Access control in the telecoms industry
Access control in the telecoms industry must improve management practices and meet often-high security requirements. Access to telecoms infrastructure (radio masts, street cabinets or data centres) is often governed by a specific authorisation-based system, requiring strict control procedures.
Multiple security challenges
The telecoms industry has grown at such a remarkable rate that it is now a key part of our everyday lives. At the root of this groundbreaking change is the growing number of telecom facilities. Equipment is often located in isolated areas so strict access control systems are needed to keep any vulnerability to an absolute minimum. With solutions installed at hundreds of thousands of sites, Locken has developed top-tier expertise in this particular industry, offering bespoke solutions to its customers’ needs.
Access control for multi-site facilities
Telecoms companies cover vast expanses of land to keep the service up and running for customers. This involves several tens of thousands of plants and facilities, from mobile phone towers to street cabinets for the wired network. This underlines the value of a standardised access control strategy to simplify access to all sites.
Locken has pioneered an easy-to-install solution. No cables are needed for doors as the cylinders are passive and the key supplies the power and access rights. Old mechanical cylinders are replaced with maintenance-free electronic versions and no alterations are needed on the doors.
With Locken’s access control solution, maintenance technicians no longer need to worry about accessing the numerous facilities during their daily inspection rounds. Once configured, their single Locken electronic key guarantees access to the right place at the right time, allowing technicians to focus their attention on the task at hand.
Operators can now rest assured that their field teams – often subcontractors – can carry out all maintenance work during specified times in line with their specific access processes.
Access control for extreme weather
Most of the facilities requiring protection are outdoor sites particularly exposed to wind, sun, snow and sea spray.
Access control systems must be able to withstand corrosion caused by bad weather. Locken delivers a certified, conceptual solution to this challenge with cylinders that meet the requirements of the EN 1670 corrosion resistance standard with a IP66-67-68-69 rating to guarantee maximum protection. The latest-generation electronic keys also use inductive technology for contactless information exchange between the key and cylinder. With this technology, the electronic key can transmit access rights to the cylinder even if the humidity at the site corroded the surface of the lock. In other words, bad connections no longer prevent information from being transmitted between the key and lock.
Access control and authorisation
At some telecommunications towers, access is restricted to those authorised to work at height.
With the Locken access control solution, the Locken Smart Access software liaises with the operator’s information system, collecting select information from the various user profiles to limit access to authorised individuals. This allows operators to use the software to assign access rights for specific areas, based on the technician’s profile and authorisation.
To improve on-site control activities, electronic keys work with the MyLocken app and new technology (RFID, beacons, etc.) to send technicians verification messages about their access rights or required safety instructions (wearing a helmet, the buddy system, etc.). Similarly, users can interact with the central system and submit on-site attendance reports, flag up anomalies errors, etc. These bespoke features are designed to meet ever stricter security requirements in companies.
Subcontracting and shared access sites: the challenge for access control
Subcontractors are an increasingly common fixture in both maintenance activities and emergency callouts; several officers require daily access to a number of scattered, remote facilities.
The access control system is further complicated by the fact that sites may be shared by different businesses, such water towers that are often used to support radio masts.
Locken delivers an effective response to multi-activity sites with just one electronic key needed for countless locks. Officers no longer need to carry large bunches of keys between sites – they can access the right place at the right time in maximum security.
Access control: a decisive advantage
Communication infrastructures may be the prime target for large-scale attacks looking to compromise the country’s economic potential. They may also attract various types of vandal (urbex), tempted by the challenge of scaling facilities or the apparent vulnerability of street cabinets.
The Locken solution is invaluable when it comes to protecting facilities from harm. The electronic cylinders and padlocks in the Locken access control solution have CEN 1303 certification with the highest level of resistance to drilling and therefore vandalism. What’s more, a lost or stolen electronic key can be disabled to prevent any unwanted intrusions. The reporting feature in the Locken Smart Access software aims to report any attempts to gain access outside specified time ranges or in out-of-bounds areas, thus detecting any anomalies.
Data centres: specific access control requirements
Hi-tech data centres are engineered to host the vast amounts of data passing through the various telecommunications infrastructures. This creates significant temperature and cleanliness challenges in their central sections.
Designed to host and protect servers and other electronic components from dust and constant high temperatures, data centres require an appropriate access control system for their maintenance needs.
The system must factor in the site’s various activities and areas. HVAC engineers, for example, cannot access the server room, which is governed by strict particle concentration regulations, or areas with temperature control systems.
The Locken solution gives each staff member a single electronic key configured with different access rights, ensuring that differing access requirements will never prevent operational staff from working on site. The latest-generation of electronic keys also feature a Bluetooth chip to ensure lone worker protection (LWP).
With the Bluetooth key, officers can interact with the Locken Smart Access software to manage their access rights. For example, they can let the central system know that they have finished work in line with established procedures. If they fail to report in, they will automatically be called on their mobile. This arrangement could be crucial in the event of an accident as data centres are highly automated and often function without any human input.