Security Measures for Manufacturing Plants and Industrial Facilities

By Bernhard Mehl
November 26, 2019

Manufacturing plants are full of heavy machinery and thousands of moving parts, increasing the chances of serious or fatal accidents. Because of this fact, employee safety a top priority in the industry. Manufacturing plants should have an integrated security system to enhance employee safety measures. When plans are established, productivity can stay at a maximum level even in times of distress. Manufacturing plant security procedures and systems help to guarantee productivity. Here is a short summary of all the basic measures and procedures to consider: 

Prioritize

One of the first steps in configuring the ideal manufacturing plant security plan is to assess the facility or work zone. Everything from the machines to equipment to the people and other assets should be mapped out. Knowing what needs to be protected and/or monitored is an easy starting point. Next, prioritize the most critical access. If something requires twice as much security as something else, that needs to be noted. Finally, think about who has access to company assets or security devices, and how that access can be limited. 

Security Measures

Access Control 

Access Control allows companies to control who can enter certain parts of the manufacturing plant or facility. It can also track who is coming and going and when. Access control is  necessary component of maximizing a physical security system and could be considered the first line of defense in general safety and organization of an industrial workplace. Locks, key cards, and device authentication and authorization are all good options to secure a manufacturing facility. There are plenty of access control brands available, all of which have their own special features and advantages that should be compared before choosing one final solution. 

Video Surveillance 

Video cameras allow a company to better monitor the entirety of a facility and any suspicious activity. The most common threats to industrial plants include violence, theft, vandalism, and trespassing. Most industrial plants have multiple entrances, so an investment in security cameras is a good way to boost manufacturing plant security. Besides being used to monitor perimeters and suspicious activity, cameras can also be placed inside machines to identify and troubleshoot issues. 

Layers

No network will is secure with just one product, technology, or methodology. A holistic approach should be applied when protecting manufacturing assets. Multiple layers of defense should be used (physical, procedural, digital) in order to address any type of threat. When layering, it’s important to keep in mind the idea of an integrated approach to security to help administrators adapt quickly to potential emergencies. 

Device Profiling 

Some workers may  have their own tablets, phones, and mobile devices on them when they come to the workplace. Device and identity profile services can help control and keep tabs on all of these devices with minimal interruption. A business can monitor, authenticate, and control all users or applications that connect to the network.  

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Security Systems

The U.S. Department of Justice determined the three vital functions of an effective security system to be: detect, delay, respond. With a comprehensive security solution, threats are reduced and overall asset protection increases. Staff should be reminded of a company’s security strategy on a yearly basis. Everyone should be trained on all policies and procedures immediately upon hiring and regularly throughout their tenure. 

Contingency Plan

The first step in securing a facility is to assess threats. Contingency planning is when people plan for all of the possible unknowns that could negatively affect the business. With a contingency plan in place, the company has a greater chance of reacting smoothly to  a disruptive situation. To make this plan, risks should be assessed in relation to the specific company the plan is for. Both the potential impact and the likeability of a potential  event should be considered. 

Mapping out a strict response time to potential risks will ensure that no step is forgotten or looked over too passively. Delegating jobs in advance to employees will make response processes more seamless. When brainstorming an emergency plan, keep simplicity in mind. People will understand simple processes best in high-pressure or tense situations. 

Preparation

Employees should always be aware of plans in terms of securing the building. This will minimize chaos, make reactions quicker, and help in avoiding loss. It’s also important to have security policies and procedures written down somewhere. These policies should contain who is allowed to access what, define acceptable asset use, and detail an incident response plan that includes procedures to restore any critical production that may be affected by a security issue. Additionally, assigning designated personnel to troubleshoot security systems will help in emergency situations.  

New security threats appear on a daily basis. Deciding how to respond to potential threats in advance allows for quick decision making when they actually happen. Training employees also allows everyone to feel more relaxed in a security breach or failure. Having gone through what should be done, employees with training have a better chance of staying calm and collected if Plan A ever fails. 

Integrated approach

A manufacturing plant likely has intrusion systems, perimeter security, access control, and fire alarm systems. In order to make these manufacturing plant security procedures maximize the quality of the plant’s security network, there must be an integrated approach. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is through an integrated security application platform. All of the sensors from the individual security measures would connect to this larger security platform in a control room. Doing so allows for quicker correlation among alerts which should lead to faster response times, more efficient monitoring, less false alarms, and increased awareness. 

By building a multi-layered defense, the hope is that Facility-wide damage will be prevented even if one area is already damaged. Additionally, combining security measures allows for early detection of flaws that may negatively impact a system. 


Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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