Hasan Alsancak – How Can Drones Help to Corporate Security in Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection?

Hasan Alsancak – How Can Drones Help to Corporate Security in Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection?

Even though still they have some limitations, use of drones (UAV, UAS) the drones (UAV, UAS) should be used by corporate security teams particularly in the protection of the critical energy infrastructures including oil & gas pipelines, refineries, pump stations, industrial facilities, wind systems, solar farms, and others. 

Of course, the drone is not a silver bullet solution for all security needs but should be used as a crucial and complementary element in the multiple layers of the 5Ds (Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay, and Defend) in every strategic security management systems. 


There are different drone applications and solutions fit for almost every industry, which allows you to do things you couldn’t do otherwise at a lower cost compared to using full-time security officers, security patrols, cameras, fencing, and even helicopters. 


There are many ways drones can help corporate security teams in every and each factor of the 5Ds in critical energy infrastructures and make the risk mitigation efforts more efficiently, safely and cost-effectively, including:


  • Security Risk Assessment (SRA): The SRA is the starting point of every holistic corporate security management systems and drones can play an important role in Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay, and Defend layers. Corporate security personnel can use drones to see the full picture of the facilities from the air and have closer look at from every angle to find gaps and vulnerabilities that wouldn’t normally be seen, thanks to a different point of view. 


  • Inspections and Surveillance:  Security teams can inspect, long-distance, large landscapes and monitor high places from the ground thanks to drones. Using a thermal imaging camera makes this possible at night as well. There are four main types of detection sensors used in drone systems: optical/thermal cameras, acoustic, radio, and radar. Seeing things real-time in a 3D and high definition frames, and even listening things, which really changes the dynamic of how you position your security mitigations. 


  • Perimeter Control: In major facilities such as refineries, pipelines, jetty, tank farms, and industrial facilities drones can help monitoring any other outdoor venues. They can detect any defined illegal third-party activities and alarm security command control center, radios and/or mobile phones of the security officers. Through rotating, drones can run around the perimeter 24/7 in almost every weather condition even though with some limitation in severe winter conditions. 


  • Securing Remote Assets: If you’re trying to secure hundreds of kilometers like in oil & gas pipeline operations or large landscapes drones are a great way to watch them against any illegal third-party interventions, activities as well as any other technical aspects around your assets. They can check on oil & gas pipelines, refineries, tanks farms, vessels, solar farms,  wind farms, camps, machinery, and any other infrastructure in remote areas.


  • Security Patrol and Right of Way: A drone can usually get potential problems faster than an officer can and assess the risk so personnel knows better how to respond and react.  Drones also have the capability to analyze images and use audio and video sensors to listen for gunfire, explosions and other identified threats. They’re able to differentiate between gunfire and explosions so they can report to someone that there’s been an explosion at a power plant. If you have a security patrol or right of way team that’s operating in remote locations, they could potentially utilize a drone to do a forward observation of routes and to identify any potential issues that are en route while they’re driving their primaries around.


  • Safety and Emergency Response: Drones are being used as security monitoring and sensing tools, everything from video to audio to infrared but their functions are not limited to those. In addition, they’re being used to fact-finding and delivering critical goods during major incidents such as earthquakes, oil spills, fires, collapsing buildings, land sliding, or traffic accidents to decide the best emergency response action.

Hasan Alsancak is a former Turkish chief of police and a globally known subject matter expert in Critical Energy Infrastructure Security.

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