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Cybersecurity and Physical Security Are Not Separate Mattersby@howierobleza
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Cybersecurity and Physical Security Are Not Separate Matters

by Howie RoblezaNovember 12th, 2021
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According to the FBI, cybercrimes such as spear-phishing rose by a staggering 300 percent during the pandemic cybercrime attacks. Cybersecurity is becoming a major concern for companies. Companies must now implement a comprehensive, combined approach to security. The combination of physical and cybersecurity can help limit access to areas where sensitive data is stored. The more that systems and applications evolve into mobile and cloud-based solutions, the harder it becomes to achieve optimal compliance for the protection of sensitive data without an integrated security strategy.

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During the pandemic cybercrime attacks increased dramatically. According to the FBI, cybercrimes such as spear-phishing rose by a staggering 300 percent.

It's not surprising, then, that very few businesses operate without cybersecurity systems in place - this is in addition to their physical security systems. Until recently, these two security measures have mainly run independently of each other, but this is changing for a good reason.

Technological advancements are emerging faster than ever before. As IoT applications (Internet of Things) continue to evolve and everything migrates to the cloud, businesses must consistently reevaluate their security strategies. 

Given the alarming rate at which cybercrime is rising, cybersecurity is becoming a major concern for companies. Interestingly, many cybersecurity incidents are linked to issues and oversights within a business's physical security measures. 

Companies must now implement a comprehensive, combined approach to security. Physical security practices now entail more than an encrypted keyless entry system, although these are still fundamental to best security practices and advancing technologically in their own right. 

Cloud-based technologies are forever changing the game when it comes to modern enterprise security. Businesses must merge their physical and cybersecurity practices to create the most robust protection against increasing threats.

What merging physical security and cybersecurity means for businesses

For many years now, physical security systems have operated independently of data systems. Security measures such as video security and access control systems have been run with little-to-no concern for the way that they, in fact, intrinsically relate to IT and data systems.

The more that systems and applications evolve into mobile and cloud-based solutions, the harder it becomes to achieve optimal compliance for the protection of sensitive data without an integrated security strategy.

Merging physical and cybersecurity into one strategy works to further limit sensitive data access by restricting access to certain areas. It also implements additional cybersecurity practices which protect the IP network. An open API-based physical access control system can help with integrating your cyber and physical security tools together to form a cohesive security strategy for your business.

Physical security measures can bolster cybersecurity by limiting access to areas where sensitive data is stored. Meanwhile, a robust cybersecurity strategy can successfully safeguard the sensitive data retained within physical systems. 

A strong security strategy that improves an organization’s security postering involves merging physical and cyber security to best protect against common security threats, including:

  • Internal security incidents - sadly, some security incidents are intentionally carried out by an organization’s employees.
  • External hacking attempts could include phishing, malicious hacking attempts to breach sensitive data or identity data, IoT hacking, and social engineering.
  • Accidental employee data breaches - examples include reliance upon outdated security systems, insecure networks, and complacency with security policies.
  • Third-party risks - an increase in the adoption of managed software can lead to a greater risk of security breaches between suppliers, contractors, and vendors.
  • Limited visibility/poor incident response - poor communication between security teams can lead to costly delays in reacting to security breaches.

Many components of physical security systems are popular targets for hacking. These include any components that connect to the internet, such as video management systems, smart devices, and RFID key card door locks. The convergence of a business's physical and IT security recognizes them as interconnected security components and approaches them as one entity within the operation. 

Merged security fundamentals

To merge both physical and IT security and implement the convergence successfully, the individual systems must come to function seamlessly together. Preventing unwanted access is a crucial requirement of physical security, but, merged with cybersecurity, the combined strategy should also cover:

  • Applications
  • Network devices
  • Software that powers smart security systems and cloud-based devices
  • The personnel - responsible for the managing, monitoring of these functions, as well as making the business decisions that relate to them.

Furthermore, there are fundamental strategies that are critical to the successful implementation of physical and cyber security convergence.

These include:

  1. Installing access control and video security for any spaces that house sensitive data - to include securing key access points, such as main/front door entry, to avoid unauthorized individuals gaining access.
  2. Ensuring that cyber and physical security teams are well coordinated when planning security strategies - working together to ensure that the right technology is implemented and functioning optimally across the organization.
  3. Integrating cyber security policies into cloud-based physical security hardware - to include the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA), active monitoring of systems for increased threat detection, and regular system vulnerability testing.
  4. Leverage the data gleaned from the integrated systems to create a more comprehensive picture of the whole organization's security position.

Future-proofing an organization’s security strategy

Merging physical and cyber security creates a seamless link within an organization's overall security strategy. This alignment optimizes the ability to prevent, detect and react to security breaches and threats faster and more accurately. 

This convergence also encourages unified teamwork across the organization.