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What’s needed to secure critical infrastructure?

What’s needed to secure critical infrastructure?
Needless to say, critical infrastructure facilities such as power plants and airports play a vital role in the society. Protecting them against various threats, then, becomes important. In this regard, an integrated solution that combines different security systems can be of help.
That’s according to a whitepaper by Synectics.
The paper spells out the importance of protecting critical infrastructure. “Natural disasters, criminal activity and increasingly hostile attacks designed specifically to cause disruption all have the potential to significantly damage the critical infrastructure that a country or continent depends upon,” it said. “Making sure the right safeguards are in place to protect individual assets is vitally important and requires the right systems and tools to facilitate collaboration with public bodies.”
According to the paper, traditionally the security systems used to protect critical infrastructure are managed separately. But to combat or prevent threats that are increasingly complicated, security needs to upgrade as well. This is where the user can benefit from a surveillance command and control platform that integrates with different systems, including but not exclusive of cameras, access control, intruder detection, public help points, building management systems, microwave sensors and others, the paper said.

Intelligent integration

With added intelligence, the user can gain even greater situational awareness. “Intelligent integration takes this concept to the next level and involves utilizing command and control software to not only collate the data, but analyze it as well,” it said. “Incidents, anomalies, or meter reading deviations from any number of subsystems and from multiple geographical locations can be identified and cross-referenced against set parameters.”
The paper then listed some examples where this intelligent integration can be applied:

Power distribution network

According to the paper, theft can leave power distribution networks compromised. “Video, audio, PIR activations, and other alarm inputs from analog and IP cameras located at different (often remote and/or unmanned) substations/operation rooms are streamed directly to a central security management center to protect against potential breaches. By alerting operators to incidents in real time, site safety protocols are implemented more efficiently, thereby protecting both employees and the general public,” it said.

Water treatment plant

Water treatment plants are critical, and contamination can endanger the whole society. “Any abnormality picked up by the intruder detection and access control systems immediately alerts security teams by streaming live footage from cameras nearest the triggered alert zone,” the paper said. “Footage covering any potential water access points, that is, to identify attempts at intentional contamination, can also be monitored. The system can be programmed to prioritize data from water quality detection systems and trigger workflows to guide operators through required response protocols such as area shutdowns.”


According to the paper, data from baggage X-ray scanners, integrated with surveillance and communications systems, ensures that a live alert is prioritized on security control room video wall monitors in the event of an issue being logged by personnel in the screening area. “The control room team can then view the same X-ray footage as the baggage scanning crew, while nearby surveillance cameras monitor wider activity automatically,” it said.
The paper concluded by saying understanding customer needs and working with partners are key to implementing integrated security for infrastructure. “Command and control solutions can be configured to deliver integrations and workflows that meet exacting requirements, but tailoring to that level requires a thorough understanding of needs,” it said. “Technology is only part of the equation. Understanding the needs of the customer and developing partnerships with industry leaders will enable the intelligent integrations that can truly revolutionize the way critical infrastructure protection professionals work.”

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