For those systems integrators specifically fulfilling the requirements of the DHS Critical Infrastructure, the rules and regulations can be mind-boggling and often times require full-time personnel to be certain its mandates are satisfied. Personnel for any security need to be trained in best-in-class solutions that can be provided to the end user without breaking the bank—because these customers, like the overall landscape, may have limited funding and are looking for the most effective way to use their money to provide the most comprehensive detection and protection available. They may want to start small or deploy a system they can upgrade easily in the future, or add users simply and effectively. They may want to begin migrating to higher forms of access control beyond magnetic stripe—like proximity or better yet, smart cards for targeted levels of access across the facility or to the network for one-card privileges.
So like all types of systems contracting, it circles back to our roots: creating an ongoing partnership and providing a proactive leadership role and giving these customers the tools they need—technology and brain trusts—so they can make the most of what they have and make their facilities safe and secure.
And of course, that protection starts at the outside and can cover a wide perimeter—to make the protected premises a layered approach of protection and detection that deters and thwarts intruders and even terrorist attacks so responding authorities get as much lead time as possible and can prevent widespread theft or damage to assets, injury or even death.
Perimeter electrified fencing
Electric Guard Dog, based in Columbia, S.C., has built quite a successful business around perimeter security centering on electrified fences that fortify the customer’s protected premises. According to Chief Executive Officer Jack DeMao, the company’s perimeter electric security fencing is the number one theft deterrent on the market and provides a 90 percent savings over the cost of 24/7 security guard services. “It provides a physical deterrent and is 10 feet tall and deploys a safe but ‘memorable’ shock every 1.3 seconds upon contact, making it virtually impossible to cut or climb,” DeMao said. Customer Old Dominion Freight Line said that it has used the EGD Fence successfully in more than 50 percent of its locations—which include 212 service centers with more than 10,000 employees. “At any time we will have no less than 1.5 billion dollars worth of freight at our physical location. This freight includes everything from nuts and bolts to consumer electronics and everything in between,” the customer recently wrote to EGD.
“Our system is based on deterrence,” continued DeMao. “Most perimeter security is challenging and has a high false alarm rate. Some technology is subject to abuse or erosion, etc., but you have to start at the perimeter. Outdoor perimeter security gets smarter and smarter,” he said. EGD’s systems can also be combined with cameras, lights and even integrated with access control for further upgraded options for customers.
The idea is to deter, detect and/or delay perpetrators and that seems to stay top of mind if intruders do attempt to compromise the fencing system, according to DeMao.
It bodes well for the contracting company to come to the customer or prospected as a trusted partner who has painstakingly worked to assess the threat of the protected premises and responded accordingly. According to Jeff Fields, general manager of Dowley Security Systems Inc., headquartered in Houston, the approach to the critical infrastructure is never about the sale or marketing of a specific product—but rather about the needs of the customer and what they are trying to accomplish.
“Understanding critical infrastructure at its core is strategic in nature and tactical in delivery,” said Fields. “Each industry has within itself a critical component, process, product, function or deliverable that without it, disables it from operating. The best question that a security consultant can ask is: ‘What makes your operation successful and if posed with a complete failure, will it shut down your operations completely?” For example, critical to healthcare is physical plant operations and information technology; additionally, a wider approach to critical infrastructure is what the healthcare facility requires to make them both work.” (Dowley Security Systems received the 2012 Gold Medal from Security Technology Executive magazine’s Innovation Awards for its Devon Tower installation in Oklahoma City, Okla., www.securityinfowatch.com/10840051.)
Fields said the initial consultation is an important component in obtaining the right directives for the critical infrastructure customer. “Our approach is to begin to understand the nomenclature of what the customer operationally needs to protect and why. Cookie cutter or canned approaches to design and development of technology needs in this arena will not work.”