Top 5 Physical Security Considerations

With the rise of IoT technology across every aspect of business, security convergence is quickly becoming the new norm. In a world where just about everything is connected to the internet and to other devices, old strategies are becoming obsolete. Treating IT and physical security as separate entities and ignoring physical security’s impact on cybersecurity leaves businesses vulnerable to costly hacks and breaches. Now, physical security is cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity and physical security convergence offers a more holistic approach to keep businesses protected from emerging security threats. When planning a security convergence strategy, these are the top five considerations from industry experts:

Physical Security at the Perimeter

One of the main components of any security strategy should be to protect the building and property from unwanted intruders. Physical security measures help prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the building, but they are also a key component of cybersecurity. Because many cybersecurity incidents occur in conjunction with a physical breach, a good security convergence strategy needs to limit and monitor who has access to the building, starting at the perimeter.

Your cybersecurity and physical security convergence strategy should include physical access control methods at key entry points, such as commercial door locks that require authorized access credentials. Due to the growing prevalence of remote work, flexible schedules and distributed teams, today’s physical access control systems should also include the ability to monitor access activity remotely, with video-enabled door readers and cloud-based video surveillance systems.

For convergence strategies to be successful, all the physical components must work together: integrated door locks, access control, video surveillance, alarms and sensors provide a more complete picture of security across the entire property. Features such as automatic alerting, remote unlock capabilities, anti-tailgating and occupancy tracking provide invaluable data for streamlining security without compromising convenience.

Secure Interior Spaces to Protect Sensitive Data

While it would be cost-prohibitive to install advanced video readers and security cameras to monitor every single door in the building, there are some interior spaces that require additional attention—especially when data and PII is involved.

IT closets, server rooms and office spaces where computers are left overnight should have additional physical security measures in place to prevent unauthorized individuals from getting access to sensitive information. Adding access control to interior door locks, such as mobile credential integration for wireless locks, helps keep confidential information and data secure by limiting the number of people who can unlock certain doors and tracking all access activity for improved compliance and monitoring.

The key here is not to inhibit people’s ability to move through the office space; convenient access control methods, such as Bluetooth-enabled unlocking via a mobile app, is a great way to make sure access is easy, yet secure. Being able to use one credential for every door, regardless of permissions or location, is much more convenient for users than having multiple key cards or fobs for their building. Other features to consider when putting together an interior cybersecurity and physical security convergence strategy include remote lockdown activation and instant digital guest passes to keep data, people, and buildings safe.

Employ Cybersecurity for Physical Security

Every organization should have strict cybersecurity policies in place to protect their data, including strong password protection, multi-factor authentication (MFA), least-privilege access, active threat detection and vulnerability testing. However, these practices on their own are not enough to safeguard sensitive information from the latest security threats. In the IoT-connected business world, employees can access their cloud-based security hardware, mobile phones and network-connected devices such as printers remotely, which also means hackers might get in, too. And when the average cost of a data breach is upwards of $3.86 million, organizations simply can’t afford to ignore the risks.

When putting together a holistic security strategy, organizations should use cybersecurity measures to bolster physical security for hardware and systems that store their sensitive data. Because physical components connected to the Internet are common targets for hackers, cybersecurity best practices and policies can help prevent hackers from gaining access to the building controls, servers and private networks. In addition to limiting access and monitoring activity around key areas, employing the above cybersecurity best practices can prevent a costly breach.

Think About Your People

While building systems and technology are crucial to security planning, a truly holistic approach to security will also address the people who use that technology on a daily basis. Merging physical and IT security teams will eliminate redundancies for better productivity, and leveraging common resources creates financial efficiency. Aligning IT and physical security relationships results in better collaboration and communication across previously siloed departments.

Addressing the blended risks of the new security landscape as a combined team is also better for risk mitigation, ensuring the right people are informed quickly of any security incidents for faster, more accurate responses. Working together to improve building security results in better building experiences for employees and tenants, faster incident response times, and increased ROI.

Use the Flexibility of the Cloud

Cloud-based security products can offer better security than on-premises systems for a successful security convergence strategy. In addition to the clear benefits of having fully remote access to the system, cloud-based security technology is more flexible than traditional options, making it easier to adapt and scale operations to address the latest threats. With the security landscape ever-evolving, it’s key to have a system that offers over-the-air software updates to react quickly to protect against new vulnerabilities. Plus, you’ll save on costly maintenance fees and having to rip-and-replace your hardware every few years just to keep up with changing security needs.

When it comes to security convergence, migrating to the cloud also gives organizations more options for integration and automation. Similar to the way combining physical and IT security teams makes operations more efficient, integrated building systems streamline day-to-day tasks to achieve operational efficiency. For successful implementation of security convergence, all systems should work together, so organizations should choose technology that operates on open standards, and that is designed for seamless integration with the platforms and apps needed to run the business.

Protecting against the newest security threats and vulnerabilities requires a strategy that can address issues quickly, with teams working together to prevent and mitigate risk. Once a cybersecurity and physical convergence strategy has been successfully established, organizations can continue to use data aggregated from across access control, video surveillance and other building systems to optimize security operations, and make more informed decisions to provide a safer, more convenient building experience in an ever-changing security landscape.

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Andi Hendrickson

Andi Hendrickson is the marketing copywriter for Openpath Security, a leading provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions for business and commercial spaces. Andi covers commercial and business security solutions with a focus on touchless technology and access control. With more than 8 years of experience, Andi has a keen eye for identifying upcoming security trends and intuitive software solutions for the commercial real estate and enterprise market.

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