Access Accessibility

Friday, May 1 2009

May 1, 2009

Written by Ken Kingery

MOSCOW, Idaho – Getting a foot in the door at major universities across the country just got a whole lot easier.

Terry Quinn, systems manager in the University of Idaho’s Information Technology Services department, recently licensed a web based product that reduces time, money and headaches for granting and denying access to doors on campus. Dubbed, “Secure Access Management (SAM) online,” the seven-year-old pet project will soon debut on campuses across the nation.

“When I first saw the program I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is terrific!’” said Bill Terry, president and CEO of Genesis Security Design, who bought the rights to license the program. “There has to be a market out there for this.”

SAM online specifically integrates with universities using Banner and CS Gold, though Quinn hopes eventually to make it universally functional. According to Terry, 43 universities use this combination of student database management and campus ID card system, and initial interest in SAM online has been sky high.

The benefit of the program is clear. It is estimated that SAM online can reduce overhead costs in time and money for door security management 95 percent by streamlining access requests into a one-stop online portal.

A typical university campus has thousands of locked doors, many of them on separate access control systems with different people requesting access to be granted or denied. In one building alone, the front door may require a card swipe controlled by one system, an elevator controlled by a different system and a lab door lock that must be manually programmed. To make things more complex, each door might have a multiple people responsible for managing access.

Rather than having to remember to contact three different people to grant a new graduate student access to the laboratory, a person with the proper authority can make one request to SAM online, which then filters that request to the appropriate people.

Some doors are even managed remotely, so that access is granted immediately without anyone lifting another finger. The program even provides automatic door logs – a record of who has come in and out of the door and when – which used to be a large part of an administrator’s job.

“A single gatekeeper may have to control dozens of doors,” says Quinn, who built the program with fellow Information Technology Services employees Cliff Clark and Darren Owsley out of a recognized need to simplify the system. “Multiply that by 150 gatekeepers on campus and turn them over every two to four years, and it can get pretty complicated. SAM online saves a lot of time and aggravation.”
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit

Media Contact: Ken Kingery, University Communications, (208) 885-9156,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit