Access control rising to the challenge in telecoms industry


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The telecoms industry has grown at such a remarkable rate that it is now a key part of our everyday lives. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented requirement for almost all industries to operate a working from home policy and to provide citizens an increased access to online services, making the telecoms industry even more vital.

A major impact of this ground-breaking change is the presence of a growing number of telecoms facilities, which are proving to be the cornerstone of service delivery. Equipment is often located in isolated areas, so strict access control systems are needed to keep any vulnerability to an absolute minimum. With solutions that have been installed at hundreds of thousands of sites over the past 17 years, Locken has developed top-tier expertise in this particular industry. Its solutions are designed to provide security and flexibility of access to all technicians who are committed to ensuring continuity of service, particularly in times of crisis.

Catherine Laug, Group Head of Marketing at Locken explains the role access control plays in securing and safeguarding the future of the telecoms industry.

Access control for telecoms 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.

With Locken’s access control solution dedicated to the telecom industry, maintenance technicians no longer need to worry about accessing the numerous facilities during their daily inspection rounds. Once configured, their single electronic key guarantees access to the right place at the right time, allowing technicians to focus their attention on the task at hand.

Operators are 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 an 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.
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 and errors, etc. These bespoke features are designed to meet ever stricter security requirements in companies and accommodate the latest Government guidelines.

Subcontracting and shared access sites

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 as 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, 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 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.

For further information about Locken visit https://www.locken.eu/, find the company on LinkedIn or telephone 0203 691 1610.

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