3. 5G brings more critical locking points that need to be secured
Another development is that new 5G mobile networks will be changing the landscape of infrastructure and the items that need to be secured. International Data Corporation (IDC) has forecast that the worldwide 5G network infrastructure market will rocket from $528 million in 2018 to $26 billion in 2022.
The range of 5G radio waves is lower than of earlier generations, so they need more signal to cover the service area. Therefore, the new technology requires both new kinds of cell sites and also more sites to cover the service area.
But 5G technology is changing the markets in many verticals, not only within telecom. 5G will boost a lot of technologies, connecting more and more devices. In 2025, energy and utilities are forecast to make up about 15.7 percent of the global 5G infrastructure market, a survey by BIS Research shows. This means there will be more critical locking points to be covered and secured.
5G will also bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to the next level. In Telecoms.com’s 2019 Annual Industry Survey Report, 81 percent of 540 global telecommunication professionals believed that after home automation, smart cities is the IoT market with the greatest opportunities for them. The next most potential market was utilities with 62 percent.
To sum up, the owners of infrastructure will need more flexibility to grant access to their ever-increasing number of stakeholders that need access to their numerous sites.
4. Increasing site sharing complicates access management
A clear trend in telecom is the so-called infrastructure or site sharing. Government regulators in many markets encourage or demand network operators to share their sites and collaborate with other operators. This means there is a multitude of people that need to access not only the main gates to the shared sites, but also separate assets owned by various operators inside the shared sites. However, as the telecom operators are not owning but renting the space in infrastructure environments, site access is controlled by a third party. This makes access management more complex.
In these cases, access management based only on traditional mechanical keys can be difficult. Instead, locking solutions without fully digital keys used with a mobile app, such as ABLOY® BEAT, allow many operators at the same site to conveniently grant access to their respective technical maintenance people and field service engineers. Technical teams can be proactively granted access in order to perform their work tasks. Alternatively, users themselves can ask for access rights by raising tickets in a request management system.
A benefit with the BEAT access platform is that it can be integrated with other existing workflow solutions in use. This way, you will be able to conveniently allow access to your critical sites only when needed.
Another advantage with BEAT’s integrability with other workflow solutions is that it will help businesses to automatically notice anomalies in their security workflow. Telecom companies today have less time to worry about what happens on the infrastructure sites. They do not have the time to check all audit trails or event logs for exceptions. Instead, if a lock that is integrated into the system has not been re-secured, the network operations centre (NOC) would automatically see the latest status.
5. Don’t exclude any security solution providers from the ecosystem
There are some pitfalls that you can avoid when you are thinking about improving the safety of your telecommunications infrastructure. Your security system should be all-inclusive, allowing a full range of products. Having various providers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in the same room makes your security stronger.
Telecom companies often choose to work only with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), but these may be unable to offer the advantages that the latest digital locks without physical keys bring, for instance. The operator can buy a security product, but will the solution comply to all local or international approvals and standards what comes to, say, encryption or Bluetooth broadcasting capabilities? Will there be local support available in the market? And so forth.
By using many brands, the telecom company will not have to compromise on hardware capabilities but will have better chances to keep both its security compliance and its security level up to date.
To conclude, you should not lock yourself by buying only what you need today but think about what you will be needing in the future as well. So, work with your providers and OEMs jointly to come up with a solution that is relevant for you – to secure everything from the sites’ main gates and shelter doors to power generators and fuel tanks.
6. Instead of throwing out all your legacy security technologies, integrate them with new ones
One telecom company we recently talked to said they will discard all their current security systems when updating their network into the 5G era. What they did not know, was that new, digital locking solutions talk to earlier locking platforms.
Our new keyless ABLOY BEAT, for example, can be integrated to most existing security solutions in use. It works in perfect unison with other solutions in our ABLOY digital portfolio, also including electromechanical (PROTEC2 CLIQ) and mechanical (ABLOY® PROTEC2) options. All these three solutions can be managed with the same visual ABLOY® OS interface.
In other words, you don’t have to move everything into digital at once but have a hybrid security ecosystem instead. In shared sites a hybrid system that combines mechanical, electromechanical and digital options will be an attractive option for many telecom companies.
The solution we offer to tackle the above-mentioned challenges is our new ABLOY BEAT that consists of a mobile app with a digital key, a Super Weather Proof Bluetooth® padlock and the visual ABLOY OS user interface. All keys, locks and access rights are managed with ABLOY OS.