Securing Remote Sites: Next Generation Access Control
While different remote sites might vary greatly in their application, security often proves to be a challenge, and different types of locations often share many similarities when it comes to managing access. From large single sites like a university, to geographically spread sites like roadside cabinets that house the electronics, security managers often find themselves presented with many and varied unique challenges.
From ensuring compliance (site induction, valid insurance etc.) and management of both permanent staff and contractors is in place before area access is granted, and the potential for lost or deleted credentials, to investigating any losses and ensuring sights can be expanded or re-tasked as required – the ability to tightly control and monitor system user access is becoming a necessity, even more so now given the current global pandemic.
Remote sites are often exposed to the environment and various harsh elements, conventional access control requiring cabling is not an option, and padlocks often make up a large proportion of the locking elements. When the challenges and similarities of managing remote sites are combined, it’s clear there are solid padlock solutions that can aid in securing and managing remote sites. These solutions, however, require several elements to be successful.
Dealing with the Harsh Australian Environment
The Australian (and international) environment can dish up volatile conditions, and the vast majority of locking devices deployed across remote sites will be exposed to the elements. The application of roadside cabinets, for example, provides no protection for the lock.
A solution must be suitable for all types of sites – at a minimum, an “Australian Proof” solution needs to be strong, solid and durable and dust, salt, sand and water-resistant to handle our environment. This means that IP68 padlocks are required – whereas conventional door lock cylinders are far less exposed to the elements than padlocks, they still need to be able to function in our environment.
Access control systems across most sites require the ability to operate sans cables. Cabling hundreds of doors is a major capital expense, even on a single site. The costs involved in cabling a remote site are typically not a feasible option for any organisation. A battery powered solution, like the key centric electromechanical access control system from EKA CyberLock has its main smarts held in the CyberKey, it does not require batteries in the cylinders and therefore is seamless in retrofitting existing locks.
Flexible Management and Administration
Being able to manage the system remotely and effectively is one of the most important elements – from easily deleting lost media (keys, access cards etc), to reinforcing company compliance standards and beyond. Software that provides administrators a single platform to create access profiles, manage users and view and configure the entire system empowers the end user to work in the most efficient way possible.
CyberAudit Web has a software development kit to be used for integrations with various systems such as a typical access control system. The most common integration, however, is with systems that manage staff and contractor compliance. A common development example is how – before the system issues access to a CyberKey, it will check with the compliance system to ensure a specific contractor has completed induction and has updated their insurance details.
Audit Trail Ability
What if something goes wrong? It’s inevitable that across isolated or challenging sites, issues may arise. When implementing a system its important to have access to a comprehensive audit trail that can be used to identify access history. This is effective not only when criminal behavior occurs, but in monitoring compliance, or tracking contractor site visits. The CyberLock system includes a comprehensive audit trail in the CyberKey (12,000 events), the CyberLocks (1,100 events) and even administrator changes in the management software.
To ensure a system is effective long-term, it needs to be scalable over time. The CyberLock system is electromechanical, there is no conventional master keying. This means the system can be set up to suit every key holders’ exact access requirements. It can be expanded by adding CyberKeys and CyberLock Cylinders to the data base in large volumes, or one lock or key at a time. If a lock or key is damaged and needs replacement, there is a simple replacement procedure that removes the old device and replaces it with the new device, including adding it to the correct access profiles.
The recommended minimum system requirements will allow the CyberLock system owner to create a system with up to 15,000 CyberLocks, 15,000 CyberKeys and up to 500 simultaneous system administrators. If a larger system is required, simple increases in system resources are easy. 500 administrators can be arranged into a hierarchy of managements where one administrator can see and control the entire system, whilst others can only see the locks and keys for their specific area of concern.
Service Must Be Minimal
The power source must always be in the key – the fact is, if a cylinder or lock requires batteries that need replacing in remote applications, the cost of management will be immense. Visiting every remote padlock on a gate, for example, to replace batteries is counterproductive and the associated cost nonsensical.
The answer is in the key – which should use a rechargeable battery, like that of a mobile phone. This will ensure keys require no battery service, except the odd clean. CyberKeys are available in a replaceable battery option but the rechargeable options are far more popular.
Despite the obvious challenges and similarities, of course every organization faces slightly different scenarios across different sites. EKA CyberLock has been implemented across various sites in various industries, like Utilities (BAI Communications Australia) and Transport (Department of Transport and Main Roads).
The system is the most configurable and flexible electromechanical master key system available in the market, meaning it can be customised to suit any organisations exact requirements. For more information contact the team at EKA CyberLock.
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