Today’s vital business information now fills datacenters instead of file cabinets. These facilities are critical to the operations of almost any company or government agency. As the amount of data scales, customers have more reasons to be concerned about all facets of security. Just as firewalls, antivirus and other cyber security methods are standard expectations for the network, so is physical protection of each data center facility, where a tremendous volume of information is aggregated into a concentrated area, exposing new risks.

Physical security is a key operational element for keeping datacenters secure. Vehicles and pedestrians travel near these facilities, and the centers must be well guarded against intrusion. Datacenters must ensure that, for example, someone cannot just walk in and steal information using a flash drive, enter viruses behind the firewall, or attempt sabotage.

Outdoor video analytic systems have found a new and growing market in providing physical security for data centers. Yet, there are a number of challenges unique to datacenters that are well served by a smart video solution. During working hours, data centers use video analytic detection and assessment systems to help operators observe and analyze pedestrian and vehicular traffic. During off hours, the centers rely on these same solutions to provide a buffer zone of early detection of breaches and video detail post-event analysis, enabling operators to intercept and prosecute violators.

Like any perimeter security strategy, early detection is key for preemptive awareness, and smart cameras play a vital role. Video analytic cameras work day and night, obtaining a wide range of information to thwart sophisticated attacks where pre-surveillance often takes place. Potential intruders who plan to break in will most often monitor the facility in advance of their breach. When security professionals are alerted to this activity with video detail, a heightened level of security can be put into place to ensure appropriate response to this elevated security environment.

Safety is another concern addressed by video analytics. Datacenters are increasingly located in suburban areas, where illumination is either not allowed or not desired as it would otherwise draw unwanted attention. The use of smart thermal cameras can provide an optimal detection source for these situations because they can detect intrusions that might occur even in complete darkness. Datacenters utilize high-voltage step-down transformers to meet power requirements, creating a dangerous environment for anyone who may scale the fence for sabotage or more innocent purposes like retrieving a baseball or family pet.

Until recently, there’s been disappointment among customers applying video analytics to outdoor applications due to the nuisance alarms associated with widely varying environment of lighting, wind, and weather. Key to solving the nuisance alarm problem is the use of tremendous on-board video processing within each smart camera to tame the variations of the outdoor environment in advance of applying analytics. These systems are now being deployed to accurately detect the entry of unauthorized persons or vehicles to datacenter facilities. Such smart cameras use video processing to filter the effects of environmental elements and provide accurate detection regardless of wind, weather or the movement of small animals, trees or blowing trash on the ground. When security operations receive accurate information they can mount an appropriate response relative to the nature of the alert.

Achieving security awareness around datacenters is dependent on knowing the location and nature of an intrusion. For this reason, video analytic cameras can be designed to employ GPS information to determine the size, speed and bearing of detected objects. This information can be used to track the location of detected intruders onto a site map of the facility for real-time, coordinated response. The same GPS information can also be used to steer Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras to automatically zoom and follow intruders for close-up identification.

Video analytic cameras can be an economical solution as well. The same video processing that gives these smart cameras their outdoor detection accuracy also gives them greater coverage area. These cameras can automatically detect human-sized objects at distances that exceed 600 meters. As a result, infrastructure requirements (poles, communications and power) can be greatly reduced, lowering overall project costs substantially. A video analytic system designed for a high degree of accuracy in the outdoors is also considered a force multiplier in increasing security effectiveness at datacenters.

Mission-critical information is safe, secure and trusted when cyber and physical security work together for optimal results.