Physical Security – As Relevant As Ever

In today’s cyber landscape, a week doesn’t go by without news of a brand new exploit or ransomware attack. With this changing and complex landscape, the need for Information Security is at an all-time high. And as a result, businesses are racing to protect themselves as best they can through any number of logical security mechanisms and controls. Unfortunately, in the melee, the domain of physical security has taken a secondary, backseat position.

However, physical security is still very much a relevant and important aspect of Information Security, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Every business is potentially vulnerable to threats such as physical theft, theft of data and intellectual property and physical-safety risks to employees and customers. Specifically, retailers all to often understand the significance of theft on their bottom line. According to the 2015 National Retail Security Survey by the National Retail Federation, inventory shrink amounted to $44 billion in losses for retailers in 2014. 38% was attributed to shoplifting and 34.5% was attributed to employee/internal theft.

Physical security can be described as those fundamental controls used to protect the actual premise, site and/or building as well as any other physical assets. Physical security systems can include any of the following:

  1. Surveillance & Monitoring (cameras, CCTVs, monitors, sensors, alarms, encoders)
  2. Access controls (gates, doors, locks, biometrics)
  3. Intrusion deterrents (window barriers, motion lights)
  4. Security guards

When in place, sound physical security systems help to do the following:

  • Protect – Installing a multi-faceted security system will help protect your business and site against theft, crime and unauthorized access.
  • Monitor – Implementing physical security controls can help track and monitor the productivity and security of employees.
  • Track – In the unfortunate event that a business has been a victim of a crime, evidence stored or recorded in any of the physical security controls can be used for investigative and legal purposes.


Lastly, performing regular security assessments to test the effectiveness of physical controls is a best practice that all businesses should conduct.

The bottom line: Physical security is just as important as it has ever been. Although logical controls are essential in today’s environment, overlooking the need for physical security can most certainly have a negative impact on business and the bottom line.

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