Technician Daniel Maxwell of Bravis with Inner Range Integriti panels at QPS in Brisbane.

Security integrators and technicians, security officers, control room operators, support staff, including remote providers of support, have been classified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as “essential critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 response”.

The DHS guidelines from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) are intended to assist both state and local officials when making decisions regarding essential workers in their own jurisdictions.  The guidelines encompass residential work as well as commercial and industrial applications and are likely to cover technical services including locksmithing and network support, among others.

The list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” identified by the CISA Report include:

* Maintenance of communications infrastructure including privately owned and maintained communication systems supported by technicians, operators, call-centres, wireline and wireless providers, cable service providers, satellite operations, undersea cable landing stations, Internet exchange points, and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment
* Installation, maintenance and repair technicians that establish, support or repair service as needed
* Customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, and troubleshooting
* Dispatchers involved with service repair and restoration.

While the U.S. has designated security industry works critical, in the UK, the BSIA is still pleading with the government to clarify the status of security officers who carry out private security work, including cash in transit, for its members. Presently there has been no response but given many security staff and contractors are engaged in critical industries including healthcare, utilities, transport, vital public services, local and national government administration, along with public safety and national security, it seems certain many fall into that category. The same ruling should apply to monitoring stations supporting vital infrastructure.

David Ward, chair of the City Security Council said last week that clarity around security teams would: “avoid buildings being left vulnerable and ensure building management systems and fire and intruder alarms could continue to be monitored and responded to in the event of an activation. With so many businesses reliant on home working at this current time it is essential that their building hubs are kept in a safe good working order.”

Security systems in Australia protect some of the nation’s key pieces of infrastructure, as well as supporting law enforcement, emergency services, utilities and much, much more. The same level of importance applies to teams in Australian security control rooms monitoring hundreds of thousands of sites across the nation.

* New Zealand has classified security services as essential services under its Stage 4 lockdown laws – full update coming shortly (Ed, March 31).