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The Role of Security Guards in Protecting Critical Infastructure



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What is Infastructure?

Infrastructure is the underlying structure of a country and its economy, the fixed installations that it needs in order to function properly. Infrastructure refers to roads, bridges, dams, water and sewer operations, waste management, airports, harbors, public and private utilities, and railroads.


Why is the Infrastructure at Risk?

In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of attacks against our country’s infrastructure. Because the infrastructure is so vital to maintaining normalcy in daily life, it’s increasingly important to protect it against attacks of any kind. Security guards can play an important role in infrastructure security.

Who is Responsible for These Attacks?

The country’s infrastructure has become under threats from a variety of players:

  • Terrorism – Attacks such as 9/11 show us that segments of the infrastructure are attractive targets for terrorism because of their potential for large loss of life. The destruction of a dam or the poisoning of water supplies would be examples of this type of attack.
  • Activists – groups that are opposed to certain projects often mount attacks. Examples in recent years have been sabotage to oil pipelines the groups are opposed to. Another example would be attempts to delay or stop infrastructure construction projects.
  • Ransom seekers – it’s become very common for cyber-attacks to be mounted against parts of the infrastructure by individuals or groups that are able to hack into control systems and hold them hostage until a large ransom is paid.
  • Hackers – there are individuals who have no particular agenda but derive pleasure by searching for vulnerabilities in computer systems, breaking into them, and disabling them.
  • State sponsored attacks – these are attacks, either physical or electronic, conducted by nations attempting to gain power over other nations, or to frighten them into capitulation to whatever demands they may have.
  • Random criminals or groups of criminals-some attacks are the work of individuals or groups. An example would be criminals who break into electrical substations to steal copper or other materials.

The risk of attacks against the infrastructure is expected to continue to increase in the future as society becomes increasingly dependent on the infrastructure and as we become more and more interconnected and interdependent. Those with malicious intent will always find these attacks to be attractive because of the high visibility of the consequences. All of this underscore the need for solid infrastructure security.

Infrastructure Security

Because so many parts of our nation’s infrastructure are operated in full or in part by modern computer systems, these systems are also subject to attacks from nefarious players. Infrastructure security is the practice of protecting assets from physical or cyber threats. In the case of IT systems, it means having a strong system of measures designed to limit access to IT systems, and to lock down any potential computer vulnerabilities. While the need for strong cyber security is vitally important, this article will focus more on the physical security of our infrastructure.

The Role of Security Guards in Protecting Infastrucutre

As already stated, protecting the various elements of the country’s infrastructure is vital. Security guards play a very important role in this effort. Protecting the public by defending the infrastructure is an important part of the role of security guards, both public and private, from TSA screeners to guards at power plants, refineries, railroads, or other utilities.

Access Control

Security guards are trained to control access to or egress from a facility or an area. That way, only authorized personnel, vehicles, and materials are allowed to enter, move within, or leave the facility. They are aided by the use of systems that employ such devices as security badges, passwords, fingerprints, or retina scans to physically prevent access to unauthorized individuals. In addition to controlling access, the mere presence of a uniformed security guard often acts as a deterrent to any potential criminal activity.

Vehicle Inspections

In some situations, security guards are used to inspect vehicles moving in or out of facilities. This inspection will serve to verify the following:

  • are the driver and any passengers who they claim to be?
  • are they allowed on this site?
  • does their vehicle qualify for entry?
  • is the vehicle carrying anything that could be deemed suspicious or a potential risk?


Patrols involve a security guard periodically making their way around a defined perimeter. Their purpose is to ensure that everything is as it should be, detect anything unusual, and prevent any criminal activity. Depending on the physical size of the facility, these patrols can be done on foot or in a vehicle. Physical patrols serve to keep intruders out and can deter theft or vandalism.

Closed Circuit Television

There are many situations in which the placement of security guards is less than optimal for the most efficient use of the services they provide. CCTV systems allow security guards to monitor multiple areas without leaving their posts. These systems are especially useful when monitoring extremely large facilities or remote locations such as:

  • electrical substations
  • wells
  • railroad switching equipment
  • windmill farms
  • landfills
  • pipelines
  • dams or levees
  • storage facilities
  • water tanks
  • pumping stations
  • bridges

Final Words

Protecting the nation’s infrastructure requires constant vigilance and a multi-pronged approach to preventing disruptions in service. This includes cyber security as well as physical security in form of security guards. The combined efforts of government and private industry are required to sufficiently protect these vital assets.

Allstate Security is committed to making your security simple, quick, and efficient. We work with all types of businesses including government agencies, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, banking, construction, and many others. Our adaptable on premises guard and security patrol services allow our clients to concentrate on their core business. No matter what your security needs are, Allstate Security is here to help.

For more information about the services we offer, call us at 888-210-7333.