ELECTRONIC
security installations are seldom so integral to an organisation that operation
without them is unthinkable. But for RadSec Pty Ltd (not its real name),
Australia’s biggest supplier of vital solutions to the telecommunications and
banking industries, that’s exactly how it is.

How serious is RadSec
about security? For a start, this medium-sized Melbourne-based manufacturer
with 140 staff has its own security manager. But the vital importance of
security to this business was most apparent when I tried to get access for an
official visit. RadSec has classic onion skin layers of physical, electronic
and procedural defences. Negotiating your way through them is instructive to
say the least.

“This company
takes security seriously,” says security manager James Woods (not his real
name). “Any incident would impact on our business and we are extremely careful
to ensure our facility is as secure as possible.

“Our security
system is part of what we actually do – it’s integral to our reputation and to
our ability to conduct our business at the necessary level required by our
customers. There’s no problem justifying the security spend at RadSec.

“As a supplier of
solutions to the communications and banking industries we have to meet customer
certification and we are audited annually by our customers to ensure we meet
their security requirements,” says Woods.

“CCTV is a big
thing that our customers check – they review our controls to make sure that we
are practicing it not just saying it, so go so far as to look at a log, look at
the date and time of a log and go back and check there were the required 2
people working – we can’t afford to slip up.”

Layering is
central to RadSec’s defences and the security function starts at the perimeter
with robust fences that are monitored by video surveillance cameras. To get
buzzed into the reception you need to have a prior appointment and once inside,
you need to show photo ID to the security team in their secure guardroom in
order to get into the waiting area. The visitor processing procedure includes
the 4-eye principle, which demands 2 security officers check each stage of the
processing procedure.

And greatly
increasing internal security is the fact that non-employees must be escorted by
authorised employees at all times. It goes without saying that this fundamental
also applied to installation teams putting in the surveillance system.

“Our overall
security solution incorporates everything from IT security and physical
security, right through to access control, video surveillance and operations –
it’s the whole lot,” Woods explains.

“In terms of the
role of the surveillance system, that ties in with the fact that preventing
internal and external fraud is my main aim. Every part of our security solution
is designed to thwart fraud,” Woods explains.

“To this end, key
things we are able to achieve with new video surveillance system is to monitor
people coming in and out of the facility and this means we can go back and
search for footage if anything goes missing. It’s important for us to have this
investigative capacity.

“Our security
system is part of what we actually do – it’s integral to our reputation and to
our ability to conduct our business at the necessary level required by our
customers. There’s no problem justifying the security spend at RadSec”

“Obviously access
control is important to us at RadSec,” he says. “Across the site we have
turnstiles and mantraps – there’s no holding of doors open for people behind
you. We also have special loading bays for secure deliveries which incorporate
triple door systems and we have installed cameras to protect against things
like hijack or tampering with deliveries. 

According to
Woods, RadSec’s old video surveillance system was poor compared to the new
networked solution.

“It was
standalone with a single hard drive server,” he explains. “It worked but not
very well. For instance, we had recording but playback was very difficult. This
new system is based on Genetec’s Omnicast software and it’s far superior. As
well as being functionally better, the system is also scalable and more
flexible than the old system.

“A key part of
this upgrade was ensuring RadSec got a system that was capable of working with a
wide range of components and sub systems in the future – I really wanted an
open system so we would not be tied down to any camera.

“I have an IT
background and it was clear to me, as it would be to anyone who understands IT,
that the concept of an open system was ideal for us,” says Woods. “As part of a
process of selecting a surveillance system I had a look at Genetec’s Omnicast
at Security 2008 in Sydney and immediately thought – this is exactly what I
want.”   

So, just what
does the overall surveillance system at RadSec comprise? For a start, there is
a substantial legacy component, with a large number of quality analogue
Panasonic cameras around the site. Obviously this legacy component of the
system had to be catered for by the upgrade.

“We chose Axis as
our hardware supplier and in this installation we used Axis’ 6-port Q7406
encoders to handle the 50 analogue cameras that are part of the system,” says
Woods.

“During the
upgrade we also expanded the system by adding another 30 cameras and in this
case we chose Axis 216MFD megapixel cameras, which deliver 1.3 megapixel image
streams using MPEG-4 compression.

“The installation
is a bit like a casino gaming area where cash and chips need to be watched. At RadSec
we have a lot of cameras around the work areas keeping an eye on our production
lines,” Woods says. “The Axis cameras are ideal for this role.”

According to
Woods, the high security nature of the business is what drives the company’s
requirements for internal monitoring.

“We make highly
secure solutions for big banks, as well as secure solutions for telcos – we
manufacture tens of thousands of solutions a month. Obviously it’s a very big
deal to protect our customer’s products and that’s what our surveillance system
is designed to do.

“Throughout the
site in secure rooms where our devices are being manufactured, programmed or
handled, cameras are installed to ensure the security system offers the best
possible tracking of any events that might occur during the entire process of
manufacture.”

“As well as this,
some of our cameras monitor access points and we have a big vault with
extensive camera coverage inside.”

With any
surveillance system, the monitoring interface is where the rubber meets the
road and the Genetec Omnicast management system supports large LCD screens in
the guard house giving the security officers vision of key points around the
site.

“Our full-time
security officers do most the monitoring and I have a screen up here as well
just to keep an eye on things,” Woods explains.

“It’s a good way
of doing things as I might see something the security officers might miss –
it’s an extension of the 4-eye principle. I have a different view of things,
too, so the security officers might ring up and say – something is going on
down here can you have a look.”

Woods says the
video surveillance system is working extremely well on the network and there
was no modification or customisation of the Genetec Omnicast system required
during installation.

“The system is
functioning perfectly out of the box and it has been extremely easy to learn,”
he explains. “In terms of the system layout and to enhance general surveillance
we have organized our screens into 3 or 4 nearby cameras grouped together in a
sequence for guard tours.

“But when we are
actively monitoring the site we can call up cameras, view recordings and search
for events in a very intuitive environment.”  

The system’s
network architecture is relatively simple just as many networked installations
are. Cameras run to switches, switches to servers and authorised workstations
access the servers. This design helps to enhance security and reliability.

“In terms of
system architecture, cameras in the field travel to a server room and are
ported to a switch that carries image streams onto the network and transports
them to the guardhouse over fibre,” says Woods.

“If there’s an
area with a lot of cameras we’ll have a separate switch somewhere else and the
cameras will arrive at the local switch over Cat-6 and then there’s a fibre
going back to the server room from the local switch.”

“The surveillance
network is completely separate from the office and production networks,” says
Woods. “And there are no outside connections.

According to
Woods, RadSec stores images for a long time and at high resolutions. The
storage system at RadSec is an off-the-shelf RAID-5 solution comprising a
number of servers in a storage bay.

“We try to cover
as much movement in the site as possible and there’s very little we don’t see
as vital to our operation,” he explains. “We are almost a 24×7 operation and we
cannot miss anything around our site.”

Woods says the
plan is to increase camera numbers in the near future in order to further
improve the system’s coverage– looking at another 15-20 cameras.

“We also plan to
introduce integration of access control, alarms and video surveillance next
year. We want to take our integration to the next level,” he says. “It depends
on budget but after the first quarter of next year, we will look at that.

“There is also
another smaller RadSec site in another state. There’s no networking between the
2 but there are plans for an upgrade of video surveillance including a link
that would allow us to keep an eye on things from our Melbourne office.”

The installation

RadSec’s
surveillance system upgrade was undertaken by Integrators Australia, a
Melbourne-based company that’s developing an enviable reputation for the
quality and integrity of its work.

“Integrators
Australia came and did a site assessment then they ran all the new cabling and
installed the new cameras so the system was ready to go,” Woods says.

“The installation
was undertaken during operating hours and one of the challenges is that all
visitors have to be escorted at all times. Fortunately for use we had just
installed a new vault which was empty at the time so this made it easier to
install new surveillance cameras there.

“At the time of
cutover, the installers terminated the cables in the relevant network rooms.
Obviously this part of the installation had to be done either on a weekend or
at night and in this case, we carried out the operation on a weekend.

“As part of the
upgrade, we got new workstations for the guardhouse and for my system, and we
put in new servers and a new storage unit,” says Woods. “It took a couple of
weeks and then the existing system was cut over to the new hardware on a
weekend.

“Working with
OPS, Genetec and Integrators Australia has been great – there have been no
issues and things have been very straightforward – much easier than I thought
it would be,” he says.

“I’m very pleased
with the system we’ve got. An open system is perfect for us at RadSec – it’s
flexible and scalable and that’s exactly what I was looking for with this
upgrade.”

   

“Working with OPS
and Genetec, and Integrators Australia has been great – there have been no
issues and things have been very straightforward – much easier than I thought
it would be”