So much of modern life—from boiling a kettle to national security—relies on the safety of our critical infrastructure. If electricity supply is interrupted, business and the economy grind to a halt. Without safe, uncontaminated drinking water, we cannot cook food or keep clean.
And that infrastructure is increasingly interdependent. A single failure can set off a cascade of consequences. Consider the effects of a major electricity outage on our water supply. Pumps would be inoperable, interrupting the supply of fresh water as well as our ability to process waste; a domino effect.
Potential threats to critical infrastructure are many and varied, from intentional water contamination to the theft of valuable equipment from electricity generation or distribution sites. To a utility company, the cost of shutdowns can be huge and the damage to the reputation of the business can impact on stakeholder value and confidence.
To complicate the security picture, sites associated with utilities tend to be dispersed and remote. They rely on a vast array of contractors and service teams to keep them running. Physical security at these sites is especially difficult, yet equally crucial. Utilities need to guard against sabotage, theft and trespass, while guaranteeing access to those who need it—at any time of day or night, and often at short notice.
How can public utilities manage these risks effectively?
CLIQ® for a solution
Increasingly, utilities across Europe are turning to CLIQ® to protect their premises.
CLIQ® is a mechatronic locking solution that combines the highest standards of electronic and mechanical security. The CLIQ® range comprises keys, cylinders and padlocks, software and key programing devices.
Each CLIQ® key is programmable by a system administrator to open only the locks for which its holder has authorization. Keys have replaceable batteries that power the key, and this energises the cylinder when inserted. Communication between cylinder and key is encrypted to ensure a high level of security. Because locks are wireless, installation time is minimal; onsite maintenance requirements likewise.
“CLIQ® is a tried-and-tested technology with many thousands of installations around the globe,” says Kevin Hoare, CLIQ® Business Development Director at ASSA ABLOY EMEA. “It has already proven its high-level security capabilities in the field, and is very cost effective compared to wired access control solutions.”
The CLIQ® system is fully scalable. It can be configured to suit smaller installations or mega locking solutions with 50,000-plus locking points spread over a wide geographic area. CLIQ® secures facilities as diverse as a remote reservoir in Wales, power stations in Finland, and district heating plants in Kiel.
What makes CLIQ® so well suited to securing these infrastructure sites?
CLIQ® to upgrade security
CLIQ® has several advantages over old-fashioned locks. Any CLIQ® key can be immediately de-authorized if it goes missing, eliminating the risks associated with lost keys that can degrade the security of traditional mechanical locking solutions. In the words of Mats Fagerström, chief security officer at CLIQ® customer Helsingin Energia: “If someone goes out on a Saturday night and loses the key, it is not a risk to us anymore.”
Administrators can tailor the access rights of every key, so that it opens certain locks in a facility, but not others, or it only grants access rights at certain times. This allows security managers to introduce fine-grained permissions for employees, service crews and contractors.
For Annica Strandberg, Security Manager at Eskilstuna Energi och Miljö—another CLIQ® customer—this flexibility is vital: “Programmable keys allow us to give access to certain doors, to certain people and at a certain time.” Where previously some employees had to carry an enormous bunch of keys for their day-to-day work, one single CLIQ® key has both lightened their load and upgraded company security.
On the access control software side, the CLIQ® Web Manager allows administrators to program, amend or delete keys remotely and instantly. It is straightforward for security managers to generate time-stamped audit trails for any lock or key, and trace access workflows. Remote programming devices enable users to update keys anywhere.
“CLIQ® locks and keys are also designed to withstand working in the harshest environments. They can be easily retrofitted to interior and exterior openings, with minimum disruption, and work across multiple types of enclosure,” says Kevin Hoare.
The CLIQ® range includes cylinders for doors, gates, windows, machine guards, equipment enclosures, elevators and many other internal and external structures, as well as cylinders for explosion-prone areas. Because there is no cabling required, nor the need to visit the cylinders to maintain batteries, installation in remote settings presents no problems.
CLIQ in action
The Llyn Brenig Reservoir supplies water to north-east Wales and north-west England. Managed by Welsh Water, the reservoir also attracts around 190,000 visitors each year, who use the site for outdoor activities—an added security challenge.
The site now has padlocks, cylinders and keys from the CLIQ® range. According to Nick Kite, Llyn Brenig’s site manager, CLIQ® is “a step up from ordinary locks. It gives us that extra flexibility and greater confidence.”
In what sense? “The greater functionality of CLIQ® is very important,” says Nick, “allowing us to change key access rights, download audit trails and remove missing keys as required.”
It’s a similar story at Helsingin Energia, one of Finland’s largest energy companies which meets about 90 percent of the heating needs of the capital, Helsinki. In 2013, most of the openings throughout the company were secured with CLIQ®—around 3,500 interior and exterior doors across 70 different locations ranging from power plants to warehouses. Helsingin has around 1,250 employees and 1,500 contractors, with ever-changing access requirements.
“When employees arrive in the morning, they update their access rights. The audit trail for the previous day is collected at the same time,” says Mats Fagerström. Such transparency is an essential CLIQ® ingredient.
Another utility that has made the switch to CLIQ® is Stadtwerke München, the largest municipal company in Germany, with over 7,500 employees. It supplies Munich and its surrounding area with electricity, gas, water, and district heating and cooling.
The Munich installation includes around 11,000 CLIQ® locking cylinders, fitted across 5,000 grid transformer stations. Users now carry a single, programmable key that admits them to only the sites and areas they need. With a couple of mouse clicks, security managers at Stadtwerke München can trace every interaction between a key and a lock, across multiple secure sites. According to Thomas Mitterreiter, Project Manager in the Provisions and Operations department at Stadtwerke München, “CLIQ® fully meets our requirements for a locking system.”
In northern Germany, where almost quarter-of-a-million people rely on Stadtwerke Kiel for electricity, gas, water and district heating supply, the company installed around 10,000 locking cylinders to secure multiple sites. For Stadtwerke Kiel, a secure locking system that would be resistant to extremes of temperature and other severe weather was essential. Many of its secured openings are outdoors.
“We live in a world of diverse threats to our critical infrastructure,” says Kevin Hoare. “Vandalism, theft and deliberate sabotage are ever-present dangers. Security managers can’t eliminate those risks. But with CLIQ® installed, locks become the strongest link in their security chain, not the weakest.”