Case study

Acre cloud access control protects critical infrastructure in Canada’s capital

How Hydro Ottawa saved money, improved operational efficiency, and helped to secure the City of Ottawa with cloud-based access control.

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Access control


Access control


Delivery method



Critical infrastructure/utilities

About the client

Critical infrastructure owners are increasingly concerned with protecting their assets and maintaining service levels in an evolving threat landscape. From targeted attacks and theft to natural disasters, utility companies are enhancing their security to address the growing list of threats and meet increasingly stringent governmental requirements. And Hydro Ottawa is no different.

Hydro Ottawa has invested significantly in security programs to protect its operations buildings, warehouses, control centers, data centers, and transformer substations. But after realizing that its on-premises access control system was no longer fit for purpose, the company’s security team decided to upgrade to a cloud-based system.

The team had several goals and ‘must-have’ criteria in mind that the new system would need to satisfy:

  • Seamless enterprise resource planning (ERP) and video management system (VMS) integration
  • Mobile cloud access
  • Integrated visitor management
  • Dashboard reporting

The challenge

ICA Sweden wanted to extend its opening times to cater to early morning and evening shoppers. These shoppers represent only a fraction of ICA's customers, so it wouldn't be cost-effective to hire new staff to cover these shifts at smaller locations.

To solve this problem, ICA Sweden decided to adopt a staffless operating model during these times. But to satisfy the insurer, the team needed a secure and reliable access control system that would allow customers to shop safely.

The solution

Hydro Ottawa’s existing integrator, ADSS, handled integration and onboarding with the acre access control system. Our role in the process was to:

  • Review the integration and onboarding documentation
  • Meet with Hydro Ottawa’s stakeholders to understand the required policies and procedures
  • Compare the current and future state configuration against the policies and procedures

The ADSS team validated and sanitized employee data from Hydro Ottawa’s previous access control system and uploaded it into acre Custom Forms. Additionally, the ADSS team created defined data attributes to seamlessly integrate into the Hydro Ottawa Active Directory & Identity Management platform and upgraded the company’s Mercury Security hardware boards. This allowed them to keep costs down without removing or replacing their existing systems.

Together, we completed the integration process and verified the new system in a single weekend.

“The [acre access control solution] has resulted in cost savings and reduced administration efforts. Security audits now produce higher success rates based on better data analytics. Our security team also has a higher level of internal customer satisfaction through measuring key metrics and dashboards.”
–  Jojo Maalouf, Manager IT Security, Hydro Ottawa Limited

The result

Implementing our system has set Hydro Ottawa up for success, allowing the team to build on industry-leading security technologies and a progressive approach to cloud adoption.

Effortless ERP and VMS integration. The fully automated onboarding and offboarding process minimizes paperwork and provides a single source of truth for company data. We used the Wavestore video management system to consolidate Hydro Ottawa’s camera network under one secure platform for better video analytics.

Mobile access. Remote mobile access allows security team members to open electronic gates and doors quickly and easily during emergencies.

Streamlined visitor management. The integrated visitor management system allows the guard team to focus on security issues. It keeps track of visitors and contractors, creating an accurate visitor watch list. This satisfies auditor requests to run and produce visitor logs for NERC CIP 006 & 014 Physical Security Compliance Standards.

Centralized security. The new security dashboard functions as a security intelligence tool. Users can escalate potential issues to the front office (executive) team and measure operational performance from one location.

Smarter processes. The cloud-based system updates and patches the system automatically. This allows the IT team to focus on critical IT functions and work more efficiently.

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The first step to securing your future

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