Cyber and physical security convergence: Tips and benefits


Business owners often consider cyber and physical security options to increase their company’s security. Both are useful in the modern world, but combining them can feel more complex if their benefits aren’t clear.

Any company or business owner can explore this guide to learn more about physical and cyber security convergence. It’s much easier to improve a business’ security landscape with a comprehensive approach.

What Is Cyber and Physical Security Convergence?

Most people are familiar with examples of physical security measures. Gates and security cameras are frequent, even in small towns. They’re a physical barrier shielding whatever or whoever’s inside, but they don’t account for digital crimes.

Cyber security is also a measure of protection — for digital information. Stored files on cloud servers or in-office computers are more secure with software and hardware like firewalls, malware detectors, and antivirus software.

Although these types of security exist in the physical and digital worlds, they can converge to amplify a person’s or business’s safety. Combined with modern tools and the latest software, criminal activity is less likely because it’s harder to steal information or belongings.

Examples of Converged Security

It’s easier to picture using converged security in a company when concrete examples exist. These are a few common ways people use security measures to protect people, data, and other assets.

Cloud-Based Security Camera Systems

Security cameras are technically a physical security barrier. They’re objects attached to buildings, but some come with cloud-based servers. Sometimes cameras require manual backups to hard drives, but converging cloud servers with cameras creates automatic, widely accessible backups.

Logging onto the cloud can also require two-factor authentication to access logs. The additional layers of security and real-time, automatic backups enhance the user’s experience. The system alerts authorized users if an unauthorized individual attempts to access sensitive data and fails the additional authentication measures.

Biometric Security Systems

Physical parking garage gates are barriers that keep people and cars out of garages if they don’t have residential or employee access. Biometric security additions to access gates improve security by verifying the user’s identity in additional ways.

After scanning a residential or employee parking pass, users might need to enter a passcode or scan their fingerprints. The same security measures can apply to storage closets and locked file systems. Although the initial physical barrier of a parking gate or lock is a security measure, adding biometric measures minimizes the chance of theft.

Encrypted Laptops

People with confidential information often have to keep their laptops in locked storage. The physical security barrier protects the computers, but further cyber security measures can better secure the information on the hard drives.

Employees might have to enter a password to log in and change that password frequently. Additionally, they could have facial recognition software that logs them in. Laptops can even encrypt all saved data to make it unusable for cybercriminals.

Cyber security measures also prevent people from accessing data in traditional burglaries. After someone stole a Lifespan Health System employee’s laptop, they decrypted the saved data and used the private health information to make money. The company paid over $1 million in legal penalties as a result.

If the company had converged its security measures to include additional authentication measures or automatic cloud backups, the information might have been harder for the unauthorized user to access. The company would also have copies so the information wasn’t permanently lost.

Tips for Converging Cyber and Physical Security

Check out some best practices for converging cyber and physical security measures. With thought and caution, combining the two can feel simple and create lasting security benefits.

1. Use a Single Dashboard

Accessing combined security tools is much easier with a centralized dashboard. Create a dashboard with feedback from multiple or all security measures whenever possible. Preventing and detecting breaches will be instantaneous because team members won’t have to check various sources to protect whatever’s secured.

2. Update Existing Security Barriers

Security measures like bollards place physical barriers between people and places to prevent unauthorized access. Security guards typically activate them from stations attached to entrances, but they might only sometimes be there to press the activation button.

Company owners can connect their exiting parking lot bollards to software that allows remote activation in moments when increasing security is an immediate necessity. It would prevent vehicles from accessing parking areas even if the security guards are on break or sheltering in place elsewhere.

3. Utilize a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) secures the connection between computers and virtual networks. When someone tries to access a website, it routes the user through an encrypted server before connecting them with the site. This process prevents cybercriminals from hacking into computers and accessing public networks, an additional layer of security on top of a laptop’s password.

Business owners can protect their network activity and improve connectivity by utilizing this form of security convergence. VPNs sometimes offer unlimited data, which is helpful for workplaces with extensive in-person, home-based, and traveling teams accessing the same servers.

4. Follow a Convergence Plan

Any convergence goes more smoothly with a detailed plan. Business owners should define which security measures they’re combining and why. It’s the best way to understand if the convergence has been effective a few weeks or months after finalizing the process.

Teams can also transition according to milestones like installation dates and convergence deadlines. Management leaders will know if the convergence is on track if they can check off steps along the way. Installation professionals can work with those in leadership positions to create a realistic timeline based on the desired updates.

5. Train All Necessary Team Members

If only one or two people know how to use the new cyber and physical security measures, crises are much more likely. Anything can happen when one or both people are out of work or unreachable.

Training all team members to monitor and use newly installed security tools is best. Recurring training is also helpful. Quarterly or annual training will update everyone involved if there are software updates or procedure changes.

6. Update Software Regularly

Cyber security software isn’t useful if it isn’t updated regularly. Anyone with administrative access to security systems should check for updates frequently and schedule time to implement the updates. Patches and security updates will fight against the latest digital attack methods so the converged systems are as effective as possible.

7. Merge Security Teams

Companies will likely have at least two security teams before and during convergence efforts. Security guards monitoring parking garage access booths and responding to internal building concerns must meet with digital security teams. IT professionals can explain how the converged systems work and undergo training together.

The improved communication streamlines technology usage. It also creates training opportunities for future hires, as recurring training will be necessary with future updates. Everyone who can check or use the converged security tools will know how to manage and respond to incidents together. No one will feel confused about administrative privileges or response plans in the case of an emergency.

8. Prepare Security Responses

Although combining cyber and physical security measures makes secure data and individuals safer, nothing is fail-proof. Accidents happen; knowledgeable criminals can still break through the most updated protection measures.

Detailed security responses should remain ready for potential future emergencies. All digital and physical security team members must know how to report break-ins, who responds to the cases, and how to secure the systems again. Crisis management response plans are essential for detecting and managing threats in real time.

Consider Cyber and Physical Security Convergence

Combining cybersecurity and physical security domains is an excellent way to amplify data protection in the modern world. It adds additional layers against cybercrimes and real-world threats. Anyone can lead a convergence by making a structured plan with deadlines and goals that the entire team understands.