Guest Column | August 13, 2015

Managing Risks In Utility And Substation Physical Security

By Reinier Tuinzing, Strategic Alliance Manager, Americas, Milestone Systems

Access Control In An IP Video Surveillance Market

Traditionally, electrical substation security was aimed only at preventing access to stop vandalism and improve safety. But today, security efforts have been redefined to address new threats in order to protect critical infrastructure. Substations are a critical element in the distribution of high-voltage electrical networks, and any disruption can have a severe negative impact on society.

With these new threats have come new government mandates that drive more security implementations. Fortunately, there are technologies available that can assist utilities in their compliance with the new requirements.

Today, utilities must address threats from multiple areas: theft, cyber terrorism, and destructive attacks. For example, the higher price of copper has escalated many instances of stealing wires, pipes, and tubing over recent years.

While in the past the electrical grid operated with concepts and mechanisms that relied on physical or manual resources, modern systems have become a technological, interoperating network of control and data acquisition. Electrical generation, a foundation of modern convenience that contributes significantly to higher quality of daily life, has grown to become a critical component of practical and economic stability — and therefore a major focus in national security, vulnerable to acts of terrorism. The challenges can be daunting.

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