Physical Security: The First Prong in the Three-Pronged Approach to Security

Physical security is the most traditional type of security – after all, we’ve been using “guns, gates, guards and gadgets” to protect physical locations for millennia. But today, it’s a lot more complicated than just building a fence or a wall around your assets.

Physical security technologies – tools like video surveillance cameras, badge readers, and motion sensors – are evolving to more comprehensive and intuitive data to the organizations they safeguard. As part of that evolution, many of these tools are being connected to other systems and infrastructures via IP networks. In fact, one report predicts that by 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet will exceed 50 billion.  That equates to an average of 5 devices per person – more than double what is in use today.

So, what was once isolated on separate networks is now integrated into public and private IP networks. That setup comes with pros and cons. On the upside, analytics from physical security devices can provide valuable, real-time, and predictive security intelligence. Today, applications can use the data from social media, facial recognition, drones, cameras, and sensors to proactively predict where, when or how the next incident will happen.

On the downside, you’re creating new endpoints. Each of these devices – a security camera or even a network-based thermostat - creates another potential backdoor for a hacker to get into your enterprise network. In fact, hackers are already taking advantage of these connected devices. Gartner predicts that by 2020, over 25 percent of enterprise attacks will involve the Internet of Things.

So how do you secure these physical systems? First, you’ll need to consider the way your organization is structured to handle these devices. Because physical security is now so often tied to IP networks, the line between cyber and physical security is blurred. That means the lines between those internal departments need to dissolve as well.

Start by consolidating the groups that oversee IT and physical security. This can happen either formally, through organizational overhaul, or informally, by encouraging collaboration. Then, have those groups work together to establish physical controls that also support requirements of cyber security and protection. Multi-factor authentication is one way to do it. Advanced biometrics, like retinal scans or fingerprints, is another means to ensure only authorized users access physical systems. And finally, make sure these controls are integrated with your entire infrastructure, including new tools and legacy systems. That may require third-party support.

Alliance can design a solution utilizing the technology across more than 150 manufacturers.  As a solution integration company, Alliance has engineering installation and support expertise across the enterprise including the network infrastructure, physical edge devices, and data storage. 

Our engineers design systems that leverage embedded investments and in addition to best practices and products.  And our Risk and Security practitioners can support the necessary government hardening efforts. Our goal is to make it easier for customers to get the right solution with one vendor, Alliance Technology, Group, and avoid the hurdles of multiple deadlines, juggling contractors and finger pointing when there are issues with integration.

For more information about Alliance and how we can help your agency to fortify your physical security, contact