Physical security systems for critical infrastructure protection

Critical infrastructure refers to facilities that are essential for maintaining public safety and prosperity. These include, for example, electricity and water supplies, transport and communications networks, and health and financial systems. Protecting these facilities is of paramount importance, as their failures can have a significant impact on society and the economy.

To effectively protect critical infrastructure, a holistic approach is required. This includes identifying potential threats, assessing risks and implementing mitigation measures. A key aspect of critical infrastructure protection is compliance with security standards and best practices.


Holistic concepts for perimeter protection of critical infrastructures

Companies are exposed to a wide variety of threats. They range from theft of material and intellectual property, vandalism and sabotage to terrorism and extremism. Effective perimeter protection is a crucial component in blocking these threats. This includes comprehensive access control, outdoor perimeter protection up to and including drone defence, as well as surveillance, for example of border fences or high-security areas.

All-round protection of sensitive objects and infrastructures by law

Criminals and organised crime target businesses and institutions. They break into premises and facilities to sabotage them, steal material or immaterial goods or carry out acts of violence. Some attacks may even be carried out by secret services or political organisations. Legislators have reacted to the increasing threat situation by setting binding minimum security requirements for certain industries such as energy, gas and water suppliers, BOS and blue-light organisations. Nevertheless, companies and institutions outside of these critical infrastructures should not wait until damage has already occurred before taking action.

The recent acts of sabotage on railway infrastructures and Baltic Sea pipelines have made it clear how important it is to protect critical infrastructures. In order to ensure this, the cabinet has adopted key points for the KRITIS umbrella law. For the first time, the law will legally regulate cross-sectoral specifications and structures for the physical protection of critical infrastructures. These specifications will be comprehensively regulated within the framework of the federal government's competences in order to ensure effective security.

Protect critical infrastructures effectively

The good news is that such human hazards can be significantly reduced with three coordinated packages of measures that prevent unauthorised physical intrusion onto the premises. The important thing here is that physical and electronic components form a symbiotic relationship.

  • Effective access controls: On the one hand, this ensures that only authorised persons enter the premises from the outside. On the other hand, particularly sensitive areas within the company can be additionally protected - against outsiders, but also against employees who are not authorised to enter.
  • Barriers against forced entry: Businesses should create these in several layers. Firstly, the site as a whole should be protected, for example with a fence or wall along the site boundary, which can be combined with security lighting and an intrusion detection system. Furthermore, one should additionally shield certain buildings or key infrastructure, for example with security gates, passage barriers or bollards within the site. In this way, if attackers were able to overcome the first hurdle, the intrusion is further impeded as well as delayed and gives the opportunity to react adequately.
  • Surveillance with video technology and alarm transmitters: Here it is crucial that the individual, high-performance solutions, for example for number plate recognition or video surveillance, are networked with each other and with the company IT via interfaces. Furthermore, it is expedient for smooth day-to-day operations in the company if the security systems can be controlled via mobile phone or app.

Maximum protection against vehicle impacts - minimum interference with road construction

With regard to protection from vehicle hazards in critical infrastructure areas, access protection, there is a need for reliable and safe access control systems, especially in areas with increased safety regulations.

With an impact-resistant folding wing gate, ZABAG revolutionises the usual market approach to the realisation of increased access protection, which is required in the area of critical infrastructure.

The FGZ CT folding wing gate helps to protect off-road access roads and at the same time provides impact protection. The folding wing gate can protect against the impact of a 7.2 tonne truck at a speed of 50.5 km/h (certified according to crash test).

The door was designed to get by with the smallest possible foundation and still offer maximum safety. The low installation depth also minimises the risk of collisions with supply or media lines. (Foundation depth for the FGZ CT from ZABAG (650 mm incl. 200 mm coverage, e.g. asphalt)

With a maximum opening and closing speed of up to one metre per second, the MAPO FGZ CT high-speed folding doors achieve opening and closing times of barriers. At the same time, access for people remains safely blocked. An innovative catch mechanism paired with motorised locking additionally effectively prevents vehicles from breaking through. Thanks to these features, it is particularly predestined for applications in the high-security sector. The folding wing gates are mainly installed at embassies, prisons or critical infrastructures.

The low installation depth of only 650 mm and the small dimensioned foundation help to avoid collisions with supply lines or media lines and to reduce costs. Thanks to the special and newly developed lever system, the folding door works reliably and completely without an additional upper or lower guide rail. With the MAPO FGZ CT, frequencies of up to 600 cycles/day are possible.

Martin Burgdorf, Head of Sales at ZABAG Security Engineering GmbH presents the advanced solution:
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