These 6 questions you should definitely ask yourself when drawing up a perimeter security plan

June 1, 2021

Introduction: Being prepared is everything.

It takes more to protect a perimeter than just a high fence with barbed wire. A well-secured perimeter contains several layers of defence that are reinforced with robust security solutions. And to make sure they complement each other optimally, you need a plan.

More than ever, companies are realising how important it is to stop criminals before they can damage property or hurt customers or employees. The global market for perimeter security was worth around EUR 17.4 billion by 2020 (according to IFSEC Global, citing Research and Markets, a leading market research company), and is only set to grow.

Nevertheless, there is still a fundamental problem: Many still have difficulty in developing and implementing a comprehensive perimeter security plan. For this reason, it is best to work with experienced, qualified installers. To ensure that the preparation of the security plan proceeds smoothly, it doesn't hurt that you yourself are familiar with the important aspects of preparing a plan.

To help you with this process, we have summarised the six most important questions to ask when designing your perimeter security blueprint:

  1. How does one define "perimeter"?
  2. Is the technology we want to use up to date?
  3. Will climate or environmental conditions affect detection?
  4. Who receives the warning when detected, and how do they receive it?
  5. How can one determine what caused the warning?
  6. What level of detection does the end customer require?

How does one define "perimeter"?

Perimeters are all boundaries that demarcate or protect an area, and perimeter protection consists of securing vulnerable locations or structures within those perimeters.

When developing a perimeter security plan, one of the first things to consider is the size of the perimeter. Usually, more fencing and security solutions are needed to secure longer perimeters. The shape of the perimeter is also important: perimeters with a lot of curves and corners can pose a challenge for a lot of perimeter security solutions (you can find more about this in our ultimate outdoor detection guide).

The development of a plan is therefore highly domain-specific, but there are some constants. Therefore, it is important to think about the following points:  

Identify all entrances and exits: In general, intruders prefer to enter through these areas, as they are often the easiest to break through.

Examine the physical perimeter: The physical perimeter may consist of walls, fences or other surrounding structures or barriers, and sometimes natural vegetation.

Think aboutthe consequences of a breach: Should the customer be warned when an intruder breaches a fence, or is the distance or direction of movement of the intruder more important for a warning? It is crucial to see the critical and non-critical nature of the site as concentric circles, with the centre being the most critical and moving outwards from there. One can compare this to an onion, where each peel represents a "line of defence".

Is technology that we want to use up to date?

It is important to use the latest security solutions for a few reasons. Some of them are:

-Staying compliant: This is especially relevant for organisations in the healthcare sector, or companies working for federal agencies. These are often required by law to keep their security solutions up-to-date to avoid fines.

For example, according to the law of 7 April 2019 (in Belgium), healthcare institutions must secure their sites against (digital) intrusion. This law also states that they must regularly update their security solutions to prevent breaches of physical infrastructure and data.

-Improving product efficiency: Video motion detection technologies have evolved from pixel-based analysis to smarter, object-based detection that can alert based on object size and speed. IP devices are becoming increasingly powerful. This is mainly due to the emergence of Edge A.I. This allows processing of the recorded images on the equipment itself, or as in the case of Secury360 on a separate module. Edge A.I. can perform advanced analysis for detection, and as a result reduce the number of false alarms considerably(More about Edge A.I. can be found here).

This can be advantageous in a number of ways. Moving processing to the edge means that the processing power of the central server can be utilised for other activities, thus reducing hardware costs or bandwidth for performing the same task.

Using edge devices (as opposed to cloud-based solutions) to run sophisticated applications also makes it possible to isolate a system failure. Imagine this: The central server running advanced analytics goes down. And your customer's company suddenly loses all analysis capacity (in some cases even recording capacity), on all connected devices. A distributed system with Edge A.I. isolates the loss so that only the affected devices are affected when an outage occurs.

- Protection against cyber attacks: Internet of Things (IoT) technology, such as IP cameras and other endpoints, is inherently connected to networks and can therefore be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks, better known as DDoS attacks, are increasing in number and scope, according to a Deloitte report.

These can cripple security solutions by crashing systems or, at the very least, blocking access to video footage. Downloading the latest updates and patches for solutions can help to better protect businesses from cyber threats. With advanced installations such as Secury360, all updates can be performed remotely by us, keeping you and the end customer up-to-date at all times.

When considering solution updates, ask yourself if you have also investigated how other detection methods, such as fence and ground loops, passive infrared, radar, dual sensor, microwave, thermal cameras, broadcast speakers and lighting, fit into your overall perimeter security plan. And consider whether the technology is open to integration or works as a whole through a common platform. This can get quite complicated, and it's best not to take any chances.

Will climate or environmental conditions affect detection?

Climatic and environmental conditions will always affect security equipment and the level of detection. For example, in scenes with extreme lighting or backlighting - such as cameras facing a rising or setting sun, or working at night - analogue cameras may struggle to produce clear images. In this case, IP cameras with a wide dynamic range or thermal technology are more suitable to use.

However, lighting is not the only potential problem that security professionals may face. Image stabilisation can become an issue when cameras are exposed to strong winds or even motorised equipment. Electronic image stabilisation (EIS) can reduce the shake caused by high and low amplitude vibrations and wind. Other forms of perimeter security, such as vibration sensors, are also sensitive to this.

For facilities operating in extreme conditions, owners and installers must consider more than just the functions and features of security solutions. Here are some other aspects to keep in mind:

-Moisture: Condensation in a camera lens can both obscure images and affect electronics. Cameras subjected to constant changes in air pressure and heavy rain can cause seals and other parts to crack, allowing moisture to accumulate inside. In humid environments, it is best to choose premium cameras. The best (but also more expensive models) often take moisture into account, and include internal fans and/or quick-drying technology.

- Environmental factors: Coastal locations with a high salt content in the air can corrode security equipment over time. The same can be said of food, medical and clean room production facilities where highly aggressive cleaning chemicals are used. If you install equipment in these types of environments, you can prevent corrosion from seawater (and even cleaning agents) by using cameras that are suitable for outdoor use. These typically have housings of stainless steel, or are made entirely of polycarbonate.

-Temperature: Working in "arctic" conditions? Icy temperatures cause freezing and erosion, and thus prevent parts from working properly. If the camera does not have quick drying technology or temperature control, ice may form on the lens. This results in blurred images, or the camera may not start up (or may not start up properly).

-Mounting: Surfaces can vary, and not every surface is the same. For example, cameras mounted on porous walls, or on walls where extreme temperature transfer is possible (from hot to cold), may be exposed to more moisture. By taking the mounting into account before installation, the cameras can be better protected against harsh environmental conditions and extreme temperature differences.

Who receives the warning when detected, and how do they receive it?

To monitor perimeters at all times and in multiple locations, remote access (IP) camera detection technology is often used. With these solutions, security personnel can monitor the perimeters. They can observe monitors in a "traditional" way from a control room, patrol the facilities or use an off-premises mobile device. The Secury360 solution also allows remote monitoring of the situation 24/7. The app (available for IOS and Android) gives your customers the flexibility to choose who is kept informed. The security staff, the owner....

Perimeter security solutions also evaluate situations and alert personnel only when there is a real threat. By ignoring non-threatening issues or events, staff have a better chance of verifying the nature of the risk and responding appropriately.

Yet in this area, many systems leave much to be desired: they still let a lot of false alarms through. It is therefore important that your perimeter security is as accurate as possible (resulting in the minimum number of false alarms). These can overburden the staff and lead to errors. The majority of conventional solutions also pass on the cost of false alarms to the end user: you.

This is where Secury360 's unique concept distinguishes itself from other perimeter security solutions. Secury360 uses a location trained A.I. model. As 2 the verification, we work together with local certified alarm centres.

This level of security helps businesses in four ways:

- False alarms can cost companies hundreds, if not thousands, of euros: And the vast majority of alarms are false. If a police patrol has to move in response to a false alarm and there is no sign of a break-in, you run the risk of being legally prosecuted. This can lead to fines and even criminal convictions.

- Reduces property damage and losses: Responding quickly to a perimeter breach helps prevent property damage or loss. Facilities that do not have the right perimeter security solutions and protocols in place are at increased risk of breaches and property damage.

-Reduces moral damage: Often, the material damage is not the worst thing about a burglary. The loss of confidence and feeling of insecurity cannot be underestimated, especially when private persons are broken into. Moreover, loss of face can cost money - logistics and warehousing companies are especially sensitive to this. Who wants to place their goods in an environment that is considered "poorly secured"?

- Reduce business interruption: Perimeter security solutions can reduce the number or impact of business interruptions due to false alarms. Especially companies with sensitive sites (healthcare, government, pharma) have a lot to lose here.

How can I determine what caused the warning?

With the right perimeter security solution, it becomes much easier to identify what caused an alarm, or who the threat is.

For example, thermal cameras with intelligent video analysis not only produce significantly fewer false alarms than optical cameras, they are also less sensitive to harsh environmental conditions, such as rain, snow and fog. Some thermal cameras are also equipped with EIS (electronic image stabilisation) to keep them stable in windy conditions.

Of course, thermal cameras can only physically detect the threat to a certain extent. But when combined with remote monitoring capabilities, thermal cameras can quickly alert personnel. This allows them to verify the threat in person or by using visual cameras.

In environments with poor or extreme lighting, security equipment can have problems correctly identifying intruders. An example of this is cameras aimed directly at vehicles with strong headlights. Solutions that are equipped with a wide dynamic range can essentially restructure the environment. This allows objects to be better viewed in environments with a wide range of lighting conditions.

Another idea is to use cameras equipped with 950nm infrared light, as these illuminate dark scenes. Although IR does not produce natural colours, IR cameras with 950nm are great for covert situations because the light is (almost) invisible to the human eye.

However, IR cameras, like any other type of solution, have some weaknesses:

  • Thus they are less efficient in wet weather, as water droplets can cause reflections and refractions that return to the visual camera. This reduces the usability of the images.
  • It is usually more effective when the light is reflected by several objects, to flood the environment. In environments with really dark or bright objects, the IR light may not reflect well.
  • Criminals can see an IR light with a lower wavelength because it has a faint red glow (like in the movies) and try to destroy the camera or housing.
  • Finally, scenes that are too dark can be brightened up with additional light sources. This method helps to better identify intruders, although in the long run it may increase the overall cost of perimeter security.

What detection level do I need?

A major concern for security personnel should be the elimination of blind spots along perimeters. For example, is it just as important to clearly detect a threat at 5 metres as at 500 metres? If the answer is yes, then look beyond the specification sheets of a solution and evaluate the whole situation.

All products can fail if they are not installed and implemented properly. Knowledge of the practical applications of perimeter security technology and of the limits of detection can help staff develop better solutions.

For example, a thermal camera with a range of 500 metres is great for a fence line, but what if the operator needs to know whether the intruder is a human or an animal? These parameters can limit the model and detection range based on system needs, environmental conditions and overall terrain.

Secury360 is the first patented outdoor detection solution with location-trained Edge A.I., and is suitable for residential and commercial properties. Moreover, we only work with recognised, qualified security installers.

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