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Morrisons secures critical infrastructure sites

by Brian Sims

Wm Morrisons Supermarket’s” farm to fork” business strategy is getting extra security over 40 critical sites, after Express Data upgraded its facilities security and management using Mobotix HD IP-video security systems. The UK food retailer has over 500 stores across Britain and subsidiaries including Farmers Boy, a manufacturer and distributor of food products; Woodhead Bros, a meat processing business; FlowerWorld, a wholesale flower business and other business interests including multi-channel online retailing. In 2008, Morrison’s Data Centre Services Manager, Darryl Shears, began a program to strengthen the resilience and security around its critical IT infrastructure as part of a wider software migration from legacy systems to a unified Oracle based platform. ” We have sites that range from northern Scotland to Bridgwater in the South West and Sittingbourne in the South East. Managing this estate from a centralised team in Bradford is a logistics challenge,” says Shears,” We need to be able to monitor key comms rooms and IT equipment remotely both proactively to stop any issues from escalating and to react quickly to ensure any problems are dealt with efficiently.” To this end, Morrisons decided upon a strategy to upgrade each of these IT and communications rooms with environmental monitoring, remote surveillance and remote access control technology. Following an evaluation programme and based on a number of reference site examples, the supermarket group selected a solution including Mobotix CCTV cameras, Panduit environmental monitoring and access control technology.” The Mobotix solution, especially the hemispheric technology, allows us to use just one or two cameras to cover single or multiple rooms with the resolution and reliability we required,” explains Shears,” In addition, the built-in flash storage support means that we can still record the site even if we have a network connectivity issue.” The team based in Bradford can use the Mobotix cameras to view anybody requiring access to a safe room and remotely open doors and monitor any activity within the room. The system has the option for fully bi-directional audio and requires only 5W per camera, which aligns with the company’s stated aim to use low energy technologies across its operations. Over the last 24 months, Express Data has worked with Shears and his team to implement upgrades at an additional eleven sites and created a standard blueprint for the resilience and security at each of the critical sites. The build includes power redundancy and best practice access procedures with full visual audit trail. The supermarket has deployed over 140 cameras across its sites.

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