Critical Infrastructure Protection

Be the “go-to” for government contracting

Protecting the nation’s infrastructure takes an integrated approach with a host of technologies teaming up to communicate breaches, alerts, alarms and trouble conditions. From video surveillance, analytics and intrusion to access control, biometrics and perimeter sensors and detectors, they all play a role in a successful project.

One of the other important ‘components’ of these types of installations is a security dealer and integrator who has crossed the line from straight hardware installs--burglar and fire alarms--into networking and communications, because without that expertise this market isn’t for them. The end user wants a team player who can build on the existing network infrastructure and provide the level of security they specifically require for their protected premises-in a turnkey approach, of course.

While other parts of the economy are sputtering, that’s not the case here. Funding through fiscal year 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will continue to increase for each sector or department, including the U.S. Coast Guard; Customs and Border Protection; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Transportation Security Agency; and others. These segments include ports, transportation, utilities, sensitive facilities, borders and other areas. In addition, President Bush’s fiscal year 2009 budget request for the DHS represents $50.5 billion in funding, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2008.

Smart cards, access control and biometrics are becoming the norm in critical infrastructure security. Beginning in June 2009, travelers will be required to present a single Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant document denoting both citizenship and identity when entering the United States through land or sea border. In addition, as a result of Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, employees and contractors of government agencies, port/harbors and other critical infrastructure entities must meet the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201 or Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) requirements for presenting positive identification documents before gaining access into these facilities. Individuals must use a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) or TWIC card to identify themselves before they are registered into an agency’s physical access control system as well.

PSIM brings it together
According to Dave Fowler, senior vice president of Product Development and Marketing for VidSys Inc., Vienna, Va., it’s important for integrators interested in working in the critical infrastructure protection space to know the segment. “They have to know how to integrate multiple layers of security,” he said. To assist in that endeavor are software products which fall into the realm of Physical Security Information Management or PSIM. The concept integrates alarms and events from multiple security devices, correlating the alarms into manageable situations.
 “Now, intelligence is accomplished at the system level rather than the user level,” he said.

Fowler said the critical infrastructure spans different industries and the enterprise side, as well as information technologies, transportation, the public sector, including bridges, tunnels and ports and borders or homeland defense. Critical assets can also include pipelines and pumping stations.

 “An integrator has to be familiar with the sectors and not just technology,” he added. 

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