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Don't Give Physical Security the Back Seat

It seems that most of the security buzz is currently focused on data/cyber security in an effort to protect sensitive information; however, physical security is still very much of vital importance. If overlooked, it could lead to dangerous outcomes.

Just stop for a moment and think of what would happen if a thief broke into your office and stole your manuals or phone/email lists. Think of the damage that could be done on social media, for example, with that data. It could literally ruin your business and bring demise to your reputation.

In addition, not to be overlooked is insider threat – an employee or contractor that helps themselves to your most private and sensitive information. While we typically hear about this in the form of hackers breaching computer systems, employees set on doing harm to further gains for themselves have almost unlimited access to physical data such as manuals, removable hard drives and thumb drives stored with data and even sticky notes left around with important reminders.

Another asset to protect is your employees. Human life obviously has tremendous value, but beyond that, your business would cease to function without employees.

With such a diminishing focus on physical security, here are a few areas that you should focus on:

  1. The lobby – Is this an open environment where an intruder can simply walk into your place of business and straight through your facility? Often times, businesses rely on a receptionist as the first line of security, but they, too, can get busy and distracted. One solution would be to have a locked door between the lobby and the inside of your facility.

  2. The data center – If you have a data center of any size, is it unlocked? People who have physical access to a system can do many things that a network hacker could not. If you have a data center, make sure it’s securely locked with restricted access only to those who need it.

  3. Doors – Do you have poorly secured doors that lead into your facility? Proximity cards for entry provide some access control for individual doors as well as a detailed audit trail so that you can see who is coming and going. However, remember that people can piggyback.

  4. Surveillance – Does your facility deploy video surveillance cameras? Due to the inexpensive nature of this security product, they can detect possible threats as well as allow for forensic review of incidents. Don’t simply install these cameras and then ignore them. They are not meant to be used as a deterrent only but to provide needed data should an incident occur. Install cameras at all entry points and in key areas such as your production area, telecom closets, etc. Record and retain the video. Be sure to assign someone to keep watch on the video data by placing a live monitor on his/her desk.

  5. Intruder detection – Does your business have an intrusion alarm installed that is active? Don’t rely just on a security guard who is present in your multi-tenant building. Walls between offices are rather flimsy and easy to drill through drywall. If you don’t have an alarm system, install one. Give each of your employees unique codes, which will help with audit trails.

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety