Properly Protect Your Plant's Perimeter

Advances in security technology ease the task and make good business sense.

By Ryan Loughin, ADT Advanced Integration

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Video analytics first became available in 2003; since then options have ballooned. Today, more than one hundred manufacturers offer video analytics. Two of the most important considerations in software selection are range and pixels-on-target. A greater range ultimately will be more cost-effective — by reducing the number of cameras and infrastructure needed. Pixels-on-target measures the accuracy with which a computer can detect an object — the greater number of pixels, the better the recognition.

Remote video. A managed video monitoring service, which various security providers now offer, can be a cost-effective solution for some companies, especially those with remote or smaller locations that don't have command-and-control stations or 24/7 guard shifts. Hosted video is specifically designed to reduce the amount of labor and technical know-how needed to provide video security at a site.

Such a system uses security professionals at an off-site central monitoring center to observe and record alarm-driven activities. These operators can confirm if alarms are real and not ones triggered by animals or other natural events — thereby reducing fines for false alarms. For real alarms, operators can follow the site's security protocol to notify facility personnel, law enforcement or other designated contacts.

The operators can visually tour facilities at specified pre-scheduled times. These tours are recorded with a date and time stamp along with appropriate notes and video clips to enable future recall. Using an Internet connection and Internet protocol cameras, end users also can access video remotely from virtually anywhere, anytime.

A layered approach to perimeter security can match the most appropriate technology to various points at each facility; most sites use four to six technologies (Figure 3). However, technology alone won't provide optimal security. It's essential for a facility to consider the people, processes and training necessary for a sound solution.

Another factor vital to site security is properly managing and processing information from the various technologies. This can be especially challenging when dealing with multiple technologies from various vendors.

Physical security information management (PSIM) systems make that job easier by centralizing command-and-control functions across virtually any combination of a facility's physical and logical security assets. A PSIM system offers a complete picture of all security activity in a single real-time view without the need to simultaneously monitor multiple consoles in the security center. It can help a company or site leverage existing investments in security technologies while enabling open integration with new technologies.

A PSIM system provides centralized views of security activities through a single graphical user interface. Using information from access control, video, intrusion and fire systems, PSIM allows security operators to better visualize incidents, assess situations and manage resources. The automated logical control can correlate events from those systems, bringing crucial alerts to the attention of security staff site-wide. It can enable security staff to observe alarm locations on a geospatial map and allows simultaneous viewing of live and recorded video. The system can be configured to manage and prioritize alerts based on templates and policies.

Alarm triggering can prompt automated incident-response workflows, ensuring a site's policies and procedures guide operator actions. This results in a more reliable and consistent security response and resolution that can be tracked and documented.

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