Securing the Perimeter

The perimeter of a facility is one of the most diversified and difficult areas to properly secure. From a technology viewpoint, electronically securing the perimeter can include many types of sensors and how these sensors overlap and communicate potential breaches in security.

This month, we will look at some good sound perimeter security strategies and then some of the latest technologies being applied.

Perimeter Security Objectives

A properly designed perimeter security system may include several elements such as guards, dogs, physical objects (bollards, walls, mantraps, vehicle barriers, fences) and electronics security including video surveillance. The perfect perimeter is one that is physically secured on both the interior and exterior sides by something physical and is void of any movement (e.g. animals and birds). However, many applications are not perfect and have to be shared with nonthreatening activity.

Selecting the correct application elements is critical for reliable security operations. Let’s take a look some key objectives of perimeter security:

Deterrence – The best of all worlds is deterring someone before even trying to enter a secured area. This may be done with the physical presence of fencing, guards, dogs, video cameras, detection sensors and signage.

Detection – Nothing can happen if the intrusion is not detected. Good and accurate detection by sensors such as fence movement, seismic ground sensor, intelligent infrared and thermal imaging, or video movement with video analytics. Strategic placement of video cameras that are “edge-based” and have video analytics processing built in are becoming very popular. Companies like SightLogix Inc. can now assist security integrators with the whole picture of securing large facility perimeters.

Delay – The perimeter area must have some means to delay the intrusion. This can be mantraps and vehicle barriers, building structure and openings, terrain design such as size and elevation, and additional fences with razor wire. Attack delay needs to be a long enough time for response for private or public authorities.

Assess – If detection information comes from one source it may be difficult for a proper assessment of the intrusion incident. However, if multiple devices and sensors provide similar intrusion information this would make for a faster and more accurate assessment of the intrusion. Technology can also assist with assessment of alarms. One example would be a system with either multiple beam detectors and/or electronic delay settings that would ignore a swift bird. Another popular tactic is the use of video cameras that have their pan, tilt and zoom (p/t/z) automated so that the intruder’s movement is automatically tracked and constantly on video.

Respond – The ultimate action of all of the above is having the resources to respond to an intrusion of the secured premises. This can include either local personnel or devices.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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