Though they may sometimes elicit a hectic and fast-paced experience, airports are a necessary cornerstone of traveling for many people around the world. Whether they represent the ability to see family, the need to attend a business event, or the chance to get away on a relaxing vacation, airports are central to allowing travelers to get from one destination to the next.

In 2019, more than four billion scheduled travelers passed through the world’s airports, and that number is projected to grow.  As the flow of travelers increases, airports are facing many new challenges.  Passengers, by nature, are highly diverse, transient and in continual motion.  As a result, airports are taking on greater responsibility of ensuring that people arrive and depart in a timely — and safe — manner.

Effective security operations

Effective security operations are therefore critically important to allowing these entities to protect what matters most. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task, as airports have evolved from traditional ports-of-call to highly complex environments.  With the introduction of shopping, dining, interconnected rail and more amenities, they are seeing many of the same challenges facing cities.  That includes theft, fraud, medical concerns and even domestic violence spilling over into facilities that are already popular targets for bad actors. 

They are seeing many of the same challenges facing cities

The various threats that airports face on a daily basis present the potential for extreme damage. Any type of incident can carry significant risk to people, assets, passenger traffic, and brand reputation. Traditional security risks in the airport ecosystem, such as theft, violence, terrorism, and insider threats, continue to evolve, while overarching cyber attacks targeting physical security systems have also become more prevalent.

Airport Industry Demands

Aside from the constantly shifting risk landscape airports face, they also maintain a unique set of needs due to the high-level nature of the overall operation, such as:

  • Constant surveillance. Airports, like many other transit hubs, utilize systems and technologies that must function constantly in order to keep passengers, employees, and environments safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The ability to monitor device health is instrumental in preventing equipment failures as well as ensuring that no suspicious behavior goes unnoticed.
  • As airports grow and change with the addition of new shops, terminals, or runways, they also need a set of security solutions that can easily adapt and incorporate new protective infrastructures.
  • Coordinated security.The societal growth of at-your-fingertips accessibility and mobile capabilities increases convenience, but with this connectivity comes an expanded risk for threats and breaches. Security is no longer limited to just physical assets; network elements must also be considered to ensure comprehensive coverage throughout an airport’s infrastructure.
  • Data collection.Data that is derived from internal and external threat intelligence efforts plays a significant role in mitigating threats, but the sheer amount of data far outweighs the ability of many airports to organize what’s collected and make it actionable.

The Answer: Intelligence-Powered Solutions

The complex risks, demands, and challenges that airports must contend with call for exceptionally sophisticated and coordinated security strategies that leverage intelligence-based solutionsA traditional security system is not enough for such a high-leverage atmosphere; airport security operators require the greatest level of insight and information possible to ensure protection for travelers and staff at all times.

Airport security operators require the greatest level of insight and information

At the core of an intelligent airport security system must exist a video-based security operations center (SOC). Operators need to be able to track incoming data and identify relevant information on a daily basis, but this can become challenging given the number of security systems and sensors that are typically integrated within an SOC, such as video surveillance, access control, perimeter detection, PSIM software, and more.

Operators require solutions that integrate the existing controls of a security operation into a single view, assimilate analytical data, and provide critical insights to empower personnel to manage and respond to situations efficiently and effectively. This can be achieved through an intelligent SOC, giving operators real-time visibility into security system information and analytics that facilitates a proactive approach to security rather than reacting after the fact. Operators therefore benefit greatly from increased insight and the ability to see both the security and business sides of airport operations, from passenger and employee identification to cargo handling and flight coordination.

Essential Intelligent SOC Components

Because airports are such vast, fast-paced environments with several elements to consider when it comes to safety, an intelligent SOC in these facilities must incorporate various levels of intelligent technology, such as:

  • Video management software (VMS). A data-driven security management and response system that leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics is critical for viewing airport operations and investigating potential vulnerabilities or threats. When integrated with components such as dynamic GIS maps and event management, airport security teams can gain full situational awareness and control with the intelligence to act as needed.
  • Emergency dispatch and response. In the event of a security incident, airports need to share insights in real time between dispatchers, first responders, and other aligned stakeholders. Next-generation mobile technologies within an intelligent SOC can enable operators to see the full picture of both the situation and the organization’s response team, helping to facilitate immediate action and informed decisions.
  • Integrated security operations. As mentioned previously, today’s airports are forced to look beyond the traditional physical security threats of the past and incorporate the element of cyber risk. This means that an intelligent SOC must also consider web-based vulnerabilities, such as through social media monitoring and geo-fenced surveillance and integrate this information within the guidelines and techniques that are being used to secure the airport in a physical sense.

The deployment of intelligent security solutions in airport environments helps streamline all aspects of security management while enabling data analysis to ensure day-to-day airport operations run smoothly. In the end, these facilities become more prepared to deal with incidents proactively while providing a positive experience for travelers. As airports look to draw more passenger traffic and expand in scale, selecting security solutions powered by sophisticated intelligence and analytics helps protect what matters most: people, property, and the continuity of operations.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Alan Stoddard VP & GM, Situational Intelligence Solutions, Verint Systems

In case you missed it

How To Use Threat Intelligence Data To Manage Security In The Age Of COVID-19
How To Use Threat Intelligence Data To Manage Security In The Age Of COVID-19

COVID-19 has already had a huge impact on the global economy. According to Statista, GDP growth globally will drop from around 3% to 2.4% - equivalent to a drop of around $35 trillion worldwide. In sectors like oil and gas, the impact is particularly acute: IHS Markit predicted that the reduction in oil consumption due to COVID-19 has led to a first-half surplus of 1.8 billion barrels of crude oil. The macroeconomic trends around these worldwide sectors point to harsher economic conditions and recession. For companies in the oil and gas sector running complex operations around the world, this will lead directly to tougher trading environments and a lot of necessary belt-tightening when it comes to costs around operations. Indirectly, the potential recession could cause more civil unrest and security threats for them as well. To cope with these potential challenges, companies will have to look at how they can maintain security for their operations and prevent risks as much as possible. Taking a contextual approach to physical security With these two goals in mind, looking at threat intelligence data should be considered. Threat intelligence refers to a set of data that can be used to judge current and future trends around risks, from everyday crime or political changes through to larger events like civil unrest, terrorism or the current pandemic. Based on data around these issues, companies can make better decisions on how they invest and manage their security posture in advance. Behind this overall approach, however, there are a significant number of moving parts that have to be considered. This includes where the data comes from, how it is used, and who is using the data. Companies can make better decisions on how they invest and manage their security posture The first consideration for threat intelligence is where data comes from. Typically, companies with large oilfields or refinery operations will have large investments in physical security to protect these environments, and part of this spend will include intelligence on local market, political and security conditions. Using this forecast data, your security leadership team can ensure that they have the right resources available in advance of any particular problem. This data can come from multiple sources, from social media data and crowdsourced information through to government, police and private company feeds. This mass of information can then be used to inform your planning and decision making around security, and how best to respond. However, one issue for oil and gas companies with distributed operations is how much data they have to manage over time. With so many potential sources of information all feeding back in real time, it’s hard to make sense of what comes in. Similarly, companies with international teams may have different sets and sources of data available to different parts of their organizations - while each team has its own view of what is going on, they may be missing out on contextual data from other sources held by neighbouring teams or by the central security department. Without a complete picture, it is easy to miss out on important information. Making threat intelligence smarter To solve this problem - and to reduce the costs around managing threat intelligence data - centralizing your approach can make it easier to provide that context to all your teams and stakeholders. Rather than letting each team set up and run their own threat intelligence approach, centralizing the data and letting each team use this can reduce costs. More importantly, it can improve the quality of your threat intelligence approach overall. By applying a combination of algorithms and security analysts to evaluate threat intelligence centrally, you can improve the quality of the data that you have coming into the organization in the first place. This approach provides higher quality data for decision making. However, a centralized approach is not enough on its own. Local knowledge and analysis is always useful. Consequently, alongside any centralization approach you have to have better filtering and search capabilities, otherwise you risk teams not being able to get the information that is particularly relevant and timely to them. This approach of bringing together centralized management of data feeds with more powerful tools for local teams to find what they want and get that access in real time represents the best of both worlds. Planning ahead Scenarios vary from a best case return to pre-crisis revenues of $50 to $60 per barrel by 2021 or 2022 According to consultancy firm McKinsey, the oil and gas sector faces an enormous challenge over the next few years. Scenarios vary from a best case return to pre-crisis revenues of $50 to $60 per barrel by 2021 or 2022, through to a worst case scenario where demand never returns and the industry has to undertake managed decline around some assets and look for new market opportunities in others. Whatever scenario plays out in the real world, security for existing assets will be a continued requirement. Planning ahead using threat intelligence data will be essential whatever happens. To help reduce costs and improve data quality, centralizing this approach will help. Without this mix of global oversight and local detail, companies will find their operations hampered and wrong decisions are made. It’s only by applying threat intelligence data in the right context that security teams will be able to keep up with the challenges of the future.

What Are the Security Challenges of the Oil and Gas Market?
What Are the Security Challenges of the Oil and Gas Market?

Protecting the oil and gas market is key to a thriving economy. The list of security challenges for oil and gas requires the best technology solutions our industry has to offer, from physical barriers to video systems to cybersecurity. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of the oil and gas market?

Lessons Learned With AxxonSoft: How Have You Adapted To The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Lessons Learned With AxxonSoft: How Have You Adapted To The COVID-19 Pandemic?

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about an unprecedented crisis for businesses and individuals. It has also created a new normal, notwithstanding the disruption to our lives, ultimately changing life as we knew it. However, our resilience as humans will ensure that we survive and become better, stronger, and more determined than ever before. As I mentioned, both businesses and individuals have struggled significantly to balance the need for safety versus survival. But at AxxonSoft, we remain committed to keeping our people safe, while ensuring that our support and commitment to our clients are not compromised. Ensuring business continuity At AxxonSoft, our vision has always been to ensure business continuity through enhanced safety and video surveillance offerings. Adhering to the COVID-19 regulations, we are prescribing to social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. As such, we are utilising this time to ensure that our service offering is optimized to afford our clients the ability to repurpose and extend their remote working viabilities. As an essential service provider, we have ensured that we are providing the right tools to our clients to comply with regulations. Our video analytics and face recognition services have no reliance on on-site control rooms and, therefore, clients’ security solutions and personal safety are not compromised. Innovation reimagined During these precarious times, our focus remains on support and service. Our development team continues to work tirelessly to ensure that you can use our software during the lockdown and have accelerated innovation to this end. While we must maintain social distancing, we can and will still be of service to our community Therefore, we are proud to present version 4.11 of the Intellect PSIM, which offers our clients a neural network-based analytical tracker which recognises specific types of objects, such as humans and vehicles. We have also equipped this version with video wall management interface, automatic object tracking and a web reporting subsystem. Behavioral analytics generates data by detecting specific postures, like crouching, shooting or any potentially dangerous scenario. Our surveillance software operates on a three-pronged approach: calibration, detection and measurement, offering a comprehensive bird’s-eye view to clients. This upgrade also upholds mandated social distancing measures and keeps any face-to-face meetings to a minimal. The silver lining is that you can even use this technology when the pandemic is over. Now that’s what I call experiencing the next with AxxonSoft! Finding solutions to the challenges Our specialist technology and frontline technical support staff will ensure that your business is protected during and post-lockdown. We will continue to ensure that we provide solutions to the new challenges that the coronavirus brings, ensuring that our clients can emerge stronger and more responsive to any changes in the future. Our surveillance software operates on a three-pronged approach: calibration, detection and measurement While we must maintain social distancing, we can and will still be of service to our community. After all, change is not just about technology but about mastering mindsets. The COVID-19 disaster has demanded that businesses embrace tech disruptions as early as possible and apply technology in imaginative ways to define the new world of work. Until next time, stay safe!