Why Go Keyless?

The challenges associated with lost and stolen physical keys are often top of mind when security teams start thinking about keyless options. However, there are many more benefits to consider if you’re thinking about going keyless.  

Keyless padlock on telecom MNO towerco gate

What do we mean when we say “keyless access control”?  

Obviously, keyless access control solutions don’t require traditional metal keys. But people often refer to access control systems that require a card or fob as “keyless”. While this type of access control solution is becoming more popular, when we say “keyless”, we mean that the solution doesn’t require any physical thing to control access rights: no keys, no access cards, and no fobs. The keys are virtual; digital tokens are stored in mobile devices and automatically transmitted over the air. 

The benefits of going keyless 

Control 

Digital keys allow you to control not only who has access to your assets and infrastructure, but when. Concerns about bad actors getting their hands on master keys are alleviated, and there are none of the headaches associated with retrieving keys from departing staff. Virtual keys pair access with identity, so you know exactly who is accessing your sites.  

Security

Securing your assets is important to protect your assets, but it is equally important for the cybersecurity of your network. A keyless access control solution designed with security at the forefront is an order of magnitude more secure than traditional locks and keys. Virtual keys are much harder to duplicate than mechanical keys, and can’t be lost, stolen, or misplaced. And because digital keys are matched to a specific user, people tend to behave better when they know their name is attached to an access event.  

Scalability 

With explosive growth in some sectors, and unprecedented circumstances related to the recent pandemic in others, no one knows what their business will look like one, three, or five years from now. Keyless access control allows you choose whether you want to start with a few test sites or go for your whole network, and then effortlessly scale access with your business. Whether you’re looking to scale with acquisition of assets or employees, or adding more, or more remote sites, to your portfolio, digital keys provide scalability without exponentially compounding operational expenses. Virtual keys future-proof your access control strategy. 

Operational Insights 

Virtual keys, backed by a cloud infrastructure, provide insights into operational processes across your assets and organization. These insights can help refine strategies from everything to resource planning to reconciling billing with contractors. It’s often challenging for operations teams to understand the actual processes being undertaken at remote or satellite sites. Access logs and audit trials provide the intelligence needed to make better business decisions and understand process gaps.   

Compliance 

Keyless access control goes beyond securing your sites and assets. Regulated industries require identity management and the burden of proof falls on organizations to prove regulatory compliance to governing bodies. Keyless access control, backed by a robust cloud solution, allows organizations to create defensible audit trails, safeguard regulated assets and processes, and assure compliance with industry requirements. We envision a world where the access control strategy drives innovation in the areas of regulatory and safety compliance. 

The benefits of cloud 

Most of the benefits of a truly keyless solution are found in the integration with cloud technology. A good cloud implementation makes customer adoption easy.  With a cloud solution, there are no costly servers to install or maintain on-site. The cloud infrastructure manages everything from issuing and revoking keys to the capture and storage of data related to the access control solution.  
 
As with any cloud solution, you need to make sure that your data is protected and appropriately encrypted. The right partner for your keyless access control solution will put security at the forefront of their platform, and ensure that the software is kept up to date to comply with evolving security standards. 

The benefits of mobile access 

Issuing virtual keys to mobile devices ensures that keys get to the people who need them, when they need them, and for however long they need them. Whether you’re issuing a key to a long-standing employee or a service contractor, to a site in the city, or 500 miles away in the middle of nowhere, the experience is the same. 

Sera4’s keyless solution is powered by Teleporte, a proprietary app which uses multiple methods of authentication to ensure that identity and permissions are verified. These authentication methods provide a more secure, compliant access control solution than traditional locks and keys, and Teleporte is also able to capture attempted accesses, not just successful opens.  

No network? No problem. Teleporte isn’t dependent on live network access. It’s important that users be able to access sites and infrastructure, no matter how remotely located, so the app doesn’t require internet access to open a lock.  

Moving from a point solution to a strategic initiative 

With advancements in keyless technology, and the growth of cloud infrastructure, access control is now considered an integral part of the overall security strategy. Keyless solutions allow the creation of holistic, cohesive access control systems, where the access mechanisms integrate with each other, as well as with existing systems and applications. 

Sera4 provides all the convenience and benefits of a keyless solution without sacrificing security or reliability. Our solutions are purpose-built to provide secure, scalable, and reliable access control across all of your assets and sites, from cabinets and cages to outdoor enclosures. Our hardware is built to withstand the harshest environments, and our software is elegantly designed to manage identity, generate audit trails, prove compliance, and improve operational efficiency.  

While we don’t envision a world without mechanical keys, keyless solutions provide flexibility, scalability, and customization that just isn’t possible with traditional locks and keys. Different industries and sites face different security and access control challenges, whether due to number of access points, number of users, or the remoteness of a site. Cloud-based access control systems can be configured to meet any need.  

To learn more about Sera4 keyless access control solutions, book a demo with our team. 

Powered locks: your key to compliance

We’ve written before about the benefits of keyless access control. Traditional keys create a number of challenges for organizations, from the logistics of getting physical keys to the people who need them, to inherent security flaws, such as unauthorized key use, lost keys, and anonymous access. 

For organizations in regulated industries, these problems are amplified under the scrutiny of regulating bodies. When an organization has compliance requirements, whether due to safety concerns or the nature of what’s being secured, access control systems need to provide another layer of identity assurance. In case of an infraction, suspected or actual, it’s critical that organizations be able to provide a reliable, accurate, and defensible story of who accessed what assets, and when.  

Keyless access control systems are the best way to accomplish this, but not all keyless solutions are created equal. While there are a number of robust keyless solutions, not all provide the features required to maintain compliance and defensibility. Keyless access control solutions fall into two primary categories: bring your own power (BYOP) and embedded power. 

Powered lock adapter

BYOP keyless locks 

Keyless solutions without an embedded power source use energy harvesting techniques, such as Near-Field Communication (NFC), on a mobile device to open the lock. As the power used to open the lock is transferred from the mobile device to the lock, this type of lock is positioned as an environmentally-friendly, low-maintenance solution. 

However, keyless access control solutions without a continuous power source not only cripple some of the key compliance features, but create a security risk for your critical infrastructure. 

Locks without a permanent power source don’t allow for a real-time clock, creating an opportunity for time-based attacks, where hackers attempt to modify keys or access logs by manipulating the time on a mobile device.  

Lack of permanent power also limits the ability to open a lock without a mobile device if needed, such as when the device is out of power or out of coverage, or when end users simply refuse to be tracked by their phones.  

The technology that facilitates the opening, NFC, also isn’t universal. Not all mobile devices are NFC-enabled, and users may find themselves in the inconvenient position of not being able to open a lock. In any case where the manufacturer requires a BYOP approach every time a user goes to open the lock, there is a risk of not being able to access the asset. BYOP is perfectly convenient until it fails, in which case it fails very hard and creates a host of headaches for users and downstream stakeholders. 

While manufacturers of battery-free locks often claim that their solutions are maintenance-free, since batteries don’t need to be replaced, the costs of replacing batteries occasionally is far outweighed by the benefits that come with powered solutions. 

Keyless locks with embedded power 

Like other keyless locks, locks with a continuous power source provide a smooth experience for both administrators and users. Digital keys can be issued, and revoked as needed, to anyone with a mobile device. The challenges that come with mechanical keys are greatly reduced, and the security concerns about unauthorized use or loss of keys are eliminated. 

Moreover, keyless locks with a continuous power source have the ability to store access events, which provide key operational insights and automated audit trails. The battery or wired power source in locks and controllers, not only tracks and stores opens, but also unexpected events and unauthorized access attempts.  

Critics of powered locks will often point to the total cost of ownership (TCO) and additional effort required to maintain these locks, but it’s a weak position. For example, Sera4 padlocks have a low-power design that allow thousands of opens on a single battery. As for additional maintenance visits, the typical battery life of a Sera4 padlock is five years, and it’s trivial to schedule battery replacement or restocking of a battery depot during scheduled asset maintenance. Sera4’s lock controllers are wired to power and maintain their own backup power, so these systems are as carefree as energy-harvesting systems, with no downsides. 

A constant power source also allows for an alternative method to open a lock, which we call Failsafe Unlock. Our padlocks include a micro-USB port to power the lock, if needed, via a portable battery, AC adaptor, or laptop. 

While any keyless solution is better than a mechanical lock for ensuring and tracking compliance, a continuous power source provides the features that organizations need to provide defensibility around their policies, actions, and activities.  

Sera4 works with leading organizations in regulated industries such as telecom and utilities, and we’d love to chat with you about how our armored hardware and proprietary software, Teleporte, can help you be more compliant with your industry’s requirements. To see our solutions in action, book a demo or contact our team

When Subscription Models Make Sense

We encourage anyone buying a product or service to think critically about why it may be sold by subscription. In some cases, the subscription is tied to consumables. In other cases, the subscription is tied to access to content (like streaming services). Sometimes, it’s just a supplier who did the financial calculus and forces it for the shareholder returns.  

subscription screen on tablet - access control

In other cases, such as with our cloud-enabled access control software platform Teleporte, it’s tied to constant updates to keep up with phone models, security updates, and real-time support for your operational peace of mind. We continue to add value over the lifetime of the subscription, and our customers choose us over other solutions because of this added value. 

We believe that our Teleporte subscriptions are valuable for the advanced features that are possible with keyless systems. We also believe that there is far more value for our customers in these systems than the price of the subscription. For customers who agree with this, they will continue with Teleporte Enterprise or Standard.  

For customers who don’t see the value, or customers who simply have budgets cut (like many of our municipal customers did at the start of the pandemic), then we have Teleporte Basic. It’s free, and allows the locks to maintain basic keyless access functionality, but they otherwise behave like mechanical locks, with no reporting and no advanced features. It’s our way of providing assurance that we’re never going to hold you (or your property) hostage. 

We sell new hardware with a minimum one-year Teleporte Enterprise or Standard subscription. We want our customers to have some time with a subscription package to experience the value to their application and organization, and then make an informed decision whether to renew. We also offer packages for customers who prefer to just pay once, up-front.  

Selling a one-time purchase can be easy. Keeping loyal customers, who renew their subscriptions, requires a different level of service, reliability, and product quality. We want our customers to love, value, and renew their Teleporte subscriptions, and we do the work to keep them happy.  

We see good reasons for some offerings to be structured as subscriptions. Ultimately, the decision on whether a subscription is a good value and a smart buy is up to the customer. In our view, it’s really important that the structure and costs of an offering is clearly explained in advance, so that the customer can make an informed decision.  

If you’d like to learn more about Teleporte and our access control hardware solutions, book a demo at https://www.sera4.com/demo/

Sera4 IoT Devices: Designed With Security in Mind

We continue to see security threats affecting IoT devices. In this recent Ars Technica article, they share that a lot of these devices are exposed because they are built with old TCP/IP network stacks that use old security paradigms. That’s one of the risks in using open-source code.  And the risks are really serious – opening back-doors in otherwise secure networks for all sorts of nefarious activity. 

We want to remind people that such attacks aren’t possible on Teleporte-controlled locks. 

  • No TCP/IP stack – we aren’t vulnerable to this specific attack because we don’t use the Internet Protocol 
  • No open-source code – we have designed and implemented ALL embedded code in-house (Canada) 
  • No connectivity to customer networks – there’s no way to open a back door into your network when our devices aren’t even on the network. 

You can continue to rely on Teleporte‘s security because, from the start, we’ve incorporated a security-first approach. While IoT risks in the world are some of the most serious and difficult ones, they don’t have to be if the systems are designed with security in mind. 
 
Trust in us, as security is our #1 focus, and we’ll continue to deliver secure solutions to the market. 

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. 
 

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

Keyless Access Control: Facts and Friction

Keyless access control is changing the way we protect and grant access to critical infrastructure and remote sites. While the technology isn’t new—key cards and touch pads have been around for a while—it has evolved to bring benefits far beyond not needing to carry keys.

hand holding phone with keyless access control sera4 teleporte

Working with customers across industries and across the globe, we’ve identified the top benefits of implementing a keyless access control solution

Cost savings

Keying and re-keying locks is expensive, and those costs can add up if re-keying takes place regularly due to numerous sites, high staff turnover, and/or lost keys. There’s also the resource cost and overhead of keeping track of physical keys. Most organizations have better things to do with their time and money, and should consider the savings they can realize with a keyless solution.

Identity control

Even with the best policies, procedures, and oversight, it’s hard to guarantee that your mechanical keys stay in the appropriate hands. Keyless access control solutions provide a link between access and identity, and it’s easy to grant and revoke access to specific individuals as needed.

Our solutions create an automated access log, so administrators can reliably identify who accessed which locks, and when.

Convenience

There’s no doubt that keyless access control solutions are more convenient than traditional mechanical keys. People who need to open doors, cabinets, gates, and other access points can do so without carrying around heavy key rings; and administrators can issue electronic keys, in real-time, to anyone who needs them, wherever they are.

Operational insights

Automated access logs allow you to gain key insights into processes and operations within your business. Through these logs, you can understand how long processes take, identify discrepancies between work completed and billing, and schedule and resource jobs and projects appropriately.

This all sounds great; where does the friction come in?

Despite the significant benefits of implementing keyless access control, not everyone will be on board right away. Moving from mechanical locks to keyless, electronic locks is a big shift, and will likely raise concerns and create friction with a few of the stakeholders in your access control strategy.

Your go-to locksmith

To your locksmith, implementing locks that don’t require keys and rekeying may be bad for business. Their business, not yours.

However, we’ve worked with a number of locksmiths who are eager to evolve with the times and round out their offering with a modern, keyless solution. Your local locksmith might be more of an ally than you think!

Your operations team (or whoever controls the keys)

As mentioned above, keeping track of mechanical keys requires a lot of oversight—and a lot of human resources. Introducing a keyless solution increases operational efficiencies, and sometimes those efficiencies are found by reducing staff and/or consolidating responsibilities. When discussing a keyless proposal with your operations team, carefully consider what this means for their roles and responsibilities, and identify areas where they can now refocus their energies and freed up time. Your

Manager/Director of Security

Introducing a keyless solution may create friction with your security team, especially if they’ve been around for a while and have gotten comfortable with traditional access control solutions. Inertia and the status quo can be a formidable opponent when considering a new solution. Even if the team is open to a keyless option, existing access points may require that they manage a hybrid solution, which isn’t ideal for either the security team or for the end users.

If your team members are agile in their thinking, they can see how they can be more effective and valuable in their job with a tool like Teleporte. If they have spent decades honing habits and processes that make them effective with lock and key infrastructure, then keyless solutions may be perceived as a threat. It’s understandable that someone might be concerned about being replaced with automation. However, it’s likely that businesses will continue to modernize and team members can either resist the change or embrace it as a new opportunity to future-proof their skills.

Technicians, site visitors, and end users

You may run into friction with people who object to installing an app on their own phones for work purposes. While this may not apply when people are given work phones or an expense credit for the phone bill, your end users will sometimes be hesitant to being tracked. However reasonable it is for companies to require reliable identification for access control, some people like their anonymity and don’t want to be identified, even if they are not doing anything wrong.

Thieves

As an example, millions of dollars’ worth of copper cables are stolen each year in Latin America, and someone is profiting. Whether it’s petty thieves selling scrap metal or looking to insulate their electricity supply against unreliable utilities, or organized crime, keyless access threatens the value that they have come to enjoy.

When it comes to keyless access control, the benefits and efficiencies gained far outweigh the potential friction with internal and external stakeholders. We’ve worked with a number of organizations to help maximize adoption of keyless solutions. If you’d like to learn more about whether Teleporte is right for you, get in touch.

Why Tower Companies and Mobile Network Operators Should Share Keyless Access Systems

A lot of value is unlocked (no pun intended!), for both the landlord (towerco) and tenant (MNO) when they share a system, not only from a security perspective, but from an operational efficiency perspective as well.

Keyless padlock on telecom MNO towerco gate

Shared Systems = Better Security

Imagine that every time you left the house, you put a lock on the refrigerator, but left the front door open. That wouldn’t make sense; someone could break the lock in the privacy of the house, or even steal the whole fridge, without much effort. But it’s analogous to what often happens when MNOs and towercos don’t share security systems or standards. MNOs put so much effort and stringency into the security of their networks, and often less so into the security of physical sites; especially sites that they don’t own or control. It’s critical for cybersecurity that MNOs have reliable control of who accesses network elements behind firewall protection. With physical keys, it’s hard to keep track of them, and therefore hard to ensure that bad actors can’t wreak havoc on the network. In markets where theft and vandalism are common, MNOs are at risk for major disruption if the security of the site is breached. In our opinion, MNOs should not accept a security standard from a towerco that is any less than their own asset security. The risk is too high. Our experience shows that, not only does sharing a keyless system on both the towerco and MNO assets eliminate the liability of physical keys and the potential for bad actors to get their hands on them, it also reduces petty theft and inside jobs on site. Identified people tend to behave themselves, and that’s what we’re really selling: identity. Sera4 provides a reliable mechanism for identifying which individuals are accessing which site, and when.

Work Better Together

In addition to reduced vandalism and theft, a shared wireless access control system improves operational efficiencies.

Reduce access control overhead
Sera4’s Teleporte platform allows administrators to automate key issuance based on work orders, whether from the towerco or the MNO. This automation reduces the overhead that comes with maintaining an access control system, and ensures that only specified individuals are gaining access when required.

Issue keys for multiple assets at once
On a shared system, administrators can issue keys for multiple assets at once, whether owned by the towerco or the MNO. Separate keys for the gate and the panel? No problem!

Remove logistical challenges of physical keys
With some towercos managing 200,000+ sites, it’s a logistical nightmare to get physical keys to contractors/staff who need them, when they need them. These challenges are eliminated with wireless keys, allowing towercos to serve their tenants faster, thereby serving the MNOs customers faster.

Improve end-user experience
End users only have to learn one system, and only need one app to not only access the site, but the assets within, like active equipment cabinets or panels.

Gain insights into on-site processes
Teleporte provides an on-site audit trail of when locks were opened and closed, allowing operations teams to optimize SOPs, manage resources appropriately, and identify when processes aren’t being followed.

We offer special packages for MNOs and towercos looking to implement a shared wireless access control system. Visit us at https://www.sera4.com/demo/ to learn more about how we can help you work better together.

When Wireless Infrastructure Changes Hands

With the rollout of 5G networks, wireless infrastructure assets, such as cellular towers, are becoming one of the most valuable real estate investments. With 300,000+ towers in the US and companies such as UnitiAT&T, and Phoenix Tower entering large scale tower deals over the last 18 months, it prompts a natural question: what does buying and selling physical wireless infrastructure mean for security? 

A Short History Lesson 

20 years ago, when the mobile network industry was exploding, wireless telecom operators bought up a lot of real estate to build towers to support their networks. These real estate holdings created a bunch of assets and liabilities, independent of the primary wireless network business. Management came up with a grand idea: sell off the assets and lease them back to run their networks. And the towerco was born. 

At the same time, smart entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to buy up land, erect a tower, and enter into lucrative contracts with carriers to host their antennas and equipment.  

Where Keyless Access Control Comes In 

Telecom towers are assets, being bought and sold all the time. The average tower transaction ranges from 1 to 50,000 towers. Sellers are looking to maximize the value of their portfolio for sale; buyers are looking to buy something that integrates into their existing operations, as seamlessly as possible, even at scale.  

Buyers of telecom assets have the same concerns as buyers of a new home. They wonder if whether they have keys for all the locks, and whether they all the keys have been returned or if there are still some floating around out there. Home buyers often solve this by changing the locks. Now, imagine you’re buying many houses at once and they’re spread across the countryside, sometimes without road access. Changing the locks is expensive and time-consuming, and creates a liability for the new buyer. A keyless access control solution, like Sera4’s padlocks and Teleporte platform, can help alleviate these challenges for both buyers and sellers. 

For sellers, including a wireless access control system in the sale increases the value of the portfolio because the locks can be sold as assets, along with the towers. Buyers are often willing to pay a premium because they trust that there aren’t any loose keys post-acquisition, and they’re acquiring a more efficient operation, complete with insights to help them optimize their processes.  

The value of assets beyond the towers themselves isn’t traditionally part of the consideration process in these transactions, but it should be. If you’d like to learn more about how Sera4 is helping telecom, and other industries, safeguard their physical infrastructure assets, book a demo at https://www.sera4.com/demo/.

We sell identity (not just access control)

Security. Reliability. Scalability. These are all things that we’re proud to provide to our customers, and that our customers have come to rely on. One thing we don’t talk about enough is identity. We have a suite of hardware and software solutions to help utilities, telecom, oil & gas, and other industries provide access control to their assets and critical infrastructure. But that’s not really what we’re selling. We’re selling identity intelligence, and we think it’s the most important thing we do.

The basics of identity intelligence are easy to understand: you want to know who’s accessing your assets, and when. That’s why our customers choose Sera4 over other types of access control solutions—in addition to high-quality wireless padlocks that eliminate the inherent challenges of traditional keys, Sera4 provides insights into which individuals are accessing your critical infrastructure, when they’re accessing it, and how long they’re staying.

Hand holding phone showing Sera4 access control app

These types of insights are useful for three reasons. First, and most simply, people behave better when they know they are being identified. We’ve found that vandalism on a telecom site is reduced by 60-80% when a person is tagged on site, and is held accountable for what happens while they’re there. Even when you have no bad actors in your organization or contractor network, that level of accountability helps ensure that individuals clean up and lock up the way they’re expected to.

Second, keyless locks provide automatic, real-time audit trails, eliminating the need for manual logs that are frequently subject to human error. For businesses that require audit trails for their own security or for certifications like ISO 9001, keyless locks provide much easier collection of these activity logs.

And third, and maybe most interestingly, is that once you know who is accessing controlled assets when, and how long they’re staying, you can learn a lot about processes in your organization, and how to optimize them and make them more efficient. This is why we released Work Sessions; using Teleporte, our customers can understand the flow of on site work, and gain insight into how long specific components of a process take.

Screenshot of Sera4 access control dashboard with map and audit log

Regularly analyzing audit trails and entry/exit data allows you to create a baseline for how long specific jobs take, and use that information to make better decisions. For example, these insights can help you define scope of work and billing with contractors. They can help you reconcile invoices for work performed—in fact, one of our customers is considering adding opening and closing the Sera4 lock to the SOP for all contractors, so he can analyze the data and find areas for improvement. The insights from Teleporte can also help you determine the capacity of and forecast changes for your workforce.

Our solutions allow our customers to manage identity across any number of sites, in any location, at scale. Whether you need 10 locks and keys, or 10,000, we provide a complete feature set and predictable, transparent pricing. If you’d like to see our solution in action, or learn more about how our customers are using Sera4 to safeguard their most critical assets, contact us.