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Five Questions to Ask Before Creating a Perimeter Security Plan

Written by Rudie Opperman, Engineering and Training Manager, EMEA at Axis Communication at Axis Communications

A well-protected perimeter is more than just a tall fence topped with barbed wire. It is a system of layered defences that are designed to deter, detect, and delay intruders. A robust security solution is essential for any organisation that wants to protect its assets and people.

The physical security market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was estimated at USD 1.8 billion in 2022 and is expected to see a CAGR of over 7% between 2022 and 2028. It’s clear that organisations in the region realise the value of security. However, developing a robust, carefully considered perimeter protection plan that protects premises and deters unauthorised persons before they can damage property or hurt customers or employees requires planning.

Here are five important questions to ask when designing a perimeter protection blueprint.

Is my technology up to date?
In fast-paced and high-technology regions such as the Middle East, using the most updated security solutions is essential for several reasons. The first is to ensure regulatory compliance. Organisations in critical infrastructure, or government entities, are often required by law to keep their security technology up to date to avoid penalties. This is relevant to both physical and cybersecurity, which work together to effectively secure organisations and their employees, assets, and premises.

Cybersecurity is receiving more attention from regulators than ever before, especially as ICT infrastructure and resources become critical assets across all industries. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the National Cyber Security Strategy requires organisations to implement a number of security measures, including keeping security solutions up to date. The same applies to countries such as the UAE and Qatar.

The second is to improve product efficiency. Video motion detection technology has evolved from pixel-based analysis to smarter, object-based detection that issues alerts based on object type. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are excellent examples of where this versatile and powerful tool has helped to improve public safety, manage traffic, streamline the flow of people in public spaces, and provide insights and trends regarding that flow.

Recently, the Ajman Transport Authority in the UAE commenced the installation of surveillance cameras on all Abra ferries as part of its plan to enhance safety and security. The latest generation of smart IP devices and cameras utilise advanced analytics at the edge for proactive detection and decision-making. Furthermore, they are enhanced by innovative features such as radar detectors and thermal sensors.

The third reason to ensure you are using the most up-to-date technology is to ensure protection against cyberattacks. By its nature, Internet of Things (IoT) technology is connected to the Internet. This means IoT devices such as IP cameras and other endpoints are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks continue to grow in number and size, according to the latest Cloudflare research. In IoT-enabled, cutting-edge environments, these attacks can cripple perimeter security solutions by either crashing systems or blocking access to video footage.

This is where downloading the latest solution updates and patches can help better protect companies from cyber threats.

How will climate or environmental conditions affect my detection?
The Middle East’s climate and environmental conditions, such as high temperatures, high humidity, sand and dust storms, and strong winds, can affect security equipment. For facilities operating in extreme conditions, such as oil and gas, power plants, airports, and ports, operators must consider more than just the functions and features of security solutions.

Cameras with conventional optical sensors are not always sufficient for extreme lighting conditions such as low light or backlight. As a result, using the right sensor technology is key to achieving optimal visibility and range levels. Security cameras exposed to a constantly changing environment (humidity, moisture, or temperature) can corrode and malfunction. Issues can also appear when saline air, cleaning agents, and other harsh chemicals are present. This is true for use in coastal sites, food plants, medical facilities, and clean room environments.

IP cameras with a wide dynamic range or thermal technology and robust housings (usually stainless steel or polycarbonate) are more suitable for these conditions. Image stabilisation can also be a problem in windy conditions that cause vibration. Electronic image stabilisation (EIS) can reduce shaking caused by high- and low-amplitude vibrations and wind.

Who should receive the alert and how?
Monitoring perimeters at all times across multiple locations can be challenging. However, adding an intelligent and robust network video-based system, featuring IP audio and video analytics, to traditional security measures enables reliable intrusion detection. These solutions allow security personnel to survey perimeters whether they’re observing monitors, patrolling facilities, or off-premise using mobile devices.

Perimeter protection solutions evaluate situations and should notify personnel only when there’s a true threat. By dismissing non-threatening subjects or events, employees can better verify the nature of the risk and respond appropriately. This level of security helps businesses reduce false positives, lowers property damage and losses, and decreases business disruptions.

For example, in airport environments, security solutions with remote capabilities can quickly alert airport personnel, ensuring that intruders are apprehended before or, at worst, immediately after a breach occurs. Case studies of this include Jeddah and Madinah airports in Saudi Arabia, which have introduced modern technology to enhance customer safety and security efficiency, especially during high-traffic periods when Hajj pilgrims head to Mecca.

How should I determine what caused the alert?
The right perimeter protection solutions make identifying the cause of an alert or threat easier. For instance, thermal cameras can help to identify and deter threats. Thermal cameras with intelligent video analysis produce significantly fewer false alarms than optical cameras and are less sensitive to severe environmental conditions, such as extreme winds, sandstorms, and fog. Some thermal cameras are also equipped with EIS to keep them stable in windy conditions. When coupled with remote monitoring capabilities, thermals can quickly notify personnel to verify the threat in person or by using visual cameras.

Security equipment may have trouble identifying intruders in poor or extreme lighting conditions. However, cameras fitted with a wide dynamic range can help by restricting the scene to better view objects. Furthermore, though it may come at the expense of colour detail, cameras fitted with 940nm infrared light can illuminate dark scenes. Cameras with radar capabilities take detection a step further. By not being fully dependent on scene visibility, security personnel have a reliable solution that also minimises false alarms.

What is my required detection level?
Security personnel should eliminate blind spots along perimeters. Consider the need to detect threats at all distances and the real-world limitations of perimeter protection technology. For example, a thermal camera with ranges in excess of 300 metres may not be able to distinguish between humans and animals. System needs, environmental conditions, and terrain should all be considered when designing a perimeter security solution.

Looking to the future of security perimeter planning in the Middle East
|With the rapid development happening across the Middle East, prioritising security perimeter planning is essential. With the threat of crime and the responsibility of looking after critical infrastructure, businesses and organisations need to take every possible step to protect their assets and people, and a well-protected perimeter is an essential first line of defence against intruders. The right security professional can help you assess your needs and recommend the best security measures for your property.

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