Security breaches that occur within a workplace are more common than you may think, and that goes for cyber as well as physical security. The risk of theft of computers, identity, and sensitive data leads experts to recommend that commercial operations strengthen their cyber security practices by improving their physical security practices.
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Bolstering physical security measures to improve cybersecurity
The first thing that comes to mind regarding cybersecurity is protections like firewalls and anti-malware. In reality, however, data is just as likely to be stolen from inside a business via external hacking. Employees, cleaners, or visitors can become opportunistic thieves and make away with devices that store sensitive data.
Here are some recommended physical security practices to best protect devices and data and the people who work with them.
Improve access control security
These days, a cloud-based access control system allows for heightened security at key entry points. These systems enable management to control authorized access security remotely carefully and to issue and revoke permissions instantly. Businesses should also train employees to assist in monitoring who enters key workplace areas and must ever share any keys or access codes.
Careful management and security of physical devices
Thieves can easily take unattended devices, so ideally, employees should keep any mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops, with them at all times. Alternatively, laptops can be fixed to desks with security cables if a business works with highly sensitive data. Companies that support flexible working practices should also keep an accurate inventory of portable devices used by remote-working staff.
Secure hard copies of sensitive files
Businesses should consider storing all paper files containing sensitive data in a secure room or cabinet. Companies should also take this measure for any devices or drives that store sensitive information.
In addition to installing a cloud-based access control system, personnel that hold restricted access authorization can also carry physical ID cards on their person for easy identification by security staff.
Video security cameras
Visible cameras can help deter criminals from acting, as well as provide footage of any incidents. When integrated with cloud-based access control systems, video cameras allow for potential security breaches to be intercepted in real-time and optimize the overall security of a premise.
Merging physical and cyber security
Traditionally, cyber security has always operated independently of physical security, but this is changing. The more commercial systems shift towards cloud and mobile-based solutions, the greater the challenge in successfully protecting sensitive data without integrating cyber and physical security approaches.
Organizations can improve their level of security by combining their physical and cyber security strategies. Merging the two can help to protect companies against some common threats, including:
- Internal attacks – unfortunately, some security breaches occur from within an organization’s workforce
- External cyber hacking – including malicious attempts to hack sensitive information or identity, phishing, and social engineering
- Accidental data breaches – employees can accidentally cause data breaches when working within outdated security systems or by becoming complacent with company policies
- Poor communication/limited visibility – ineffective communication between teams can result in costly delays in responding to security incidents
- Third-party threats – the increased use of managed software can heighten the risk of security breaches between contractors, suppliers, etc.
Firstly, merging cyber and physical security into one combined strategy bolsters the protection of sensitive data by restricting physical access to areas that house the data. In addition, merging the two also creates a cohesive security approach. Both security teams can collaborate, strengthening the ability to make across-the-board informed decisions and improving security insights that businesses can leverage to enhance their security posturing.
Fundamental strategies that are essential to an effective cyber and physical security convergence include:
- Investing in access control systems and video security for any areas or rooms that house sensitive information. This would include heightened security at key entry points to prevent any unauthorized access
- Coordinating physical and cyber security teams to collaborate in the planning of security strategies. Both teams must work together when deciding upon technologies that best suit the functional security needs of the premise and organization
- Integrating cyber security measures with cloud-based physical security. Such cyber security policy measures could include multi factor authentication (MFA), regular vulnerability testing, and active system monitoring to increase threat detection
- Leveraging the data resulting from an integrated security system to provide management with a more comprehensive view of the organization’s current security posturing
With such a vast increase in the rate at which cloud-based systems are being adopted, there is no longer room for considering physical and cyber security as two separate entities. Instead, today’s successful security systems require merging the two and creating a comprehensive approach in which physical and cyber security approaches work to protect each other further.