Cybersecurity, appropriately, is a big topic circulating many IT-centric websites and blogs, and according to Forbes, is also projected to be a $170 billion dollar industry by 2020, with expected growth at an astounding 9.8% compound annual growth rate for the upcoming duration. With such overwhelming statistics, there is no doubt that creating a sound security plan is a vital expense for organizations, regardless of industry or stage of growth. While there are certainly many cases to make for the importance of IT cybersecurity, this article flips the coin, revealing the all too forgotten face of physical security as a means of reaching fuller comprehensive security measures for your business.

Unify your IT and physical security efforts

The welfare of your organization depends not only on special attention to IT security threats, but additionally, the increasingly overlooked threats and lack of attention to physical security that can leave you vulnerable. Certainly, with the increased sophistication and vigor of cyberattacks that circulate, an emphasis on cybersecurity should be a priority. However, your main overall goal as an organization should be security—period. Physical security is an area of protection that gets lost to the glitz and glam of intelligent hackers, but can include areas that are sometimes over looked, like safeguarding against insider threat, for example.

When you’re creating a security plan, an overlapping approach is more comprehensive. Understanding that IT security attacks often still include physical security breaches is important, and a dedication to both physical aspects as well as the threats of cyber hackers is absolutely necessary. Often physical security vulnerabilities can risk the state of IT security—and it works the same way in return. IT security done poorly can inform the state of physical security. One must secure both properly in order to affect a more complete security solution.

First things first—perform a risk assessment 

Every organization faces physical threat to some degree, whether from crime, natural disasters, technological incidents, or human error. Additionally, some companies reside across multiple facilities which can complicate efforts to standardize an optimal physical security plan. Complexities are present within every organization which is why a physical security risk assessment is the best place to start when making plans to implement solutions to help safeguard your business. It should be indisputable to take action against physical vulnerability as fiercely as you consider cybersecurity threats within your organization.

Employing a professional to do a thorough risk assessment should be at the top of your list when revamping your security plan.

Physical security basics—what to look out for during your risk assessment

All of your sophisticated efforts in cybersecurity protection can become deflated when you don’t first create safeguards for your physical equipment, IT infrastructures, personnel, information facilities and other company assets. Pay close attention to the basics when it comes to designing a security plan. Start with a judgement about which properties need to be secured. Below are some aspects of a physical security vulnerability assessment that will help you build a strong foundation and calculate your current risk:

  • Identify any possibility of unauthorized access that could be occurring, or could make you vulnerable in the future
  • Identify any entrances and exits that don’t have a working security video cameras, including a thorough inspection of any critical spaces that might be missed from poor positioning
  • Identify any locations on the property of your organization that might be vulnerable to undetected/unobserved intrusions—this should include both on premise around the buildings as well as inside your building workspace
  • Make sure that your access credentials are satisfactory and updated. Your access control database should also be current, and designated access areas set up appropriately for users
  • Use hiring security policies that are up-to-date and implement them within the organization, including background checks, and special attention to any discrepancies with the needs of the company
  • Security staffing should be aligned with company objectives and physical security standards

After you’ve had a physical security assessment, developing proper procedures around these initiatives is a crucial part of a comprehensive security plan. Your new security plan is more likely to flourish if your high-level executives are involved and on board with your efforts.

A good plan begins with support from the top

A “C-level” commitment to your physical security efforts is an elemental factor in your strategy. When high-level executives participate in setting up a culture that prioritizes both physical and cybersecurity efforts, it drastically tips the scale for others to follow their expectations for the organization. Having C-level executives head security programs drastically minimizes the occurrence of security risks, as well as negligence in the incident of a security breach that involves compliance regulations. One executive member should be assigned as chief security compliance officer to be responsible to guide the organization through the process of ensuring compliance.

Even the most secure organizations can have breach incidents and during an audit of these instances, preventative measures taken and a sound security plan to mitigate circumstances are taken into consideration when assigning compliance fines. Fines can be up to six-figures in the case of a breach if you are found non-compliant, and are typically higher without a decision that measures were taken to safeguard sensitive property.

Summary:

Create a strong security plan, integrating a united focus on both physical and IT cybersecurity, to build a foundation for your entire business structure. Be prepared for the dangerous physical security threats that have in many cases been left behind in lieu of targeting IT security management security alone. Employ a professional to perform a risk assessment as a great strategy to get you started. Make sure you are compliant with relevant compliance regulations as a good base for a security plan. Finally, make sure that top executives of your organization are on board with your efforts and for best results, assign a member of the C-suite as chief security officer to be responsible for your physical security and enforcement that will trickle down among other team members. An extensive knowledge of physical security basics are essential to create a complete strategy alongside your cybersecurity efforts.

Digital Forge offers cybersecurity assessments and packages that meet the individual needs of every business, no matter your size or industry. Contact us today for more information, call us at (877) 369-1831 or email info@dfcyber.com.