Sera4 Appoints Turn-Key Communications as Representative for Northern Ontario

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, March 23, 2021 – Sera4 has appointed Turn-Key Communications to represent its keyless access control solutions in Northern Ontario.  

Based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Turn-Key Communications has been Northern Ontario’s leading telecommunications company for the last 26 years. Specializing in outside plant construction, fibre and copper cable placement and splicing, structured wiring, and networking systems, Turn-Key Communications’ customer base includes some of Canada’s leading telecom, mining, and utilities companies, such as Bell Canada, Rogers, Barrick Gold, WesTower, and Ontario Power Generation. 

Terry Joseph, General Manager at Turn-Key Communications, is looking forward to bringing Sera4’s keyless access control solutions to his customers. “Sera4 provides the ideal solution for many of our clients that have historically used traditional lock and key applications to secure their facilities. Our clients have tens of thousands of locks across their facilities, which come with all the old issues: lost keys, staff issues, contractor access, and emergency access, among others. Sera4 eliminates these common challenges and I’m thrilled to offer a more efficient and effective solution to my clients.’ 

Joseph sees working with Sera4 as an opportunity to round out his portfolio and provide extra value to customers. “Sera4 gives customers total control and flexibility to administer access to their facilities via with a secure digital solution. The options are endless, and applications for (Sera4) solutions are wide and varied.  As a contractor for dozens and dozens of companies, getting access to their facilities, either regularly or periodically, is a challenge day in and day out with mechanical keys, so we can easily convey the value of Sera4 to our clients, citing our real experience. 

Sera4 protects critical infrastructure in remote places around the globe. Sera4’s keyless platform for physical access control is both easy to use and highly secure. Operating across four continents, Sera4 provides security and identity control for some of the world’s largest service providers.  

“We’re thrilled to expand our network in Canada and bring the power of secure, scalable, reliable keyless access control solutions to other Canadian organizations,” says Eric Corej, VP of Sales at Sera4. “We’re looking forward to growing our relationship and helping Terry and the team at Turn-Key Communications bring controlled authorizations, data collection, and accountability to their customers.” 

To learn more about Turn-Key Communications, connect with Terry on LinkedIn, visit www.turnkeycommunications.ca, and follow Turn-Key Communications on Facebook. For more information about Sera4 access control solutions or to learn about partnering with Sera4, contact us

Cloud Security is Not the Culprit in Recent Cyberattacks

Last week, Silicon Valley-based Internet of Things (IoT) security and surveillance provider Verkada announced a major cyberattack, which allowed hackers to gain access to live feeds and archive video associated with 150,000 cloud-connected devices. Most organizations affected by the attack found out about it when their surveillance imagesincluding footage from inside prisons, hospitals, and software providersstarted circulating online. The attackers were able to gain access to the command-and-control systems of these cameras, which gave them unfettered access to cameras in organizations across the world. 

access control cloud security

Whenever there is a cyberattack of this nature, it leads people to question the security of cloud solutions. However, this shouldn’t cause general fear, uncertainty, or doubt around using systems that have a cloud architecture. A well-designed cloud system is perfectly secure. 

While the details of the compromise are not yet available to the public, there are several hints as to the vulnerabilities of this specific hack, and some key actions enterprise IoT users can take to protect themselves against similar attacks. 

“The attack targeted a Jenkins server used by our support team to perform bulk maintenance operations on customer cameras.” 

A note from CEO Filip Kaliszan, Verkada 

The system was compromised by accessing a vulnerable support server. The fact that a support server has either direct access to the command-and-control of cameras themselves, or the fact that it could be used to penetrate another system with access, suggests vulnerabilities in the vendor’s overall design. Simply, their network infrastructure is not configured with a model of zero trust. Founded by former Forrester Vice-President and Principal Analyst John Kindervag, zero trust is a security framework that reduces the potential for data breaches by removing default trust/access to systems, even those within the firewall. 

“…we have no evidence at this time that this access was used maliciously against our customers’ networks.” 

Filip Kaliszan 

If the IoT device is installed within a corporate network, it’s easy to setup the network so devices don’t have access to anything within the network. VLANs and Layer 2 switching make physical separation of networks easy, and can avoid security concerns. Most hacks are not due to the inherent security of the solution, but the mistakes made in securing it. 
 
Enterprise IoT customers can also ensure that any connected device coming into the organization is updated from default passcodes or admin passwords. In an interview regarding the Verkada breach with CCTVBuyersGuide, Asaf Hecht, Cyber Research Team Leader from CyberArk commented, “The potential for breaching common IoT devices, like security cameras, is something we’ve been talking about for years. Cameras, much like other hardware devices, are often manufactured with built-in or hard coded passwords that are rarely, if ever, changed by the customer.” 

“While we can’t be sure that’s what happened in this case, recent breaches certainly have ‘scale’ in common, demonstrating attackers’ growing confidence and precision – and ability to efficiently extrapolate weaknesses for impact.” 

Is Sera4’s Teleporte cloud solution for keyless access control safe?
TL;DR YES! 

At Sera4, we easily argue that our Teleporte cloud architecture enhances your organization’s security. 

Cloud Security By Design 

Teleporte implements a network design that doesn’t have support servers connected to our private cloud. Teleporte implements its services in independently ISO 27001 managed data centers; there is no dependence or connectivity on support servers in our office. The office is a place to worknot a place we depend on to run our products. 

Teleporte, when implemented in the cloud instead of an enterprise network, means our customers don’t have to worry about compromised systems affecting Teleporte services—and neither do we. Internal enterprise systems, and even your employees, don’t have direct access to the Teleporte servers. 

Finally, Teleporte locks and lock controllers don’t have IP addresses.  They aren’t directly connected to the Internet, and as such can’t be opened en mass by an external hacker. Equally, they could never be taken over to compromise your enterprise network. 

Cloud Security By Experts 

Ultimately, there are many examples of products that operate effectively from the cloud. The best cloud products were built by experts who approach products and solutions with a security first mindset. The Sera4 team is comprised of network, mobile, and embedded experts, and a security first approach is in our DNA. Our solutions were purpose built to provide the most secure, scalable, and reliable keyless access control on the market. Book a demo of our Teleporte solution and you’ll find that the decision is easier to trust than the alternatives. 
 

Sera4 Appoints Smart Building Solutions as Representative Firm for Access Control Solutions

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, March 4, 2021 – Sera4 has appointed Smart Building Solutions to represent its keyless access control solutions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Based in Pittsburgh, Smart Building Solutions brings 40 years of low voltage experience and is focused on offering connected intelligent solutions to integrators, security contractors, installers, and electrical contractors.

smart building logo access control solutions

Gary Rodgers, Principal at Smart Building Solutions, is looking forward to bringing Sera4’s keyless access control solutions to his customers. “Sera4’s portfolio complements many of our existing product lines, including cameras, access control, cabling, connectivity, cabinets, and housing solutions,” says Rodgers. “As a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD), I often provide design assistance to consultants, architects, and engineers. We’re excited to include Sera4 in our cohesive, unified, end-to-end offering to customers.”

Sera4 protects critical infrastructure in remote places around the globe. Sera4’s keyless platform for physical access control is both easy to use and highly secure. Operating across four continents, Sera4 provides security and identity control for some of the world’s largest service providers.

“The ability to manage unlimited locks and devices, with an easy-to-use cloud platform is unmatched,” says Rodgers. “(Sera4) truly helps us deliver a superior customer experience.”

“We’re thrilled to bring Gary and Smart Building Solutions onboard as our representative firm for PA, WV, MD, and DC” says Eric Corej, VP of Sales at Sera4. “We’re looking forward to growing our relationship and helping Smart Building Solutions deliver additional value to their customers.” To learn more about Smart Building Solutions, connect with Gary on LinkedIn. For more information about Sera4 access control solutions or to learn about partnering with Sera4, contact us.

Why Reliability is Your Keyless Access Control Program’s Most Important KPI

Keyless access control systems are becoming more common, especially to safeguard critical infrastructure and remote sites. While there are a number of benefits to going keyless, there is always a risk of low adoption. In our experience, the reliability of a solution, whether actual or perceived, is the most significant factor in a successful implementation. 

In short: if the people using electronic keys aren’t able to successfully open what they need to open, it threatens the adoption of a chosen solution. And without widespread adoption, companies lose out on the benefits of implementing a keyless solution, like cost savings, identity control, scalability, and operational insights.  

So, what does reliability mean? 

Reliability means that locks open when a user tries to open them. It’s that simple. Or is it? 

All locking systems have a mechanical element to them, and all mechanical elements are prone to failures. Rust, wear and tear, freezing, and other extreme conditions can all lead to mechanical failure. Electronic elements are also prone to failure. Sometimes components get lost, sometimes devices break, sometimes batteries die. And when these elements fail, the lock is considered less reliable. 

How can reliability be achieved? 

There are two approaches to achieving reliability in opening a lock: 

  1. Precision manufacturing and design for high-reliability use in rough environments 

Locks need to be able to stand up to extreme conditions—environmental, or otherwise. Moisture, temperature, extreme weather, and other environmental conditions can all affect the performance of a lock over time. And people will try to break into whatever is being secured. Locks need to be designed and manufactured to stand up under almost any condition, over and over, without issue. 

  1. Reducing the number of points of failure 

This is where electronic key systems have traditionally had fundamental challenges. Electronic keys can fail. Batteries run out of juice, people drop them or otherwise damage them, or people lose them. Electronic key chargers can fail. Electronic key data relays and local servers can fail. The electronic lock itself, like a cylinder or padlocks, can fail. The central management system can fail. And when they do (because they will), it’s frustrating and inconvenient for the person trying to open the lock. 

That’s a lot of failure. Is there any hope? 

Yes! A good keyless system eliminates many of the electronic points of failure above, reducing opportunities for unsuccessful opens. Yes, electronic locks can fail. Yes, smartphones can fail. (Even though most people can’t even remember a time their smartphone spontaneously failed, a good keyless system includes a failsafe). Yes, the software can experience temporary outages. But these are all far less likely than the key itself causing a problem. 

When the electronic key is the weak point in an electronic access control system, it’s time to consider going keyless, because it means your system isn’t reliable.  
 
Reliability means that key management is always available. 

In order to deliver a truly reliable keyless access control system, providers must invest in modern, high-reliability, self-healing, self-monitoring cloud server architectures.  

When an access management service relies on one computer, (whether it’s on-premises or cloud-based), this system does not deliver high-reliability. Hardware faults inevitably happen to all hardware at one point or another. Reliability is all about having redundancy and monitoring to prevent a single failure from taking out a system. Reliability is all about enabling 9,999 successful accesses out of 10,000 attempts, and a >99.9% uptime on admin service (which are, coincidentally, Teleporte’s most recent stats). 

The Consequences of Unreliable Systems

Key management system reliability is more important than it may sound at first pass. If it’s just a question of the admin dashboard at the NOC being unavailable on rare occasions for a time, this is easy to trivialize. But most access control systems are integrated into workflow automations. Having the access control automations stop can bring an entire operation to a halt. 

And don’t underestimate the impact that unreliable systems have on the people that use them. To realize the many benefits of keyless access control, the system must be used. People will not embrace a system that makes their jobs more difficult. Much in the same way that people resist corporate software that doesn’t meet their needs, and compensate with shadow IT, your employees will find a way around a system that they can’t count on. The best way to ensure adoption of a keyless access control solution is to provide a reliable system that helps people do their jobs, instead of hindering it.  

We’ve worked with a number of organizations to help maximize adoption of reliable keyless solutions, and we’ve come up with a pretty great list of dos and don’ts. If you’d like to learn more about whether Teleporte is right for you, get in touch