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 Critical Infrastructure Protection solution and the desired features of a CIP solution, with reference to Homeland Security requirements.

Components of a Critical Infrastructure Protection solution

There are two major components to a Critical Infrastructure Protection 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
Authorization Access doors
RFID/Wi-fi Indoor location
Presence authorization
Inspection Vehicle scanner
Person scanner
Baggage scanner
CCTV Monitoring PTZ camera
Fixed camera
IR camera
Thermal camera
Intelligent monitoring Video analytics
Centralized monitoring Video-wall
Perimeter Surveillance Perimeter Surveillance Fire detector
IR barrier
RF barrier
Movement detectors
Vibration detectors
Buried cable
Sensors of presence

Components of a Critical Infrastructure Protection solution

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.

Critical Infrastructure Protection Solution, CIP









The Critical Infrastructure Protection Solution allows a user to:

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

Desiderata for a Critical Infrastructure Protection Solution

Critical Infrastructure Protection 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 infrastructures such as power, petrochemical, and manufacturing plants, it is important that the Critical Infrastructure Protection Solution 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 Critical Infrastructure Protection 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 Critical Infrastructure Protection Solution.


Organizations looking into ensuring the safety and non-interrupted functioning of their critical infrastructure will benefit enormously from implementing a Critical Infrastructure Protection Solution (CIP). Mistral offers the C4ISR solutions for Homeland Security needs in India. Mistral’s CIP solutions are targeted at organizations requiring real-time monitoring and control of their critical infrastructure.

Mistral is a Homeland Security company that offers a wide range of Critical Infrastructure Protection Solutions. To know more, visit homeland security page.