the “Additional Considerations” section.
Solution: Civix provides a solution for challenges related to this area as well. With Civix Access cards, airports can quickly and easily implement biometric access control without investing in or waiting for new biometric hardware and software.
The Civix Access Cards use built-in fingerprint sensors to check the legitimacy of cardholders at points of entry. The cards are fully compatible with traditional NFC card readers, so airports can use them to implement two-factor authentication without upgrading the existing hardware. The solution is also contactless, a priority for high-traffic facilities, like airports, in light of COVID-19.
Highly secure, they Access cards work by giving each user a card containing their unique fingerprint data in a secure chip. When placed near a reader, the card compares the fingerprint of the person holding the card with the fingerprint data stored on the card. If they are a match, the card generates an access code and directs the control infrastructure to grant access.
About the Civix Aviation Secure Credentials Suite
The Civix ASC suite of hardware and software consolidates identity management and seamlessly manages background checks, biometric data, badging, continuous vetting, and auditing – all in one configurable off-the-shelf package. It includes:
- IDMS – An enterprise solution that simplifies identity management and badging through integration, automation, and accessibility
- Kiosk – A self-service kiosk that automates and streamlines the entire badging process
- Access Card – A biometric smart card solution for fast, affordable two-factor authentication access control
- DAC Integration – A cost-effective integrated aviation background check service that streamlines and expedites the badging process
Learn more about Civix ASC suite of solutions here.