7 Ways to Protect Your Telecom Enclosure

Telecommunications and networking companies spend a lot of time and money to build out their networks with strategically placed enclosures loaded with critical connection equipment.

With all that investment, wouldn’t it make sense to take precautions to help protect that equipment, especially in those cabinets that are out of busy areas?

Of course, an organization can go with something unique, like a drawbridge over a piranha-filled moat, ravenous guard dogs or hidden lasers.

But for those who don’t shop at James Bond Villains ‘R’ Us, here are some simple ways organizations can take a proactive approach to protecting their valuable shelters/cabinets and the equipment inside.

Locks

Locks may be one of the easiest and most cost-effective measures for preventing unwanted entry into the enclosure.

Organizations have quite a few choices when it comes to locks, too.

Depending on the manufacturer and the product being offered, the enclosure might come factory-equipped with locks built into the door/latching mechanism. The locks may be keyed, they may require a special tool like a hex key or they could have a cipher input. Whichever is the case, the enclosure already has the functioning start of a security system.

If a lock is not part of the standard enclosure package, an organization can easily purchase padlocks to put on their enclosures. Before investing in a pile of padlocks, though, the telecom organization should talk to the enclosure OEM to determine what style will work best–some latch configurations will require a longer-shanked padlock to work properly.

Whether the lock is standard equipment or added on later, telecom organizations should think carefully about how they’re going to ensure the safety of their equipment with all those keys floating around. If the lock is a cipher or combination lock, it will help, but someone will still need to redo the combination if an employee leaves the company.

RFID System

An RFID system is a great way to keep cabinets locked without having to worry about keys or combinations falling into the wrong hands.

Standing for radio-frequency identification, RFID uses electromagnetic fields to identify tags, e.g., personnel badges, and unlock the doors of a cabinet.

RFID is especially beneficial because not only does it eliminate the need to keep track of keys or combinations, it also logs everyone who uses the system to access a site. This provides great oversight of site activity in regard to company employees and independent contractors. With contractors, RFID offers another benefit in that the organization can provide the contractor a badge that will only work at a site for a limited time, as designated by the organization. When the time runs out, the company can cancel access for that badge without having to redo any locks at the site. Time saved is money saved! The same benefit would apply when an employee leaves the company.

Alarms

Locks are great, but how can an organization know if someone forces past the lock at a remote site?

With an alarm system in place, the organization can know of an intruder immediately.

Like RFID systems, alarms aren’t standard features, but enclosure manufacturers can provision for them by designing and building in magnetic or mechanical door alarm contacts. Then, the telecom organization will need to set up the system to alert key team members in the instance of a break-in.

Equipment Monitoring

While not necessarily billed as a security feature, equipment monitoring solutions can help telecom organizations keep a figurative eye on what’s happening at an enclosure site.

Alarms alert the organization to someone messing with the doors, and equipment monitoring solutions can alert the organization to someone messing with the interior or exterior equipment, including the HVAC system.

Equipment monitoring solutions typically keep track of the equipment temperatures and/or run cycles. If something goes awry, e.g., the HVAC system is damaged and no longer running or certain equipment inside goes offline, the monitoring system can send an alert. While not inherently a security feature, it’s a great way for organizations to know even more about what’s going on with their enclosures.

Exterior Lighting/Cameras

Good lighting and/or camera surveillance is an excellent way of deterring would-be vandals or burglars.

Again, the enclosure OEM can help by designing and building in provisions for exterior lights and cameras. Then, the telecom organization just has to install their own equipment, and they won’t even have to drill into the cabinet!

If the telecom company knows where their cabinet/shelter is going and how it’ll be set up, they can sometimes order the lighting with the cabinet. If that’s possible, they might have to choose between photocell-controlled dusk-to-dawn lighting or motion sensor-controlled lighting. At American Products, we see more customers choose the dusk-to-dawn lighting choice. Either type, though, could cause potential criminals to think before they act.

Fencing

Fencing is another great way to enhance site security. Obviously, this will all depend on the telecom organization, not the enclosure OEM.

Except for where surrounding community regulations require something different due to area aesthetics, chain link fencing is the most-common type of fence. It offers great at-a-glance visibility of the site, so intruders don’t have anywhere to hide if they get inside. Plus, it’s extremely durable.

Organizations can enhance the effectiveness of the fencing even further by topping it with barbed/razor wire to prevent people scaling the fence.

Bollards

Bollards are short, vertical posts that telecom organizations sometimes install around a cell site. They won’t stop someone from walking up to the enclosure, but if they’re properly installed, they should stop a vehicle from hitting the enclosure. Organizations who opt for bollards should make sure the base is sunk/anchored correctly to ensure the post will stand up to heavy hits.

 

At American Products, our team works with telecommunications and networking companies to learn about their needs and wants, and then design cabinets and shelters that satisfy them. We can provision for a variety of security needs. Contact the American Products specialists at 417.323.6312 now to learn more.