Managing a resource that is vital as well as sensitive requires commitment, professionalism, technical skills and a great deal of organisational capacity.
In complex settings, where a drop of water travels through kilometres of pipelines, pumping stations, tanks, treatment plants, then more kilometres of sewers and waste water treatment plants to complete de urban water cycle, controlling everything is challenging.
It is important to control water itself as well as who has access to it. That is how the Locken solution emerged, as an access system that can be adapted to different situations, from a remote water abstraction well to the director's office.
To learn about the vast relationship of Locken with the water sector, we talk with Jean-Marc Prevosteau, Country Manager of Locken Services (France).
Question: How many companies in the water sector manage access to their facilities with the Locken solution?
Answer: For eight years, the Locken solution has been recognised as a reliable and appropriate solution to control and ensure access security in the water sector. Currently, many consortia and large service providers in the water sector are our clients. Our solution controls access to sites that are scattered in vast areas, and allows filtering access to facilities such as wells, water abstractions and distribution systems, reservoirs, production plants or waste water treatment plants. This means an average of 45,000 accesses per month for the sector as a whole.
All national companies and service providers are called on to apply an access control and monitoring policy
Q: What specific characteristics of this sector make it different from the energy or telecommunications sectors?
A: The drinking water sector in France has smaller and more numerous sites than the energy or telecommunications sectors. The number of subcontractors is also smaller, although it is constantly growing, and the outdoor environment is more aggressive. Furthermore, often our solutions, in addition to opening the access doors to facilities, turn alarm systems on and off. Thanks to a broad range of key and cylinder models, the Locken solution perfectly meets the expectations of our clients in this business sector.
Q: In France the use of smart access systems is already common in this sector, while in Spain they are starting to be implemented. What is the reason for this delay?
A: Many of the private actors that work in the water sector in France also work in Spain, so I don't think the differences in the uptake of the Locken Solution between both countries have to do with ownership or direct management of water. Both France and Spain apply the same European regulations concerning Critical Infrastructure Protection, a set of rules and criteria that apply to the water sector too.
The key difference is that in France the SGDSN (Secrétariat Général de la Défense et de la Sécurité Nationale), equivalent to the Spanish National Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (Centro Nacional de Protección de las Infraestructuras Críticas or CNPIC) has further looked into critical infrastructure regulations. It has identified other sensitive facilities that come after the Vital Importance Points, but have a huge impact on implementing the national security strategy in terms of protection against malicious acts (terrorism, sabotage) and natural, technological and health risks.
The security culture imposed by the French Ministry of Interior, applicable to French water management companies and entities, can justify the progress of the water industry in France versus the current position of Spain.
The security culture imposed by the French Ministry of Interior can justify the progress of the water industry in France
Q: How do you see the the future of Locken in the water sector? What lies ahead?
A: The development of our solution in this business sector is changing. Given the strong government will and greater awareness of actors concerning potential security risks, all national companies and service operators are called on to apply an access control and monitoring policy. Our solution is highly qualified to meet those requirements. Thanks to new Bluetooth technology included in our electronic keys and since most staff have a smartphone, now it is possible to update their access permissions in real time, thereby guaranteeing a high level of security without installing a wired access control device (card reader and electronic lock).
With our software innovations we also facilitate for our clients the management of access requests from subcontractors. Through a web portal, and after prior authentication, it is possible to request the owner of the infrastructure to grant access. The Access Manager just has to validate the request with a single click, if all the requirements are met. Afterwards, the software automatically creates an access right and it can be downloaded onto the key through a smartphone or a fixed terminal to update access permissions.
Q: What do the companies that use Locken keys value the most?
A: The Locken solution is recognised for its user-friendliness and sturdy equipment. Our 15 years of experience with multi-site solutions, together with a specific methodology to manage projects, allows us to work alongside our clients at their own pace and according to their needs. The availability and closeness of our technical and commercial teams is particularly appreciated.