Industrial and Critical Infrastructure--Essential Protection Strategies

Keep your solutions tailored to the customer

Cookie cutter is also an approach that Compass Tech Systems steers clear of for all its customers, critical infrastructure and otherwise. For Compass Tech Systems, based in Jacksonville, Fla., perimeter detection with cameras and fence protection is the way to start to protect the government, critical infrastructure and high-risk industrial customers that the firm specializes in. “You have to be proactive with these customers and of course perimeter fence protection and cameras with analytics are an important component,” said Dave Sims, vice president. Combined, the company’s staff has over 100 years experience in providing integrated solutions contracting.

“We’re definitely a proponent for outdoor detection and video analytics,” Sims said. “Sophisticated analytics lets you ‘tune out’ environmental disturbances that might cause false alarms, so that’s not as much a problem today. Years ago, we focused on basic motion detection sensors. Whatever you use, you have to allow the customer to be proactive about their security detection so they can prevent an incident from happening,” he said.


Assess the site personally

Sims said Google Maps or Google Earth assists in tailoring solutions, but there’s nothing that can replace personally visiting the facility. “We always do a site visit, because there are just too many variables that have to be considered, inside and out. We look at the existing property—like the fencing and what kind of condition it’s in, and assess the lighting of the facility as well. We work with the customer like they are a part of our family and tell them what we would do to protect our family and assets. What separates us is our service and the fact that our prospects and customers know we will take care of them and provide the best solution,” he said.

Sims said that while newer technology like analytics can often serve the customer and their facility well, older, well-entrenched devices can also be a fit for a facility. For example, sensors and detectors, such as vibration or seismic, magnetic foil tape for windows and balanced magnetic contacts might also be called for and deployed effectively.

“You have to design the system to meet the customer’s needs,” he said. “You have to assess the risk level of the facility throughout and its vulnerabilities. If they don’t have an unlimited budget, it’s the systems integrator’s responsibility to put in a quality base system that they can expand on and is a wise investment for them moving forward.”

For MSA Systems Integration, based in Eatontown, N.J., maintaining a narrow focus on best of class products and people on staff helps them excel in the critical infrastructure and industrial vertical markets. “We feel our best marketing comes from a job well done,” said Brian Brandt, regional director based in Cranberry, Pa. (MSA Systems Integration is also a Honeywell Authorized Security Integrator.)

Brandt said that MSA Systems Integration prides itself in being able to provide customers compliance training to meet regulatory security and safety requirements. “We do training that’s driven by the customer’s needs—online and in the classroom,” he said.

Brandt said the industry has risen to current security challenges by being able to provide the best solutions to critical infrastructure and other high-risk clients. “For our industry, the real change has been from reactive to being able to achieve real-time, proactive information. Our approach centers on accountability, detection, verification and notification. You can’t impede or interrupt the facility’s operations itself—and that requires a variety of great components working together.”

And again, as the other integrators shared, the cookie-cutter approach literally won’t cut it. “The physical condition of the property, the environmental conditions, lighting or lack thereof, all present challenges for perimeter detection. To effectively protect the perimeter you might need six to eight different types of technology to create a strong barrier. Every aspect of the facility and every challenge has to be addressed—like vehicle or pedestrian entrances, for example. You have to understand the specifics of the facility, suggest new ideas when appropriate and work in partnership with the customer,” Brandt said.