Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)


Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) is the term used to refer to the systems and processes implemented to ensure that designated critical assets are protected from actions intended to curtail, seriously disrupt, or altogether prevent their functioning. A critical infrastructure need not refer only to physical assets of national importance (ports/airports, nuclear facilities, Parliament, etc.); it may refer to any asset (physical, virtual) considered by an organization (government, parastatal, or private), as vital to its functioning.These systems and processes either serve a monitoring function or a command and control function. This brief details the components of a CIP solution and the desired features of a CIP solution, with reference to Homeland Security requirements.

The components of a CIP solution

There are two components to a CIP solution, in a Homeland Security setting: the sensor network and the command and control network.The sensor network consists of devices that aim to control the entry and movement of individuals and entities within the premises of the critical infrastructure, and to monitor the activities of those individuals and entities that do gain access to the premises.

Sensor Group Function Sensor
Access Control Accreditation Iris recognition
Access Cards
Number-plate recognition
Authorisation Access doors
RFID/Wi-fi Indoor location
Presence authorisation
Inspection Vehicle scanner
Person scanner
Baggage scanner
CCTV Monitoring PTZ camera
Fixed camera
IR camera
Thermal camera
Intelligent monitoring Video analytics
Centralised monitoring Video-wall
Perimeter Surveillance Perimeter Surveillance Fire detector
IR barrier
RF barrier
Movement detectors
Vibration detectors
Buried cable
Sensors of presence

The command and control network picks up the inputs from the sensor network, places them in a cartographic representation of the facility/premises, allows communication between emergency response units, and outlines emergency response protocols for these units to follow.









The CIP solution allows a user to:

  • Provide a Common Operational Picture (COP) of the surveillance and emergency response infrastructure at the premises
  • Represent response units and sensors on a map, and interact with them for further information
  • Transparently and seamlessly facilitate communication amongst the various emergency response units and the control centre
  • Automate emergency response tasks and guide participants in the implementation of emergency response protocols
  • Generate reports and statistical data

Desiderata for a CIP solution

CIP solutions are characterized by a variety of architectures and feature-sets. However, there are a few features which are a must-have:

Easy integration of sensors

The solution should allow the easy integration of new sensors, thus ensuring that the application does not have to be changed when a new sensor or sensor-group is introduced.

Support for sensors outside the traditional security portfolio

In case of critical infrastructure such as power, petrochemical, and manufacturing plants, it is important that the CIP application allows the integration of non-security sensors; in this case SCADA sensors

Publish/Subscribe mechanism

The sensor data should be managed by a Publish/Subscribe mechanism that allows sensors to publish data and authorized users to subscribe to it. This architecture ensures that there is low overhead in the system when handling 1000s of sensors and 100s of authorized users.

Modular architecture

A modular architecture will allow users to implement a CIP solution in a phase-wise manner. Typically, CIP projects are complex and large in scale, and a modular architecture allows users to take a simple-to-sophisticated approach in the implementation of the CIP solution.


Organisations looking into ensuring the safety and non-interrupted functioning of their critical infrastructure will benefit enormously from implementing a CIP solution.Mistral offers the Amper C4ISR nemesis product line for Homeland Security needs in India. Amper’s nemesis CIP solution is targeted at organizations requiring real-time monitoring and control of their critical infrastructure. Amper is a leading provider of CIP solutions, worldwide.