A Modern Approach to Safeguarding Utilities Infrastructure Facilities
The world relies on a range of utilities to stay comfortable and safe in their everyday lives. The essential nature of these facilities makes them a prime target for bad actors seeking to disrupt their operation. Securing and protecting an infrastructure site should be a priority concern for operators wishing to protect their equipment, staff, and the people they serve.
Utilities infrastructure refers to any part of the supply, distribution, or reticulation network operated by a utility provider. It can consist of poles, pipes, cables, wires, conduits, and tunnels, along with rail and tram infrastructure. All of these can be susceptible to damage, theft, and vandalism if left unprotected. Such issues range from relatively minor to large-scale attacks with significant ramifications. Operators can address these threats proactively by using superior video surveillance.
Advanced security cameras are an excellent criminal deterrent and allow utility staff to keep a close watch on even the largest sites.
This guide will explore utilities infrastructure security and offer professional advice to keep risks at bay.
Why Physical Infrastructure Security Matters
Utility providers must look beyond traditional physical measures such as gates, fences, and security keys to maintaining round-the-clock security. This requires that facility staff acknowledge the inherent structural value of their facilities, the built-in weaknesses in their layout, and the level of autonomy and proactivity expected of them when it comes to security. Three main points to consider are:
Valuable Infrastructural Components
No thief can make off with an entire pipe network or a cellphone tower. What they can do is steal it piecemeal. Utility sites contain valuable items and materials like copper, aluminum, and large power batteries that can fetch a high price on the black market when stripped.
Utilities Are Spread Over Wide Areas
Consider the layout of an electrical utility provider as an example. There may be a single central generator hub connected to power lines that can stretch for hundreds of miles. These hubs, their power sources, and their connected lines are often remote and completely unguarded, and this isolation poses a serious security surveillance problem. The amount of terrain they cover means exposure to natural disasters and accidents, as well as criminal incursions.
Congressional Recognition of These Threats
The American Public Power Association has highlighted how utility facilities have been targets for vandalism and even terrorist attacks for years. Firearm assaults on personnel and vital operational equipment have led Congress to state that each utility’s role in the security of its distribution facilities is paramount.
The fact is that utilities infrastructure facilities must be active agents in their own protection. Law enforcement can take a long time to reach a site, especially if it’s an isolated location. Power plants, waterworks, cell tower clusters, and more must install a security solution that is not limited by time or space.
3 Tips to Guard Against Utilities Infrastructure Attacks
A robust and comprehensive approach to security is the best way to minimize attacks on your facility. Strong fences, gates, and locks are all crucial, but these traditional protections are not enough by themselves. Here are three actions that utility providers can take to develop a culture of responsibility and a safer physical location.
Become Familiar With Mobile Video Surveillance
Knowledge and awareness are the bedrock of successful security. Employees of utility facilities can increase both traits by learning the basics of mobile surveillance. This information helps instill confidence and makes staff members more active agents in their facility’s protection.
Invest in Cutting-Edge Cameras
Modern video surveillance monitoring is more powerful than ever, thanks to the internet and sophisticated algorithms aiding threat detection. State-of-the-art solutions deliver:
- 36x Optical Zoom
- 60 FPS Frame Rate
- 120 DB True WDR
- Smart Tracking
- Smart Detection
- 656.1’ Infrared Distance (night vision)
These are the base specifications, which can be upgraded for even higher resolutions and added functions. Features like infrared are especially effective due to the criminal tendency to attack under cover of darkness, while motion sensors help remote video agents detect intruders and alert authorities.
Create Real-Time Threat Detection
Video surveillance is especially useful in unstaffed sites such as substations and remote work locations where foot staff would have to spend many hours patrolling. Camera views can survey vast spaces without tiring and switch from one area to another in an instant.
An unqualified or neglectful security approach gives criminals a free pass to your facility. Utilities providers must accept sitewide security risks to craft a plan that covers every contingency. Remote monitoring staff can effectively be everywhere at once to interact directly with potential criminals via speaker units or activate red and blue strobe lights as an alert, thereby minimizing threats.
Common Pitfalls of Poor Utilities Infrastructure Security
Consultation with seasoned site security experts will make that plan efficient, effective, and tailored to your facility’s unique layout and vulnerabilities. Here are some things to watch out for when deciding on a security approach:
- Choosing to limit your site to purely traditional security solutions won’t cover you against every physical threat.
- Poor planning causes utility providers to neglect locations that must be secured to prevent unauthorized access to critical infrastructure.
- Failing to maximize security by optimizing your budget with an experienced provider forces utility providers to cut corners.
- Some security surveillance solutions do not include audio capabilities. This is cheaper but also adds a vulnerability, because well-tuned audio can help tell the difference between normal operational sounds and new acoustics, which can prevent false alarms and detect intruders more effectively.
Infrastructure security planning is an ongoing effort, with each facility greatly accountable for its own safety. The best plans blend traditional security measures with forward-facing technology to deliver comprehensive protection that will make any criminal think twice.
Contact the Experts With Any Questions
Utility facilities carry a lot of responsibility, both for their security and for public health and comfort. Mobile Video Guard has the experience and the technology to reduce risk and secure critical infrastructure against physical threats.
Our tailored remotely monitored video surveillance and fixed monthly costs mean robust security at a sizable savings for our customers. Contact our team and speak to an expert today.