Modern perimeter security applies in many forms, from high security and restricted access sites (e.g., military bases) to high-tech luxury wholesale and retail locations with significant pedestrian traffic passing through the front entrance. Effective psychological demarcation is an increasingly important feature of defining a perimeter when classical techniques such as fencing are not available.

Attacks on companies with modern technology, such as drones, present new challenges in vertically expanding perimeters. Security leaders and risk management professionals are now faced with preventing more sophisticated means of intrusion. However, the good news is that there are a variety of new tools to help you design a smarter and more protected perimeter.

Redefining the Perimeter

Some security planners use a simple technique – the classic in-depth defense layer model – with 5Ds (Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay and Defend) applied at each level. This model includes descriptions of permitted and prohibited uses related to times and other events such as storms and natural disasters. Determining use is key, as this updates the security plan of the facility and the model should now also include airspace.

The key to designing an economical and cost-effective solution is to understand how people and vehicles moving from one perimeter layer to the next, affects potential threats. Often, facility planners do not want strict access control measures that conflict with the company’s brand along the perimeter, such as fencing and gates. Therefore, the real “hard line” is often the building itself. Every opening in the building, including entrances, windows and utility gates, must be identified and secured with sound design. Lately, trends also include improved access control systems and credentials, such as smart cards, optical switches and smart video surveillance systems.

Threats from Drones

The security perimeter now includes both physical and cyber security issues in an environment where security costs are always a concern. Experts must design control measures for each boundary level, taking into account threats to human privacy and the company’s wireless networks from rogue drones and other technologies. Drones are an increasingly common threat and designing a perimeter defense in conjunction with cyber security is a growing necessity. The axiom, “If I can touch it, I can get it,” is valid, both physically and digitally. In some cases, tools such as anti-drone systems and interference systems are effective in several cases. No matter how possible the drone hazard may be, it remains a threat to be considered in a perimeter security plan.

Perimeter Protection Technology

Many standard perimeter protection technologies have been improved with the advent of new technologies. Perimeter detection technologies, including LiDAR and radar systems, artificial intelligence cameras (AI) systems and fence intrusion detection systems, have been greatly improved. Improvements aim at detailing accuracy and time efficiency, while allowing for a more autonomous and intelligent alarm assessment and start-up response. For example, fence accelerators reduce alarms on intrusion detection systems, and AI-enabled cameras have advanced behavioral recognition algorithms.

Similarly, GPS tracking and geographical fencing for virtual perimeter protection are gaining ground. Many of these control measures can be included into an integrated API system, that integrates seamless detection and alert functions while helping to ensure greater efficiency and operator confidence while minimizing false alarms.

For example, a distributor of luxury retail items with a distribution warehouse, that may be prohibited (urban planning) from installing a barbed wire climbing fence for better control of vehicle and pedestrian access. Applying 5 Ds, the security officer can use a combination of warning signage along the perimeter (Deter) and full building and parking area lighting (Deter and Detect). The lighting system could include automatic high beam during an activity (Deter and Detect). The company can also use a drone for perimeter and area patrols (Detect), an AI video system programmed to detect a variety of unusual behaviors such as aggressive or abnormal movements (Detect) and a PA system for transmitting security messages when needed (Deter). Employees may have an application on their phones to report concerns in real-time (Defend). All of these systems can be integrated into the company’s corporate security platform for seamless management. The building itself may seem ordinary, but upgraded building materials with improved detection technologies offer a complete protection package for people and property, as they protect the perimeter of the building.

The result is a smart and semi-autonomous, multi-level and capable security detection and response program that supports the safety culture of the company’s employees, protects the company’s assets and remains in line with the company’s brand objectives.

The basic principles of perimeter security are truly unchanged since many years, but our ability to automate and improve efficiency through better use of technology, helps fulfill the vision of a site manager while achieving the goals of a security planner. Whether it is a corporate facility, a high value warehouse or a solar power plant, security technology and its thoughtful application achieve what we all want – better and more efficient security.