In this interview, GIT Security EMEA asked three questions to four industry experts including OPTEX's Project Development Manager, Neil Foster, about the issue's special focus on security for critical infrastructure. Neil talks about the benefits of a multi-layered security approach in remote areas and shares a success case of critical infrastructure security at a nuclear power plant.
Approaches and solutions to secure critical infrastructure
Protecting critical infrastructure is a significant challenge, not least because of the potentially devastating impact a breach or intrusion could have on wider society. Due to the large and complex nature of these sites, combining technologies and systems to create a multi-layered approach to security, that considers the approach, perimeter, access points and assets, is needed to provide early and highly accurate detection. Understanding the operational requirements and environment of each individual site and knowing which areas need protecting the most (i.e which are the most vulnerable and present the greatest risk) is crucial to determine the best solution for that site.
Challenges in the field of critical security and how to handle them
Critical infrastructure sites are usually large premises, often located in remote areas that are submitted to harsh and sometimes hazardous conditions. Effective perimeter protection requires sensing technologies that won’t be affected by other equipment onsite or by the natural elements such as wind, rain, vegetation or wildlife. The choice of technologies will also be determined by the scale of the site. Fibre optic sensors and LiDAR technology, for example, can be used to create multiple detection zones within a perimeter and adjust the sensitivity within each zone. Point detection, too, is one of the latest sensing technology advances, enabling the exact location of an intrusion to be pinpointed, which enables a faster response and verification process.
A success case where we implemented an OPTEX system to secure critical infrastructure
OPTEX has a proven track record when it comes to protecting critical infrastructure. For example, for nuclear power plants their environment presents a challenge due to high winds and fog created by the sea mist, so we combine different technologies – including REDWALL long-range PIRs to protect between the inner and outer fence, fibre optic sensors to detect anyone attempting to go over, under or cut through the fence and Redscan LiDAR sensors to create an additional layer of perimeter protection with virtual walls - delivering highly reliable detection across the entire site. A similar multi-layered approach has been deployed to protect data centres and prevent any potential weak point in any single technology been exploited, which is one of the key benefits of working with OPTEX as we can provide multiple sensing technologies.