Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Makes the Switch

Oct. 27, 2008
The end-user's perspective

In discussing the move from analog to digital video technology at our pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, we had to consider the larger context in which we, the end-users are attempting to upgrade technology. Security technology is evolving so rapidly that it is not possible to continually stay abreast with technology developments in detail. A more workable approach is to read or collect case study material that is applicable to one's own facility and type of business. Another approach — the one we took — is to attend one or more security conferences or trade shows to get an idea of what the current technology can do, and to collect current case study information.

The most important aspect of our analog-to-digital migration project was not the technology; it was our approach to the project that is designed to ensure we get the maximum benefit from the technology. In the past, technology was simpler — it was workable to select a technology, install it, and adjust our processes and procedures if needed. Current technology options are complex, and we could not take that approach.

Project and Technology Vision

An extremely helpful part of the project management process in our Security Department is the Business Case Assessment, in which we establish the security and/or business need for the project. In this document we also provide a description of the project, identify the project stakeholders, explain the rationale for the project (the reason for it and why it should be done now), list the benefits and when they will be realized, identify any regulatory requirements that apply and standards that we will follow, and present the project risks and what our approach will be. The project vision provides our initial criteria for evaluating technology options.

Part of the project vision is our technology vision for using digital video technology. Establishing the technology vision is critical, because we intend our digital video platform to serve us for 10 years or longer — which is possible because a sound technology design based on IT standards is scalable, meaning that capacity or performance can be increased as our needs grow. The system can evolve over time by upgrading individual components as appropriate. There were three steps to developing our technology vision:

* Step one: General technology education. Security officials attended various trade shows and security conferences, and also a CCTV analog-to-digital workshop, presented by the Physical Security Council of ASIS Intl.

* Step two: Learn more about our own business. In the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, there is an emerging trend to leverage security video for operations purposes — including safety, quality, process monitoring and operations supervision. Key business processes are critical assets — part of what security is trying to protect. As part of the planning process, we had specific discussions to help identify ways that digital video technology could assist managers in day-to-day operations.

* Step three: Create a planning team. The team was composed of some of our own security personnel, IT department personnel, as well as outside industry experts. Each team member is a SME (Subject Matter Expert) in his or her respective field.

Storage Bridges Analog and Digital

Our existing digital system consists of more than 100 fixed and PTZ analog cameras, and seven DVRs that are recording. We are an FDA/DEA-regulated facility, which means that video is a key component of our security department's DEA compliance program.

Over time, we began to have hard drive failures in our existing DVRs, which placed urgency on our technology planning, and validated our desire to use data center-grade storage for security video. This would mean using a highly fault-tolerant data storage system, which means the storage system can continue to function despite a component failure, such as the loss of a single power supply, hard drive, network card or network switch.

Additionally, our facility is applying lean manufacturing principles to its operations ( ). We wanted to use video to reduce walk-around time for operations supervision, as one of security's contributions to the lean initiative. Adding more cameras for supervisory purposes meant we needed increased storage.

A member of our technology planning team suggested a storage system from Intransa, which arranged to have Surveillance Specialties Ltd. test the storage system with the same brand of DVR that we had in place, to ensure that the solution could work. By implementing the storage system as a Storage Area Network (SAN), we could use a high-speed network connection to connect our DVRs to the storage system, and also connect a digital video system to the same storage in the future.

Figures 1 and 2 present the before and after diagrams of our DVR storage. With this solution deployed, we eliminated the risk of video loss, more than doubled our video storage capacity, and established an IT standards-based storage platform that could expand as our requirements grow in the future.

Other System Considerations

Having addressed video storage, we focused on the remaining aspects of the video system. We determined that the design for our new video system should:

* let us retain our existing analog cameras;

* allow us to add network cameras going forward;

* support high resolution (i.e. megapixel) cameras;

* include server-based Network Video Recorder software;

* include Video Management System (VMS) software that supports securely sharing video outside the security department;

* provide remote access to video, in support of business continuity, including pandemic preparedness;

* support integration with our access control system with the VMS software so that alarms will trigger the display of related video in our command post;

* be compatible with command and control software that we are considering for future use in our command post;

* support using role-based access control (RBAC) for setting operator permissions for video viewing to facilitate secure video sharing;

* include auditing of operator usage of video, to support monitoring and enforcement of our acceptable video use policy; and

* be compliant with our corporate IT standards for placing systems and devices on the corporate network.

Fortunately, during our analog video camera installation work, we had earlier decided to install spare fiber optic cable to support future needs. Now we are in that future, and we have fiber cable to extend our security network for surveillance. This will keep our video recording traffic off the corporate network, and allow video viewing network traffic to travel first over our security department network, and then bridge over to the corporate network, to minimize the impact of video sharing on the corporate network.

Mauricio Cruz, security professional, is responsible for the convergence of the security systems at Baxter Healthcare's Cherry Hill facility. He has 10 years of experience in the security industry.