Key Considerations of Perimeter Security Solutions

Clearfix
JohnA's picture
Perimeter security: The first line of defence
Perimeter security: The first line of defence

For many large, high security applications, particularly in government applications, secure perimeters are a vital front line against intrusion, deterring attacks and reporting events using integrated electronic detection solutions. 

OPERATIONALLY, the push for PSIM-style situational awareness is only as effective as the edge devices that inform security management systems. What this means is that perimeter security solutions of quality are vital comes to delivering operational outcomes for large, high security government sites. 

According to Ezi Automation’s Rod Acland, every security practitioner that has learned their trade knows the holy law is to address the ‘whole of risk’ situation. 

“While extinguishing a fire requires cutting only one leg of the risk triangle; heat, fuel or oxygen – eliminate one and the fire is out; with security the whole solution triangle must be maintained,” Acland explains. “For instance, 1) Resistance, 2) surveillance/detection, 3) response. Unless all 3 of these functions perform their role – the solution fails." 

“Not much is gained other than evidence for review after the event, if the attack or intrusion is recorded on video, while resistance yielded before an effective response could resolve the situation. Certainly, the further out the perimeter is established, and effective defences are implemented, the greater the capacity for surveillance and detection to alert the response required in time to counter the risk.” 

According to Acland, the central operational requirement/function of any perimeter security solution is to repel attack or intrusion entirely or buy sufficient time for adequate response. If he was selecting a perimeter solution on behalf of a government client with a large, high security site, Acland says there would be specific broad that it would need to offer. 

“I’d be looking to minimise the potential speed of incoming vehicle borne attack with traffic calming measures such as road diversions, speed humps, chicanes, outer barrier checkpoints, etc,” Acland says. “Energy encountered at an impact is calculated as the product of the mass of the vehicle times the square of the velocity. Any capacity to reduce the speed of an attacking vehicle contributes exponentially to reducing impact."

“I’d also establish outer and multiple perimeter rings where at all possible. Buy stand-off, buy time for response. Pressure from a blast increases at the cube rate of the distance as the detonation increases in proximity – what this means is that distance save lives. Further, perimeter lines must encompass 100 per cent of the boundary and the weakest link is the critical measure of perimeter strength.”

Something that’s well worth discussing, too, is how important physical barriers are when it comes to perimeter security solutions. Acland argues that in most circumstances, security mangers should consider barriers to be essential.

“Perimeter establishment and hardening must be first priority wherever possible,” Acland says. “Society is learning worldwide that perimeter breaches are of negligible cost when survival of the assailant is of no priority.”
When it comes to zoning – the ability to offer security managers geographic sensitivity within perimeter security solutions – how should such systems be designed, commissioned and managed? Should they be integrated into access control and intrusion and report as labelled zones or be dedicated systems incorporating video surveillance and mapping, or all these, depending on the application?

“Outer perimeter security is the first step in ‘security in depth’ and an essential ingredient in consideration of the overall solution,” Acland says. “It is the point at which hostile attack and unauthorised intrusion of any kind is first encountered. 90 per cent of accompanying systems, procedures and responses are calibrated from the starting point of perimeter measures.”

In your opinion should high security government end users always integrate CCTV with perimeter systems?

“Of course,” Acland says. “CCTV reduces risk to, and exponentially enhances efficiency of personnel maintain surveillance of the perimeter. Perimeter security is the foundation upon which the effectiveness and safe operation of the security response force is established.”

“We exhibited Safetyflex spring technology fixed and removable bollard system, on display for the first time in Australia at SAGE in Canberra recently,” explains Acland. “Ezi Security Systems is actively engaged in implementing this game-changing technological breakthrough at several high-risk sites in Australia. This innovation has enabled extreme performance in repelling hostile vehicle attacks with astoundingly shallow foundation requirements compared with any competitive system, through active energy reflection as opposed to passive absorption of energy via massive foundation and static resistance.

“Coupled with the shallow foundation Wedge II; the world’s most effective roadway barrier capable of arresting hostile vehicles with ruthless efficiency, minimal interference with existing services, and instant deployment where necessary, Ezi Security systems delivers the most advanced, cost effective innovations in engineered security applications throughout the world, here in Australia, today.”

Meanwhile, Gallagher’s perimeter product manager, Dave Solly, says that over the past few years perimeter security solutions have become further integrated into the security management platforms. 

“In a high security application, it’s important to take a multi-layered approach to perimeter security,” says Solly. “If choosing a single technology, I’d recommend a system that provides a safe and effective deterrent while ensuring a high probability of detection with minimal false alarms. To my knowledge, the most cost-effective way to achieve this is through a monitored pulse (energised) fence system. Adding additional layers and technology, such as video and discrete detection to the security solution, increases the situational awareness of the site and can provide faster validation of alarms. This ensures the appropriate, coordinated response to any alarm raised.”

When it comes to the central operational requirement/functions of any perimeter security solution, Solly argues each site is unique and differs in its requirements. 

“For a high security site, generally the central operational requirement is to protect people and assets by detecting and deterring possible attacks,” he explains.

For Solly, the core capabilities of a perimeter security solution include:

* Prevention – the type of physical barrier and deterrence system required
* Detection – appropriate technology or technologies to deliver a high probability of detection, multi-layered solution, minimal false alarms
* Management – Centralised fully integrated solution.

“I would argue physical barriers are an extremely important part of the perimeter security solution,” Solly says. “Without a physical barrier, the effectiveness of the detection system is impacted and the response time to an alarm becomes critical as there is no means of delaying a breach at the perimeter.”

Solly argues perimeter solutions should they be integrated into access control and intrusion solutions and supported in a way that best suits the application. 

“In high security applications, perimeter security should be a core component of the access/intruder solution,” he says. “Zoning around a perimeter needs to be based on the sites requirements. For example, in some correctional facilities, the fence detection zone is based on a fixed camera view of around 75 metres. This provides security personal with a single camera view for the alarm. Vertical zones within the horizontal detection zone is also becoming more common in high security applications. This provides an indication of not just where, but how the attack is occurring, such as climbing over the fence or crawling through it.

According to Solly, high security government end users always integrate CCTV with perimeter systems.

“Integration of a video solution provides quick validation of an alarm and visual evidence of any attack that occurs,” he says.

Meanwhile, Saab Australia’s director sales – Civil Solutions, Darren Ramsay, argues that perimeter security solutions are vital in many high security applications.

“At Saab we see that all subsystem integration is of the utmost importance and choosing the right vendor that will perform and meet and exceed the customers’ expectations,” Ramsay says. “So, choosing the right system for the perimeter is important. The perimeter most times is your first line of defence, you want this to be a number of systems to ensure there are no gaps in your technical solution.”

From the point of view of security managers, it’s tough to establish what offers the best performance for spend when it comes to perimeter security. Is it thermal cameras that push perimeter a long way out? Powered fences that make physical barriers a proactive part of a site’s security deterrence capability? Fence-mounted detection solutions? Discrete microwave or AIRS beams that allow topical applications of detection in high risk areas? VMD/IVA powered CCTV solutions like Panomera? Existing CCTV systems with IVA capability? Which is best and why? 

“It really comes down to what presence are you trying to create,” argues Ramsay. “If you want to create a high security area that is warning everyone to stay away, you make it a visible one with large fences, thermal cameras, fence-mounted detection and a lot of signage. If you have a high security area near other buildings and want to create an atmosphere of a secure building and have a low profile of perimeter security, you would install discrete microwave or AIRS or PE Beams and underground sensing fibre cabling with minimal signage. It all really depends on the environment and the presence you want to create.”

According to Ramsay, when it comes to the central operational requirement/function of any perimeter security solution, because this is the first line of defence to the outside world it must be proactive in its operation, not reactive. Something else that’s important from a functional point of view is that the system be open to integration. 

“You want an open architecture to ensure the perimeter system will interface to a variety of PSIMs or an SMS,” he says. “It should be a system capable of being installed in all weather conditions. In the same vein, what should the focus of government security teams be when they think about perimeter security? They need to see the benefits of having a perimeter solution if serious about their security. The more layers of perimeter security, the more time the security team has to engage intruders and minimize threat of attack or intrusion into the facility or building/s. Something else that’s important is finding a value for money solution, which is always a big capex driver.”

According to Ramsay, there are some applications where physical security barriers are vital. 

“As we’ve seen around the world, including Australia, vehicles of all sizes are being used in terrorist attacks which are mostly initiated by lone wolves,” he explains. “A physical or static barrier can be a low-cost solution, but as we all understand when it comes to motor vehicle barriers to control traffic (motorized bollards, boom gates and BFGs), these are not a cheap installation. However, they are very effective at ensuring your site is secure from a vehicle attack. These barriers are essential for sites that have a higher risk of attack, high volumes of pedestrian movement and sites where you want to reduce the risk of vehicles packed with explosives. This will ensure any damage is minimized.”

When it comes to zoning – the ability to offer security managers geographic sensitivity within perimeter security solutions is never easy to establish how should such systems be designed, commissioned and managed. Should they be integrated into access control and intrusion and report as labelled zones or be dedicated systems incorporating video surveillance and mapping, or all these, depending on the application? In such cases, Ramsay argues all secure perimeters should be zoned and supported by video surveillance. 

“Depending on the application and site being assessed, all perimeters need to be zoned and CCTV cameras assigned to the best field of view when perimeter alarms are created,” he says. “This really should be a mandatory criteria/scope required for high security (Type 1/1A) sites. 

“Along with security internal perimeters and EACS for movement and vehicle control, you should also have the perimeter fence detection system break the zone down into smaller segments, so you can focus in on the alarm location. This ensures your security posture is proactive and not reactively looking for the alarm trigger, which could be a human factor or something else.” 

According to Ramsay, Saab is bringing its OneView solution to SAGE and will show interfaces to a number of perimeter fence detection systems. 

“This allows a multi-vendor arrangement where the customer is not locked in to one solution,” he says. “Of interest at SAGE, we will demonstrate how the security guarding service can rapidly respond to alarms created on the perimeter.”