Physical security is the systems used for the protection of people, property, and assets from actions and events that could cause damage or loss. It is the reaction to physical threats that can either be: internal, external, manmade or act of God.
Though often overlooked in favor of cyber-security, physical security is of great importance in preventing information or device theft or destruction with recovering being either too expensive or just impossible. If physical security isn’t properly planned, executed, and maintained, all other forms of security will be a waste, that is, PHYSICAL SECURITY IS THE CRUX OF SECURITY.
The core components of physical security are: access/ deterrence, surveillance/detection and testing/ response to attack or threat.
Some threats to security include:
- Security policy breach
- Power failure
- Flood and fire
- Data/ intellectual property theft
- Malicious insiders etc.
Neglecting any of these threats can lead to severe consequences including loss of insider business secrets, funds, data, physical devices, and even civil suits costing millions for data leakage.
The use of physical security over the years has become increasingly complex and this is a result of the evolving nature of technology. Before now, computers were extremely large and stationary, getting locked in a storehouse at the close of work with physical security operatives stationed to protect it with their lives. This situation has changed, with workplace desks getting littered with laptops, mobile phones, mobile information storage e.g. flash drives, hard drive, etc. The portability of devices makes them easy to be misplaced or to get carted away by the work hands when left unattended.
This portability makes I.T and physical security closely connected and thus the introduction of artificial intelligence-based devices to the fold.
The need for physical security can never be overemphasized, as a thousand firewalls cannot prevent a person from moving an unattended flash drive containing sensitive information from the office.
Some other threats physical security protect against include: unauthorized access into sensitive areas, gaining access through hacking access systems, cloning access cards, etc. On the other hand, physical security protects against these threats through, site layout and design, environmental components, emergency response readiness, training, access control, intrusion, detection and power, and fire protection.
Some reasons for physical security in the workplace are:
- Protection of life, property, and asset: at the core of any form of security is protection from loss or damage and this also applies in physical security.
- Prevention of unlimited access: access control is one of the core aspects of security. Physical control here prevents both strangers and members of staff from having unauthorized access to private places within the premises. It can also extend to the environs of the building, and this is taking into cognizance the portability of devices and the possibility of losing them close to the office premises
- Detection of intrusion: physical security helps with intrusion detection and checking the same immediately.
- Having in place a physical security system is more cost-effective than having to regularly replace stolen or vandalized items/ devices, which could lead to the loss of sensitive and important information.
- It keeps intruders out. The presence of various forms of physical security systems, serves as a deterrent to many intruders, as the fear of getting caught keeps their intentions at bay. This generally prevents security incidents.
- It generally reduces the inflow of persons to your organization and thus, enabling the receptionist and other front desk staff the opportunity to work without distraction.
- Boost employee productivity. One of the reasons for physical security is the protection of personnel and where employees feel more at peace, without the fear of vandalism, theft, and other things, there’s more concentration and thus better output.
- Prevents frivolous claims. There are several cases of reporting non-existence security breaches and incidents which have been resolved by the presence of physical security. This has prevented organizations from suits worth millions, which can lead to perishing of such organization
- Monitoring visitors is one of the security issues organizations battle with from time to time. This issue ranges from preventing access to some visitors to monitoring their movement within the organization, ascertaining their location within the premises during an emergency or evacuation, etc. The presence of physical security comes into play in resolving this issue.
The presence of physical security in an organization cannot be overemphasized and no organization should overlook or replace it with cybersecurity, as they play differing roles in ensuring protection.
From the foregoing, it is necessary for organization leaders to create a security plan and layered levels of physical security, to ensure adequate protection, which can lead to greater operational success and profit.