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Security Planning and Assessment: Emerging Technologies in Physical Security Customer Inserts His/her Name
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Physical security involves the security measures undertaken to restrict people’s access to facilities, buildings, or stored information. The essence of the physical security measures is to protect the facilities or sites from human intrusion, catastrophic damage including floods, earthquake, or fire and malfunctioning of the utility due to power loss.
A suitable physical security should comprise of four fundamental aspects, which aims at providing defense to a facility or a site (Kendall, 1999, p. 42). It should primarily deter and delay human intrusion and in case of intrusions, it should be able to detect the intrusion and respond appropriately often by denying access.
The technology used in physical security has undergone significant changes to meet the security needs of the current facilities such as webhosting sites and data centers.
The traditional physical security systems involved identification cards and security guards. , Advanced technologies such as biometric identification that provide positive identification of people entering facilities are however replacing the traditional systems (Branscomb, 1993, p. 115).
However, most of these security systems are often costly and may be prone to risk such as security breach by the facility personnel. The security measures should have features that provide security while allowing limited access by the facility personnel.
Before investing in the new security measures, it is important to consider the specific security demands of the facility and the cost-effectiveness of implementing such security technologies.
Considerations in Physical Security Systems
Before implementing a particular security system, facilities consider a variety of factors. The cost of the equipment is fundamental to any physical security design. Often the budget constraints would limit investment in expensive technologies, which offer high confidence.
The identification equipments in technologies such as iris and fingerprint recognition are usually expensive and not all facilities can afford them.
The most appropriate approach under these circumstances is to employ a wide range of security measures, which offer varied levels of security as per the security requirements of the facility.
Another strategy is to combine technologies such as video surveillance and biometric technologies to make the identification more reliable. Combining the lower-cost security technologies can be effective.
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It involves equipping of the outer perimeters and inner levels of a facility with video surveillance, which have high security needs, with combined technologies such as fingerprint/iris identification and the video surveillance system. Under this strategy, the innermost level has a combined protection technologies from all the outer perimeters making it more secure.
Physical security systems should also be user-friendly and acceptable to users. The ease of use of a new security system reduces the user’s frustrations in case of the security measures and lowers the temptations to subvert the security systems. In addition, the security systems should provide reliable identification to reduce subversion.
The new security design should also be compatible with the already existing security systems. This reduces loss of information on replacement with new technologies.
It also prevents interruption of business ensuring that the replacement of the old security systems does not affect corporate productivity. The security managers should consider the scalability of the new security measures.
The new design implementation should be in phases depending on the security needs of the facility, availability of funds and the reliability of the security measures.
In addition, assessment is critical for each area that needs protection. The assessment depends on the information or items protected and the personnel who should access the facility.
Biometric technologies employ automated methods to identify an individual based on his/her biological/physiological and behavioral characteristics. The common biometric modalities integrated in biometric technologies include fingerprint recognition, whereby security agents use fingerprint scanners to verify an individual’s identity by searching on a fingerprint database.
Iris recognition is another emerging technology, whereby a picture of an infrared illuminated iris stored in a database helps to identify the individual (Kendall, 1999, p. 45). The other technologies include hand/finger geometry, which measures the hand digits and compares them with the ones stored in biometric database.
Gait recognition is also another identification modality. It measures the appearance of a person when walking. The retina recognition identifies the structure of the back of the eye and compares it with existing data in order to identify the person.
Facial recognition is another important biometric technology, which employs automated methods to identify faces based on the facial characteristics. Humans have trouble in identifying unfamiliar faces.
However, with the new facial recognition technology that uses high-resolution 2D and 3D images, identification of unfamiliar persons is now possible (Ratha, Connell, & Bolle, 2001, 614).
Other modalities measured by biometric technologies include voice recognition, which the physical characteristics of the voice box of an individual influences, dynamic signature, which measures the pressure applied when signing and the keystroke dynamics, which measures an individual’s typing patterns. Facial thermograph technology measures the facial temperature of an individual and compares with the existing data.
A biometric security system consists of five main components. The first component is the sensor often located at the entry points to a facility. The sensor functions in a simplified manner by picking patient’s biological account and puts the info digital format.
The second component is the algorithm that processes the signal from the sensor and develops a digital template. The third component, the data storage database, stores information used when comparing with new biometric templates. By using the already stored information in the database, a corresponding algorithm equates the new template.
When the new template has a matching algorithm, the decision process commences and this results into restriction of an individual without a match in the database and access by an authorized person whose data corresponds to database templates.
However, before carrying out the biometric techs, it is important to weigh different elements concerning the technology. The location of the facility would determine the security risks of exposure of the facility and warrant the need for a biometric system.
The task of the biometric system i.e. identification or verification determines the biometric technology requirement of a facility. The expected number of users and the amount of existing data influences the effectiveness of the biometric implementation process. Biometric technologies, when effectively implemented can offer high-level security to facilities.
However, biometric identification technologies often experience two types of failures. The technologies may fail to identify a legitimate user causing frustrations to individuals. In addition, the systems may erroneously recognize an imposter as a legitimate user, which can compromise the security of facilities or sites.
Stationary cameras can record the registration number plates of vehicles when placed at strategic entry points. Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras can provide an effective monitoring and surveillance of a facility (Black, Ellis, & Makris, 2003, p. 25).
The CCTV cameras when exposed or hidden can provide monitoring and review of past incidences. They can be remote-controlled or fixed recording exterior or interior events in a facility. This deters them from criminal activities.
When implementing camera surveillance, the security manager should consider various factors. The images recorded by the camera should be easily identifiable by use of the other identification techniques such as the biometric technologies. In addition, addressing issues such as the indexing and cataloguing the tapes is important to allow easy retrieval.
Among the pertinent issues are procedures of retrieving the tapes as well as the persons mandated to access the tapes. The storage duration of the tapes before destroying them is also important.
Previously, most of the video recording involved use of VCR to record images, but the emerging trends in the surveillance system involves digital recording using digital video records (DVRs).
The DVRs unlike the VCRs, which recorded images in tapes, record images into hard drives. In addition, DVRs enhance quality of the stored image compared to the analogue VCR tape.
The DVR provides fast and efficient reviewing of the video incidences compared to the analogue VCR system. However, the digitization and the closed circuit codes used by the DVRs are nonstandard making integrated monitoring by the security companies difficult.
A better format involving the IP video allows centralized recording and monitoring by the security companies. In this way, the IP videos offer an easier way of management of security systems situated in multiple locations (Gilliom, 2001, p. 127).
Convergence security technologies allow control of many security functions including IP videos and intrusion detection in a facility. Additionally, only a single infrastructure is required to facilitate security functions hence cost-effective.
Latest formats used include the motion JPEG and MPEG4 allow web browser viewing overcoming the heavy bandwidth problems experienced by the IPTV security system (Monahan, 2000, p. 77).
The security camera records allow investigators to have a more critical look into the evidence involving a crime, emergencies, and fire outbreaks.
These new technologies are efficient in improving the security system of a facility. However, implementation of a camera surveillance system and the maintenance of the whole security system are often costly.
The systems installed in buildings and facilities integrate motion sensors into the alarm system to notify security guards of intrusion. The sensors integrated into alarm systems may be footstep sensors, vibration sensors, touch sensors, and laser beam barriers (Cai, & Agrarian, 1996, p. 67).
In most cases, the sensors are network enabled, allowing monitoring from a central management system. Motion sensors integrate other devices that alert the user of any movement within a particular area.
The motion sensors are important components of business or home security systems. Motion sensors are of three types; the infrared sensors, which use body heat to detect the presence of a person, the microwave sensors that uses microwave pulses to detect a moving object and the ultrasonic motion sensors, which uses pulses to detect the presence of a moving object.
A standard security system in a residential or commercial place involves a motion detector, an interior siren, and security locks. The interior siren acts as a deterrent to intrusion by notifying the owner when an intruder is present.
The position of the motion detectors is often strategic, especially at common entry points to homes or commercial buildings. For the motion sensors to work, the security system has to be active.
However, arming the security system at night would trigger the alarm by even the residents or workers moving around the area. On the other hand, disabling the security system when the owner is present only makes the residence vulnerable.
Motion sensors are expensive to implement and the security system consisting of motion sensors alone cannot be reliable. Motion sensors need in-built alarm systems to deter security breaches.
Motion Tracking Cameras
Motion tracking cameras involve using a system of cameras to track the image of a person tracked in a large area over a specific duration. A moving camera with a high degree of rotation, with a high coverage area, is more effective in tracking individuals.
In most security systems, multiple fixed cameras placed at strategic locations track motion of individuals (Lyon, 2007, p. 56). The motion tracking cameras have motion detectors that detect movement and follow it.
Once the tracking camera has detected motion, it locks into the particular object and even zooms in the object closely for a better view. The camera can follow the movement of the object within its coverage area.
If the there is a tracking connected to a recording device, a video of the movement of the object can be obtained. In motion tracking, one camera automatically transfers the track object to another camera, which allows for effective tracking of the object.
The motion tracking assumes that given time, the tracked object will follow similar routes as the inter camera routes. Since the motion tracking requires the use of a system of cameras, it requires a centralized management system, which is expensive to establish and manage.
Radio Frequency Identification
The radio frequency identification (RFID) describes an automatic security system that uses radio waves to convey the identity. The RFID has an antenna that gives out radio signals that detects the tag and reads the data on it allowing tracking of tagged objects.
An RFID system allows transmission of data from tag to the RFID reader that reads and processes the information (Gilliom, 2001, p. 129). The data transmitted by the RFID provides information about location or identity of an object or person.
They are important in tracking and identification of moving objects. The RFID tag has an integrated microchip read by a device called the reader. The reader transmits the information in form of radio waves to a computer system, which processes the information to identify or locate the object or person.
The RFID technology has currently enhanced control access to office buildings, which employed low frequency RFID tags. The RFID technology is convenient compared to the other identification measures, as it requires the employee to hold up the entry badge to gain access. In addition, there is less wear and tear of the tag as there is no exposure of the card to the reader and therefore less maintenance costs.
As the number of webhosting sites and data management centers increase, the physical security needs continue to increase. Human intrusion into these sites can cause substantial damage through software attack when the computers are not password protected.
Mistakes from the personnel can also affect the operations as it can cause the disabling of essential equipment. The emerging technologies offer restricted access by allowing essential personnel to the webhosting sites and the data centers. Implementation of the evolving technologies is often expensive.
When implementing these security measures, the security needs, the cost effectiveness and the potential of the technology to offer a broad range of solutions and need consideration. Through an assessment of the emerging technologies, realization of a realistic balance between protection and cost is possible.
Black, J., Ellis, T., & Makris, D. (2003). Wide Area Surveillance with a Multi-Camera Network. Intelligent Distributed Surveillance Systems, 21, 25-28.
Branscomb, L. (1993). Empowering technology: Implementing a U.S. strategy. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. Cai, Q., & Agrarian, J. (1996) Tracking Human Motion using Multiple Cameras. International Conference on Pattern Recognition, 4, 67-69.
Gilliom, J. (2001). Overseers of the Poor: Surveillance, Resistance, and the Limits of Privacy. New York: University Of Chicago Press.
Kendall, K. (1999). Emerging information technologies: Improving decisions, cooperation and infrastructure. Calif: Sage Publications.
Lyon, D. (2007) Surveillance Studies: An Overview. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Monahan, T. (2000). Surveillance and Security: Technological Politics and Power in Everyday Life New York: Routledge.
Ratha, N., Connell, J., & Bolle, R. (2001). Enhancing security and privacy in biometrics-based authentication systems. IBM systems Journal, 40(6), 614-616.