Increasing synergy between IT & physical security departments

Increasing synergy between IT & physical security departments

With the growing digitisation of spaces and processes, the security of resources is becoming more and more of a concern.

A huge part of a company’s revenue is spent on physical and IT security to ensure the safety of assets, human resources and the business environment. Physical security protocols implemented for on-ground safety, incident detection, access monitoring and overall surveillance of the physical assets, are only one part of the security framework.

The IT department secures critical digital information, hardware & software resources and controls the networked assets. But most organisations fail to address the convergence of both departments, causing operational failures, and risk of physical and monetary loss with long-term productivity consequences. A robust infrastructure for physical and information security is essential for the operation of any business, manufacturing facilities in particular. Are these departments connected, though? Can you have one and not the other? Does this convergence benefit business efficiency?

Physical Security for Business Resilience

Physical security contingent essentially protects the physical assets, working force and business premises.

It includes:

  • monitoring access points,
  • tracking & responding to security threats,
  • video surveillance of the site,
  • on-ground patrolling & checks.

Security breaches are a huge roadblock to any organisation’s growth. Physical security incidents cost firms more than $1 trillion of revenue in 2022, according to the World Security Report 2023. Physical assets in heavy manufacturing industries are highly vulnerable to both internal and external security threats like unauthorised access to critical assets, thefts and break-ins. Not only this, such threats can create a sense of insecurity among the workforce and may lead to employee agitation, strikes and unrest.

The physical security department operates day and night to identify and tackle possible security issues and address the weak points. As technology advances, the Internet of Things (IoT) enables connecting physical assets on a digital network. This is where the IT and information security department comes into play.

Enhancing Workplace Safety through IT Security

IT & information security revolves around the protection of sensitive business data, access to principal equipment, as well as, the prevention of human errors and malware attacks. Going beyond this, it is crucial to identify security vulnerabilities, detect incidents and take corrective measures to mitigate physical and monetary losses.

Misuse of company resources or data is one of the most common security breaches that increase the risks inherent in industrial operations. The IT department uses smart solutions, like firewalls, factor authentications, multi-modal security techniques and anti-malware software, to tackle such adversities. However, the challenges posed by the increasing footprint of physical resources on virtual networks require a more agile approach to safeguard critical assets.

Addressing the Operational Gaps – Are the Two Departments Interconnected?

Regular technological advancements and digital transformation have compelled businesses to rethink their security infrastructure and the way they work. Imagine entering an office for the first time. From physical security protocols to automated access management, it is becoming harder and harder to separate the functions of physical security and IT security departments.

  • Invasion of Assets: Smart office environments are equipped with IP-enabled machines and operate on integrated networks. Access to critical data and business information can be gained through the invasion of physical assets, like server rooms and restricted areas.
  • Restricted Biometric Security Access: Attacks on video surveillance systems, and camera injections are common in thefts of physical and digital assets. Not only this, biometric access system breaches through tailgating and identity theft to gain access to restricted areas can lead to significant loss of property and information.
  • Vulnerability to Risks: According to the World Security Report 2023, 90% of CSOs find information technology threats, that threaten physical security systems, challenging to operations. Security risks, directly or indirectly, make the business vulnerable to monetary risks, human risks, reputational risks, operational risks and financial risks.
  • A Blow to Operational Efficiency: The inevitable interdependence of physical security and IT departments divert the root cause of security incidents. Such inconsistencies disrupt the operational flow and productivity in business units as employees start to lack trust in security. Consequently, industry competitors thrive on such weaknesses, damaging the business reputation and potential poaching of resources.

To ensure the safety of assets, workforce and environment, integration of physical security and IT departments becomes imperative.

Unification for a Robust Security Structure

In industries like healthcare and manufacturing, the productivity of the workforce allies with their safety. So, physical & IT security is pivotal to prevent losses from security slips and data leaks. Integration of their processes helps elevate security posture and mitigate costs of inefficiency.

●     Convergence of Both the Departments

The starting point for a unified infrastructure is the convergence of physical and IT security departments for shared responsibilities of overall security. CISO and PFSO need to work together for threat detection and tackling the loopholes to prevent any detrimental impacts on overall functional efficiency.

●     Threat Detection and Response Protocol

Build a powerful threat detection and response protocol by integrating the capabilities of the physical and IT security systems. Incident response can make or break a security system. So, measuring and monitoring possible risks, and devising a strong response plan & recovery programme are key to strengthening the overall security.

●     Safeguarding Physical and Digital Boundaries

An efficient security system works as a digital fence and sends immediate alerts of security threats. Invest in security and biometric solutions that can be easily integrated in the video surveillance system, help automate access control, detect security infringements and accelerate raising alerts.

●     Rethink Risk Assessment and Security Metrics

Essentially, the risk assessment tasks are not to be separated for physical or IT security processes. It is important to reevaluate how various security risks are assessed in a way to measure their impact on operations. Nevertheless, security metrics and risk mitigation are important to keep safe from incidental costs.

Embarking Upon Modern Security

Organisations cannot afford to incur losses from inefficient security setups. With technology levering the digital presence of physical assets, physical and IT security departments need to work together for elevated productivity. Convergence of both is pivotal for cost savings, safety and hazardous incident prevention, business scaling, infrastructure enhancements and systematic growth.

“Regular technological advancements and digital transformation has compelled businesses to rethink their security infrastructure and the way they work.” Valerie Lapteva, Business Development Director, APAC, RecFaces

“A robust infrastructure for physical and information security is essential for the operation of any business, manufacturing facilities in particular.”Eugenia Marina, Business Development Director, MENA, RecFaces