To protect ourselves and resources against burglary and robbery the use of intrusion and hold-up systems is widely spread. It is not for nothing that many homes and buildings are equipped with an intrusion or hold-up alarm system. The requirements for the design of these systems are laid down in the European standard EN 50131-1. While the number of buildings that are secured in this way increased every year, the digitization of our private and business world exploded. Technology evolved and smart homes and smart building became part of our connected world where each and every device is able to communicate with each other. Remote access, remote services, connected devices, cloud-based systems and interaction with automation system are just a few examples of today’s possibilities.
Even though three amendments have been issued since the introduction of EN 50131-1, a profound revision of the standard is needed that is widely acknowledged today. Euralarm took the initiative earlier this year to organize an open round-table to describe its vision on the future of the security standard. The topic was further developed by an ad-hoc group consisting of Euralarm members and non-members to get a wide as possible view from the market. The ad-hoc group has delivered a forward-looking proposal to CENELEC TC 79 WG1 supporting the design of future alarm systems. The proposal provides new ideas and open concepts for the upcoming revision of the EN 50131-1 while ensuring continuity for the existing security systems.
Euralarm’s proposal for a future-proof standard is structured around 4 fundamental principles:
Effectiveness encompasses the detection of 100 percent of intrusion situations, notification of the alarm, minimization of false/unintended alarms and the system behaviour in general. Reliability is about the processing of signals and the triggering of the appropriate actions, alarm verification, alarm confirmation, monitoring of the system, remote access, setting and unsetting procedures and many other functions. Robustness addresses the fault detection, tamper, masking and change of the environment, substitution, interconnections, authentication and cyber-attacks. Resilience covers the changeover to the next power source, redundancy and diversity of technology.
Another consideration that Euralarm proposes is more effective flexibility in the grading system. The grading of alarm system depends on the risk level of the property where the system is installed. Choosing the right grade is vital for safeguarding staff and assets and in most cases a necessity to comply with the requirements of the insurance policy. Currently there are four intruder alarm grades, which include:
- Intruders are unlikely to target the premises.
- There’s a higher risk of theft due to valuable property being kept on site.
- There is a substantial threat from experienced intruders due to high-value contents.
- The property has a very high risk of being targeted by organised criminals.
The proposed effective flexibility of the system is especially useful in order to give more room to the highest grade (Grade 4).
The standard should focus on professionally installed systems. It is therefore important that the update should also highlight the importance of the skills and knowledge of the installating and service company during the design phase of the system.
The design of an alarm system shouldn’t be restricted to the interconnection of devices compliant to their own individual standard for a certain security grade. The design should start from an assessment of the risk taking into account the specific threats, the nature of the activity, the occupancy and the response as well as cybersecurity threats and the security opportunities offered by the building. From this assessment, operational requirements for the system can be deduced which will define the most appropriate devices in order to achieve the expected level of security.
Another aspect to be considered with the start of the design phase is the complete life cycle of the system. The designer should integrate how the system will be both installed, commissioned, used and maintained.
With intrusion and hold-up systems becoming more and more connected the cyber threat is a quickly evolving concern. This means the system should be update according to the new reported attacks. This encompasses the identification of the new threats, the protection of the system against these new threats as well as the detection of anomalous activities or breaches. The update should also include the response given to these attacks and the recovery from these attacks.
Floor is with CLC TC79 WG1
The revision has now to become a reality by translating these ideas into a norm. This is a hard work to be achieved within CENELEC TC79 WG1. This working group consists of many active experts from the industry, industry associations and certification bodies across Europe. Amongst these active experts are Euralarm members or its professional team. The standardisation process starts now and Euralarm trusts it will end up with a future-proof document that will benefit to the security market as a whole.