Preparing For Physical and Cybersecurity Convergence | 2019-09-20 | Security Magazine

As organizations invest in digital technology to support their physical security, it’s imperative that they understand how cyber threats pose a risk to both IT infrastructure and physical assets. Connected devices such as cameras, sensors, and digital door locks present cybercriminals with new points of entry into otherwise protected networks. If any one of these assets is compromised, organizations could face a breach that wreaks havoc on all devices connected to their network.


Our increasingly digital world also means that organizations are facing a new generation of cyber-physical threats. In fact, Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach investigations Report found that 11 percent of involved physical actions. For private security and public safety professionals, the convergence of physical security and cybersecurity urgently requires a new approach and investment in technology that can deliver success.


This reality creates unique opportunities as well as heightened risks for CSOs and CIOs. While digital technology has led to advanced physical security systems, the network-connected hardware behind them must now be managed with an understanding of the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity. For example, a data breach in a smart building could allow bad actors to remotely disable security or monitor video surveillance feeds over the network. On the flip side, a physical breach of the same smart building could allow bad actors to capture digital assets for cybercriminal activity. In both cases, vulnerabilities in one space bleed into vulnerabilities in the other. Cybersecurity directly impacts physical security and vice versa.


This is only getting harder as digital infrastructure becomes more advanced and bleeds into the physical security world. For example, with organizations relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) for a greater share of their physical security — the number of IoT-connected devices is projected to reach 75.4 billion by 2025 — physical and IT security leaders need to defend a larger attack surface than ever before.


In an era of increasingly sophisticated security threats, CIOs, CISOs, and COOs alike need to be more committed than ever to protect their data, facilities, and teams. From unauthorized personnel attempting to gain entry to your facilities to cybercriminals looking to breach your network, private security and public safety stakeholders need to be everywhere at once — or at least have the software that can help counter each specific threat.