Modern Cloud Solutions Make On-Premise Deployments Obsolete

In the old days, computer programs ran on a computer. This makes perfect sense in the era where the computer was a standalone machine. The first server applications are the same: they ran on a specific server – a computer in a server room somewhere that was a single point of failure. If there was a power outage, a network outage, a cyber-attack or a fire where that one server was, it was a major crisis. On-premise deployments follow this outdated paradigm.

Modern cloud services are different. Let’s take Teleporte Cloud as an example. We take advantage of the ubiquity of the Internet. We split all the small computing tasks that build the whole service into what are called microservices

Microservices

Microservices don’t live in just one place. They are distributed and self-healing and adapt to disruptions in network infrastructure. They also exist fairly independent of place: microservices are hosted across the globe and any one of a multitude of identical stateless microservices on the Teleporte network can service a request. It’s not just a routine running on one physical computer anymore. As a Canadian company we serve our clients in Tierra Del Fuego and Malawi with exactly the same high reliability we serve clients in New York. Technically speaking, we operate to a 2N+1 redundancy standard.

Modern network infrastructure also isn’t like it was a decade ago. There isn’t one point of failure or one cable that someone might haphazardly cut with a backhoe. Of course network damage happens from time to time, but with a distributed microservice architecture our users don’t notice as the system adapts around it.

Service Reliability

Proper cloud services design and network monitoring are critical components of a high-reliability solution. At Sera4 we do all the coding and quality assurance for Teleporte Cloud in-house. More importantly, we build our own monitoring tools that ensure network health and service availability. We monitor service availability with this tool, globally and 24/7. 

Sera4's internal network health monitoring tool
Part of Sera4’s internal live network health monitoring dashboard

Of course, a network administrator will need a general connection to the internet to work. Fortunately, these are often redundant with wired, wifi and cellular options to reach the internet. Like any good modern web interface today, we design our admin consoles to work on monitors found in network operations centers and equally on the small screens of our mobile phones. 

Reminder: Teleporte keys work and log activity as usual in case of a network outage.

Perhaps the last major concern is cybersecurity. Modern cloud solutions are definitely more secure (and certainly more carefree) than an on-premise solution. As new threats emerge, our systems update automatically to minimize risk. We keep everything updated to work with new phone models as well.  From DDOS avoidance to load-balancing, we design the solution to be fully resilient.

Of course, we’d love to show off how this can work for you and why you don’t have to worry about racking another server in order to get the best of keyless access control. Request a demo with us to take the next step.

Sera4 Security – Your locks are your locks

When we onboard a new customer, we set up a complete cloud environment for our customer. At Sera4, we can only access to data about your locks, your operations and your users if you explicitly grant us access (sometimes you may choose to do that if you request specific training or support from us. This level of security around user data in the cloud is an industry best practice and is not unique to Sera4. We call each customer’s cloud environment an Organization.

What happens to the locks and controllers on a Teleporte network often gets overlooked by our customers. It is all orchestrated by Sera4 in the background. Each Sera4 lock has firmware that we’ve been developing in-house for years. This firmware includes all the security protocols to reliably and securely communicate with the Teleporte Mobile Application. It also contains a unique digital certificate that we call the Organization Control Code (OCC).

Each active lock and controller has an OCC. This OCC is the same for all locks in an organization. It filters all commands from the Teleporte Mobile Application, so that any requests or instructions that do not come from a matching Organization are ignored. This way no other Teleporte customer can interact with your locks in any way. Only you control your locks. When combined with Teleporte’s off-network architecture, we believe this is the most secure way to secure your assets.

By default, the OCC is setup to be Sera4.  When locks and controllers get moved into a new organization, the OCC is automatically updated to reflect the ownership and control of the hardware. Thanks to the magic of Public Key Cryptography, virtual keys and commands from the Sera4 organization are subsequently ignored by the lock – the new organization is the ultimate master.

Most of our customers never know about the OCC. Sometimes our customers have to change the OCC on their locks. An example when this happens is when one telecom networks’ tower assets are sold to a tower company.  It’s easy within our software to issue the command to update an OCC, but the command needs to come from the users in the right organization. This requires this users to visit each lock to change the OCC. Notably, this can sometimes be inconvenient – but is required to keep your locks secure in the field. Teleporte doesn’t use any secret or master keys.

This month, we are introducing the option for OCC sharing – the ability for organizations to share their OCC with other organizations.  We will be providing the option to customers to give their Sera4 Authorized Integrator access to manage their locks with a second OCC. This means that locks/controllers can be moved between two (or more) organizations without the complication of updating the OCC first.  Changes to the OCC will occur on the next interaction with the lock and as always – command and control of your Sera4 locks happens seamlessly.

To learn more about the OCC sharing option, please reach out to [email protected].

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.