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The Link Between Physical Security and Cybersecurity

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When physical security and cybersecurity meet

When approaching a home or business, one of the first things noticed, after working in the physical security realm for so long, are the key things being used for security. From the use of flood lights, fencing, to the small blue ADT signs in the yard, you become very aware of the exterior-facing security measures.

When talking with other physical security experts within the field, we dealt with the mentality of, "If we build this fence higher, light up this area more, or add signs that say 'Smile You’re on Camera,' than a potential intruder would stay away."

All of this is fairly true and these things most certainly deter potential threats. Yet, many within the field of physical security lack knowledge on one key area, cybersecurity.

Connectivity brings new vulnerabilities

With everyone wanting the ease of connectivity, the knowledge of cybersecurity is now needed for the physical security expert. Vulnerabilities go deeper than how many entry points are there on the main level, how thick the wall surrounding a valuable asset area is, or how many feet the vegetation is away from the fence line. The Internet has now connected our homes and businesses so that we can control them remotely.

This remote access has really allowed for our ability to continually monitor our systems while we are away. Yet, it has added vulnerabilities to our systems, as well.

Whether it be the hard lines giving life to the system which must exit a building at some point, to susceptibility to a hacked Wi-Fi connection, an intruder with the right skills now has the abilities to bypass security systems all together -- to kill the lifeline and gain access.

Collaboration needed

This connective behavior has brought the need for the collaboration between the two fields of physical and cybersecurity.

You cannot consider one without the other, and there is truly a divide between the two fields at the moment. You have one area of expertise working the physical realm, and IT professionals handling the other. There must be the bringing together of minds, cross-training, and unity of efforts to truly secure our lives.

Adam Herndon Adam served ten years in the United States Army primarily in the Operations and Physical Security realm. His tour allowed him to serve in the DC Metro area as the Operations for a Military Police Company and a Sniper/Observer team member for the Military District of Washington's Special Reaction Team, Hawaii as Operations for a Brigade Combat Team, and Fort Leavenworth as the Operations for the Department of Emergency Services as well as a Physical Security Specialist. Adam now works for the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies, where Critical Thinking and Group Think Mitigation are taught in hopes of bettering the decision making process and the development of better plans and ideas.