Industrial and Critical Infrastructure--Essential Protection Strategies

Keep your solutions tailored to the customer

The critical infrastructure, industrial and outdoor detection markets are nearly synonymous with each other. Certainly, critical infrastructure has its written definition from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): “Critical infrastructure are the assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

From this definition there are many different types of critical infrastructure that may be specific to a host of vertical markets. Of course, to any integrator’s customer any down time in business could be a major catastrophe not only to employees but to the public in general. For systems integrators, the DHS definitions are important, but so are the core values of a professional contracting business, such as starting from the perimeter, building in safeguards to deter intruders and providing a solution, overall, that is specifically tailored to the needs of the facility and what the end user is trying to accomplish.


What’s covered in critical infrastructure?

For the record, the definition of critical infrastructure from the government includes: food and agriculture; banking and finance; chemical; commercial facilities; communications; critical manufacturing; dams; defense/industrial base; emergency services; energy; government facilities; healthcare and public health; information technology; national monuments and icons; nuclear reactors, materials and waste; postal and shipping; transportation systems; and water.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 provides the primary authority for the overall homeland security mission. This act charged the DHS with primary responsibility for developing a comprehensive national plan to secure critical infrastructure and recommend “the measures necessary to protect the key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States.” This comprehensive plan is the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), published by the Department in June 2006. The NIPP provides the unifying structure that integrates a wide range of protective security efforts into a single national program.

In addition, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7) established U.S. policy for enhancing critical infrastructure protection by constructing a framework for the Department’s partners to “identify, prioritize and protect the critical infrastructure in their communities from terrorist attacks.” The directive identified the 17 critical infrastructure sectors and, for each sector, designated a federal Sector-Specific Agency (SSA) to lead protection and resilience-building programs and activities. HSPD-7 allows for the DHS to identify gaps in existing critical infrastructure sectors and establish new sectors to fill these gaps. Under this authority, the Department established an 18th sector, the Critical Manufacturing Sector, in March 2008.

In early February 2013, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on cyber security and a Presidential Policy Directive on critical infrastructure and resilience. The two actions were designed to strengthen the security of physical assets.

Within that widespread definition it’s easy to see that there is definitely crossover between and among varied vertical markets—including industrial, transportation and even the outdoor infrastructure. And for the systems integrator, that means that a well-defined mission and mantra to provide the best, proactive solution to any and all of these customers is the way to go.

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