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English translation of the article:
Can you be secured without a time server?
Security is obviously a key topic into the security industry but can it be achieved without an accurate and secured Time base?
Nowadays, many security systems require a time base to be operated. This internal time is requested to schedule an action (door opening, control an access…) or create the history of events for security and/or maintenance purposes.
The internal time base is usually a basic quartz oscillator with low accuracy because it is not possible to include an accurate oscillator in each system/device for obvious price issues.
Because each oscillator will deviate in a different rhythm from the correct time in each system, you might face a gap between each of them and this deviation will increase progressively until reaching several minutes.
The operators will then face a variety of time in their environment (CCTV, fire alarm, gate control, access control, voice recording …) and are not able to tell which one is correct. The confusion becomes a rule even if one of the systems is accurate.
The difficulty will then appear if these systems are interconnected and supposed to exchange some information. The situation usually leads to a point where system errors appears due to the incoherence of these time information. This failure is usually highlighted every 6 month during summer/winter changeovers in countries where applicable.
The solution consists in synchronizing all these system to a single and reliable time source provided by a Time server.
The choice of this Time server is important because all the security and reliability of the whole system is linked to this time system. Software solutions are not suitable due to their instability. A simple bug means the desynchronization of all devices.
The temptation is high to collect the time information from the Internet. Such a solution is acceptable for a private home use but cannot be acceptable for a professional facility. One reason is the Internet instability but the major issue is the fact that this Internet link is an open gate to the outside. Even considering the best virus/warm protection solution you can never be sure of the availability of this time source over a long period especially during maintenance operation on the time generator.
The whole security of your installation cannot be exposed in such a way.
The recommended solution is to have a dedicated time server into your IT network. This time server is usually synchronizing the network through a standard and reliable time signal known as NTP (Network Time Signal). Other type of signals such as PTP, E1, IRIG, Synch E, are also available for specific needs. A simple NTP time server is available at reasonable prices and can save many technical hassles.
Depending on the importance given to time for your security you may request a redundant time server solution and a more or less high accurate oscillator.
Mobatime is a Swiss based company offering a wide range of master clocks and time servers to cover all your needs of accuracy and stability. We have a worldwide experience into synchronizing IT networks for over more than 80 years. Swiss time of course!