Physical security, known as the process of protecting people, property and physical assets, has become a necessity. In 2022, 28% of businesses surveyed said they experienced an increase in physical security incidents. Though this may seem like a small percentage, another report stated that large, global companies lost a combined $1 trillion in revenue due to physical security incidents. Smash and grabs as well as flash mob robberies have only exacerbated the need for companies. In this article, we’ll explore the trends in physical security and how you can go about improving physical security for your business or organization.  

What is Physical Security? 

First things first…what is physical security? Physical security is defined as “the protection of people, property and physical assets from actions and events that could cause damage or loss.” These systems are similar to logical access control, but only in so far as they protect information and space. (Logical security safeguards virtual realms, data and intellectual property.) 

Popular security measures include installing surveillance cameras and security guards. Other common mechanisms associated with physical security are doors, locks, CCTV cameras, fences, turnstiles, power supplies, physical barriers and access control.  

We’ll discuss some of these features at length in this article, but first, let’s take a look at some common security threats.  

Common Security Threats 

Most security equipment is designed to deter unwanted people from entering a specific part of a building. These could be people belonging to your organization or people from the outside.  

Common security threats include: 

  • Theft and burglary 
  • Unauthorized trespassers  
  • Acts of terrorism 
  • Vandalism or property damage 
  • Sabotage or corporate espionage  

How to Lessen Risk: 5 Physical Security Measures  

Whether you manage a small business or a large enterprise, there are certain security measures you must implement to restrict unauthorized access to your operation. While the size and scale of these measures might shift with each case, the basic needs for them remain the same.  

To help you get started, here are five effective physical security measures for risk management and protection: 

1. Cloud-based access control 

Cloud-based access control software is built to be managed from anywhere. These platforms are developed and managed by SaaS providers such as Genea. Access control and security hardware often work hand-in-hand to restrict and regulate entry throughout a building. By combining computer technology with physical barriers, cloud-based access control gives you unparalleled control of your building and its different entry points. 

Cloud-based access control systems are preferable to on-premises systems for several reasons. Not only do they save you thousands of dollars on hardware, but cloud-based platforms also include direct support, system updates and API integrations.  

2. Single Pane of Glass Security 

Some cloud-based access control systems unify disparate property technology into a single solution – these are called “single pane of glass” security. Single pane of glass security provides a centralized platform for managing and monitoring security across diverse systems, simplifying administration. This unified interface enhances efficiency by offering a consolidated view of user permissions, authentication and activity logs. Administrators can respond to security events, reducing response times. The streamlined approach minimizes errors and improves overall security posture, ensuring consistency in access policies. With a single point of control, organizations gain better visibility into potential vulnerabilities, enabling proactive risk mitigation. Ultimately, the simplicity and coherence of a single pane of glass access control contribute to a more robust and manageable security infrastructure. 

3. Effective visitor management 

Visitor management is an important security practice that is focused on directing the movements of visitors in a building. Traditional visitor management systems can be as simple as logbooks found in the lobbies of office buildings. However, modern visitor management systems help monitor movements of guests within your operation.  

When integrated with a security system, visitor management software makes it simple to register and track guests without making physical contact. Additionally, visitor management systems provide real-time access and notifications about the movements of employees and visitors.  

4. Surveillance and Video Security Management 

Surveillance is the practice of monitoring a particular area for suspicious or criminal activity. These systems use many measures to gather data and effectively manage a building. These measures include cameras, monitors, recorders, alarm systems, as well as law enforcement, security guards, and security teams.  

Video surveillance systems, also referred to as video management systems (VMS), help with security by giving you direct visual evidence of your property. While physical barriers and access control restrict movement within a building, surveillance systems keep a vigilant watch on the area.  

In the event of a security breach, surveillance systems provide critical evidence used in conjunction with data from access control systems. This robust combo is a serious tool for reducing security risks. 

5. Physical barriers 

Physical barriers are on the front lines of any functional security system. These deterrents block physical access for people attempting to make physical entry to your building. Examples of physical barriers include fences, doors, walls, locks, turnstiles, and gates.   

Physical barriers complement access control systems to address physical threats of a property. When used with technologies like card readers, smartphones, and access credentials, physical barriers work under the control of machine automation.  

Why is Physical Security Important? Keep Your Employees and Facilities Safe 

Security controls are important because they protect your operation’s most valuable assets. Whether it be data, equipment, facilities, or employees, it is your job as an owner or system administrator to keep your building safe.  

Unfortunately, in today’s society, we must deal with criminal elements that can sometimes cause physical harm. Implementing the appropriate physical security measures will keep your employees protected from acts of terrorism, vandals, and other malicious parties and activities.  

When it comes to protecting sensitive data, physical security is also a critical part of cybersecurity. To this end, physical barriers like doors and locks protect server rooms, data centers, and laptops that house sensitive information.