Perimeter security: the big picture

Cyber Security Crashcourse [Download]

Sign up to free email newsletters



So often an afterthought compared to access control or CCTV, the perimeter security market is set for years of strong growth as governments prioritise counter-terror and reductions in illegal immigration.

IFSEC Global delivers an overview of the perimeter security/perimeter protection markets.

What does perimeter security mean?

Physical perimeter security can be defined as systems and technologies that protect people and assets within a facility and its grounds by blocking unauthorised physical intrusions across the perimeter.

Myriad defence ‘layers’ should be equipped to protect the boundary and should comprise: the holistic site and property perimeter, eg the fence line; the inner territory perimeter, eg specific buildings or key infrastructure; the building façade perimeter, ie the external building shell; and the internal perimeter, eg internal space where restricted access is necessary. Each layer should help delay, deter and detect intrusion.

Over the past decade, advances in technology have helped increase the scope of perimeter security systems. Historically used to prevent and detect intrusions in military facilities, critical infrastructure, and other high-risk sites, perimeter security solutions are now being used in areas such as commercial and residential sites, retail spaces, transportation sites, and many other urban and remote locations.

chain-link-security-fence

Perimeter security can include video detection, intrusion detection, access control, security fencing and gates, and barriers and bollards. The type of systems and technologies deployed will depend on the likely intrusion risks, which can range from vandalism and protests from activists, to criminal theft, espionage and, at worst, terrorism.

While there has been huge investment in CCTV and electronic security systems, physical perimeter security hasn’t always received the same attention. This is beginning to change

A robust perimeter barrier aimed at impeding intruders should combine a fence or wall with security lighting and surveillance, eg a perimeter intruder detection system (PIDS) and CCTV.

Toppings, including barbed wire and spikes, act as a deterrent to climbing a fence or wall by increasing the height of the barrier, as well as providing the opportunity for a would-be intruder to become entangled or injured.

A neglected market no more

While there has been huge investment in CCTV and electronic security systems, physical perimeter security hasn’t always received the same attention. This is beginning to change, however, as perimeter security systems become embedded into integrated security strategies.

Market drivers include: the growing terrorist threat; increased awareness of issues around illegal immigration; technological trends in video surveillance; the need to reduce manpower costs; investment in smart city infrastructure; and more stringent government regulations and industry standards for perimeter security.

Recognising this growing demand IFSEC International has announced the launch of a Borders & Infrastructure “show within a show” for 2017.

PAS 68 and hostile vehicle mitigation

PAS 68, for example, is a Publicly Available Specification for vehicle security barriers, which the UK government developed in partnership with perimeter security manufacturers. It has become the UK’s standard and the security industry’s benchmark for hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) equipment.

It is also the specification against which perimeter security equipment is tested as part of research to prevent vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attacks. If a product meets the PAS 68 standard, end users can be confident that it is high quality and will operate as expected.
One innovation in the field IFSEC Global has reported on is Blokade, a toblerone-shaped anti-vehicle device.

Major players in perimeter protection

The global perimeter security market is estimated to reach US$21 billion by 2020, growing at 8% CAGR during 2015-2021, according to market research analysts Research and Markets. North America is currently the most advanced region for perimeter security technology, however, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa are expected to emerge as high-growth markets over the next five years.

Key players include Anixter International, Axis Communications, Fiber Sensys, FLIR Systems, Honeywell International, RBtec Perimeter Security Systems, Senstar, Southwest Microwave, Tyco, United Technologies Corporation, and Xtralis, among others.

Multi-layered perimeter protection

With growing perimeter security threats, demand for multi-layered perimeter protection has increased. Technologies growing in popularity include next-generation fence-mounted sensors, infrared, and integrated fibre-optic PIDS. Thermal cameras and video analytics are also popular solutions, while intrusion detection technologies such as microwave, seismic sensors and radar are also experiencing high growth.

Indeed, radar has the advantage of working in most lighting and weather conditions, while it can also survey large areas that might otherwise require numerous cameras to achieve the same detection coverage. Nevertheless, video surveillance cameras are being deployed for perimeter security at a high rate and are an integral part of most perimeter security strategies.

Designing a perimeter security solution

When considering how to design a perimeter security solution, it is worth considering factors such as: visibility – what perimeter protection is visible and what it looks like, and if any critical assets are visible and could be hidden away; local information and statistics – local crime rates, first-responder locations, etc; landscape and environmental conditions – terrain, weather, lighting, etc; power requirements – eg for certain barrier systems.

How you respond to a detected intrusion should also be considered – how well trained and equipped are your responders?

The future of perimeter security

While perimeter security has an obvious deterrent purpose, its increased use in urban areas, and in commercial, retail and public applications, has focused attention on marking territories in a non-aggressive way through landscaping and other softer design elements.

In the case of vehicle barriers, for example, users should consider their materials and finishes, and whether they are low maintenance and are suitably sensitive to the surrounding environment.

Such is the importance of design that some perimeter security products, such as security planters, are being manufactured with an aesthetic purpose in mind.

Self-driving security patrol vehicles with CCTV, sensor and audio/visual capabilities may be on the horizon soon

The high cost of perimeter security systems can be a constraining factor in market adoption, however, costs are falling, particularly in respect of thermal cameras. Perimeter intrusion detection systems are also susceptible to false alarms caused by animals, weather, etc.

Improving reliability is therefore a key challenge for the sector, and will also be important in ensuring that perimeter security and business continuity strategies are aligned and don’t conflict with one another.

In the future, perimeter security could become part of a connected technology system, which is able to profile specific locations, and match the skills and competencies of manpower required for each area.

When disruptions occur in different parts of an organisation, this connected technology will be able to analyse and identify information that could point to a serious threat, and raise alarms when business safeguards and operational processes are compromised.

Other innovations include aerial surveillance, via balloons and drones. The latter, in particular, may become popular if manufacturers can extend their battery life and if analytic capabilities can be integrated.

Robotics could also be part of future perimeter protection strategies. Indeed, there are already devices that can travel along monorails and patrol perimeters, as well as respond to suspected intrusions.

Self-driving security patrol vehicles with CCTV, sensor and audio/visual capabilities may also be on the horizon soon.


Climate change dominates biggest global threats in 2019

The effects of manmade global warming account for more than half of the top 10 threats identified by The Global Risks Report 2019, published by the World Economic Forum. Read More

WATCH: Surveillance, security and privacy in the IoT

A panel debate exploring challenges and issues for stakeholders responsible for 'security by design and default' plus 'data protection by design and default' in smart devices and systems installed in smart buildings and smart city projects. Read More

Gatwick Airport spends £5m on anti-drone tech after Christmas chaos costs £20m-plus in lost revenue

Gatwick airport spent £5m on counter-drone technology in the days following drone-related disruption in the run-up to Christmas. It’s almost certain this sum was dwarfed by revenue lost by the airport and airlines. Read More

Axis Communications launches explosion-protected camera for hazardous environments

Axis Communications has launched an explosion-protected network camera certified with Class I, I/II/III, Division 1 and Zone 1, as well as ATEX and IECEx. Read More

With anti-drone tech on the market, why was Gatwick Airport so unprepared?

As it emerged that a range of anti-drone technology exists, there has been disbelief – and outright frustration for stranded passengers – that Gatwick Airport has been left impotent. Read More

WATCH: Gatwick Airport shutdown renews calls for anti-drone technology

Hundreds of flights have been suspended at one of the UK's busiest after drones were spotted over the airfield on several occasions last night and this morning. Read More

5 top trends for the physical security sector in 2019

Axis Communications CTO Johan Paulsson foresees 2019 as a year when businesses ramp up use of artificial intelligence and edge computing as well as smart technology to deliver environmental benefits. Cybersecurity will inevitably remain a preoccupation for businesses of all types. Read More

Converged Security Centre in partnership with Vidsys returns to IFSEC International 2019

After a successful debut in 2018, the Converged Security Centre is set to return to IFSEC International 2019. Read More

HID Global extends HID goID to help governments roll out mobile citizen IDs

Identity solutions developer HID Global has extended its HID goID mobile identity management solution for deploying and managing mobile citizen ID programmes. Read More

AI start-up AnyVision is first beneficiary of Qualcomm Ventures’ $100m AI fund

AnyVision, a developer of face, body and object recognition technology, is the first beneficiary of Qualcomm Ventures’ $100m fund for […] Read More