Remote sites are assets owned by a company that are dispersed over a large single area or geographic area. Companies with remote sites can include ports, airports, roads, utilities, and mobile phone networks, and they face significant ongoing challenges in managing access to these sites.
There are four main reasons why remote site access can be challenging:
- Conventional master key systems provide no accountability and effectively become an ever-increasing risk to security from the moment the first key is lost
- Access control would be the logical solution, however, the geographic spread of the assets to be secured makes the prospect of hard cabling to install conventional access control cost prohibitive
- Added to the cost of cabling, is that many remote assets are secured by padlocks or 3-point locking systems on cabinets that are not easily retrofitted with access control
- Managing those who require access to the asset which includes the organisation’s own staff, contractors and in many cases other companies and parties that share the site, can be difficult
However, these four key challenges can be used to help companies develop a wishlist for a system that is suitable to secure their remote sites.
The main factors to consider when selecting a system to secure remote sites include:
The system must be able to ensure accountability. This accountability would be a comprehensive audit trail that tracks all activity in the system including both valid openings and failed attempted openings.
Here, key refers to the device used to open the lock. It may be a key or access control media. The point is that any lost credential must be simple to delete or expire, so that a lost key does not pose an ongoing security risk.
Security professionals know that cabling hundreds of doors is a major capital expense, even if they are in a single site. The potential costs are typically much greater if a remote site is to be cabled.
To avoid this cost, the system must not require cabling. In addition, the locks placed on remote sites must not require regular service.
To achieve this, they should not have batteries that need replacement. As an example, they should be powered by the key (imagine the cost of replacing batteries every year on a padlock located at every mobile phone tower for one of the Telcos!).
The system must be suitable to fit into your existing hardware. Many remote sites are within a compound which is secured with a padlock or a roadside cabinet for traffic lights that have 3-point locks or even a conventional door lock.
Padlocks are almost always located outside and must be IP68 rated without the need for additional weather covers.
Why? Most users do not put the cover back after opening/closing the lock. If the system can be simply retrofitted, it again helps to reduce costs significantly.
Simple to manage and maintain
To make it simple, there needs to be a centralised management software that automates the process as much as possible, including a configurable administration hierarchy, being able to adjust for time zones across Australia, easy updates of access profiles on the fly (perhaps a mobile phone app that updates the key remotely), and finally a system that can integrate with lots of different systems such as contractor management or compliance systems.
The good thing is that there are products available that are designed to meet these challenges. The products are normally classified as Electromechanical Master Key Systems which are basically a hybrid that has combined the benefits of a conventional master key system with the functionality of an access control system.
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