Security & Surveillance has evolved more in the last few decades than in the hundreds of years that preceded them. IP cameras, cloud computing and other remote monitoring technologies have made it possible for security experts to monitor locations from anywhere in the world.

The importance of keeping a close eye on critical infrastructure like drill sites, pipelines, offshore rigs and refineries continues to be front of mind for Oil & Gas professionals. Regardless of the stream sector, the specialized circumstances that face many IT and digital security specialists in the industry require that hardware technology keep pace with evolving surveillance needs, which more and more frequently are placing these sensitive monitoring systems in extreme locations and harsh environments.

How Does the Environment Affect a Computer?

desert oil rigHeat: The components within a computer system run at a specific current induced by a low voltage that can be very sensitive to even small changes. When a computer heats up, and the electrical resistance is lowered, the current can quickly increase causing slowdowns, damage and even failure of processors, power supplies, memory and storage. NVRs (Network Video Recorders) designed for high temperature environments have been engineered to resist these adverse effects, and many have built-in safeguards to throttle back performance or shutdown in order to help protect the system in extreme heat situations.

Arctic PipelineCold: Most users don’t give too much thought to the other end of the thermometer, but cold temperatures can cause serious problems for computer systems and components. PCs exposed to cold temperatures can be subject to thermal shock, caused by the varying expansion rates of connecting materials during heating or cooling. Wide temperature swings can exacerbate the problem as components continually contract and expand, weakening connections. Temperature changes can also lead to condensation buildup and it’s no secret that water and electronics don’t mix.

refineryDust: Rugged security hardware must be able to reliably operate wherever it’s needed, including the growing number of inhospitable environments where remote security installations are becoming the norm. Dust and other airborne debris are a fact of life in the Oil & Gas industry (not forgetting construction installations, manufacturing environments and warehouses). Dust can also bring in grease, metal shavings or corrosive particulate. Even if they’re not immediately harmful, these substances build up on internal components, creating an insulating layer that can quickly result in overheating or electrical shorting.

refinery2Shock & Vibration: Another risk to NVRs deployed in challenging industries like Oil & Gas is the exposure to damage from shock and vibration. Systems utilized in mobile installations or attached to active equipment can be subject to sudden impacts or continuous vibration that can cause component degradation over time, or sheer off internal connections. Consumer computer hardware is designed to sit on a desk, not ride inside a crane or be integrated into distillation systems, that’s a job for rugged PCs.

Hardware as a Security Force Multiplier

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With properties spanning multiple acres, often many miles apart, physical security experts increasingly rely on technological advances to inform best practices. In many cases, nothing beats an experienced pair of eyes in the field. When the geographical expanse to be monitored makes the job too dangerous or unsustainably immense, tough surveillance hardware that can stand up to the elements can be invaluable in expanding a robust digital security network.

It takes a specialized NVR to be the force majeure. Devices designed for the harsh rigors of remote installation require components engineered to take the heat, resist the cold and stand up to vibration. Those components need to be protected by a rugged chassis able to prevent infiltration from dust and debris. If you have questions about how to identify the right security hardware for your Oil & Gas installation (or any other challenging environment), the Hardware Solution Specialists at OnLogic can help.