The unique security needs of enterprise organizations is changing with the increase in cloud-based and IoT workplace technology. The older methods of treating cybersecurity and physical security as separate entities is no longer enough to protect an enterprise. And when the cost of a data breach in the United States averages $4.24 million, most companies can’t afford to leave themselves at risk. With much of the focus on cybersecurity practices, however, organizations are often overlooking their physical security needs. Security convergence merges cyber and physical security strategies to keep enterprises protected from emerging threats and vulnerabilities.
Common cyber-physical security threats to enterprises
In order to build a strong security convergence strategy and improve security posturing, enterprises need to know what they’re up against. As the technology we use every day becomes more advanced, so do the methods used to gain unauthorized access to spaces and data. These are the most common security threats enterprise organizations face in today’s world.
- External hacking attempts – These include malicious attempts from outsiders to gain information, data, or physical access. Phishing, social engineering, and IoT-device hacking are all examples of enterprise security threats from external sources. Data centers are no longer the only main target for hackers; edge devices like enterprise security cameras are increasingly targeted in these incidents.
- Internal security incidents – A surprising number of enterprise security incidents are actually carried out by employees of the organization. Issues like property theft, vandalism, stealing data, and workplace violence are serious security vulnerabilities that enterprises need to be vigilant to prevent.
- Accidental employee breaches – Lackadaisical security policies, insecure networks, and outdated security systems are just some examples of how accidental security breaches can occur. Security teams need to be prepared to mitigate incidents like tailgating and misplaced access credentials, as well as protect company property like laptops, IT servers, and data sharing devices.
- Third-party risks – As organizations adopt more managed software and technology, there is increased risk of a breach among suppliers, vendors, and contractors. If third-party providers aren’t adhering to the same standards of security that you expect from your own organization, your data and information is still vulnerable.
- Limited visibility and incident response – Not knowing what’s happening at the workplace, when it’s happening is a major security oversight in today’s world. When hacking and data breaches are happening over the course of a few minutes, every second wasted costs your organization.
Protecting your assets through convergence
The definition of security convergence is the merging of distinct security entities as part of a complete risk management plan. Cyber-physical convergence brings together the strategies that enterprises use to secure their physical space, and the policies to protect data and privacy. The high-level benefits of a holistic security convergence strategy include:
- Improved security posturing across the organization
- Better communication and collaboration between teams
- Increased efficiency and security ROI
- Faster incident response times
- Enables proactive enterprise security management
But does convergence actually work? In cyber-physical convergence, physical security components, such as access control systems, video surveillance, and barriers, are put in place to safeguard data. And cybersecurity policies also address the vulnerabilities of physical hardware, IoT devices, and cloud-based software. This strategy offers more comprehensive protection that addresses the most common enterprise security threats together, eliminating redundancies and fortifying the security posture with a layered approach.
Enterprise security technology
The right technology makes employing a security convergence strategy more seamless. Similar to the way teams work more efficiently when they collaborate, your security tools and systems are better equipped to safeguard your enterprise when they function together. Interoperable cloud-based solutions give you the most flexibility for easy integrations and automations.
Cloud-based technology is also more flexible than on-premise systems. This is key for scaling your security to meet changing business needs. Being able to easily add new locations to your security system, or issue credentials for new hires saves time and hassle, especially for your IT department.
As hackers and threats to security continue to change, your security system needs to be able to adapt just as quickly. Cloud-based access control systems, for example, can update software over-the-air, giving you the latest security features as soon as they are available. An adaptable security system is a must for successful convergence, and it future-proofs your enterprise to do more with less investment over time.
Best practices for cyber-physical security convergence
Implementing security convergence planning starts with your people and technology. Previously siloed teams should be functioning as a single entity, so your IT and physical security teams need to have strong leadership and shared goals. In outlining your cyber-physical convergence strategy, follow these best practices to ensure a future-proof plan.
- Install video surveillance and access control systems for any spaces and locations where sensitive data may be at risk. Pay close attention to IT server rooms and employee computers.
- Limit access to restricted areas of buildings, especially after-hours. The principle of least privilege should be applied to enterprise applications as well as physical access. A cloud-based access control system makes this easier with granular permissions that can be adjusted at any time.
- Utilize the cloud for real-time monitoring and notifications. Improving incident response requires teams to know what’s happening, when it’s happening. Activity reporting, visual verification, and remote access to physical access controls are essential to minimizing the time it takes to triage security issues.
- Leverage IoT automations and integrated platforms to create a more complete dataset of security across your organization. Ingested into AI-powered analytics tools, this data is invaluable to proactive enterprise security management.
- Restructure your teams to eliminate redundancies and encourage better cross functional communication.
- Regularly audit your current physical and cyber security to identify areas of risk or oversight. It’s a good idea to implement frequent vulnerability testing and active system monitoring to make sure you’re protected from emerging threats, too.
It’s hard to ignore the growing number and cost of security threats to enterprise organizations across the globe. But the right security technology and strategies help businesses mitigate risk and stay ahead of emerging threats. Cyber-physical convergence at the enterprise level improves security posturing through collaborative team efforts, integrated security technology, and streamlined processes at scale. In taking additional steps to safeguard data through physical security controls, and secure hardware with encryption and cybersecurity efforts, convergence allows businesses to adapt to any security landscape, now and well into the future.