Bridging the Physical and Digital Security Divide

Organizations are integrating their physical and digital security systems–and for good reason. They are reacting to what they correctly see as significant crossover between physical and digital security, no matter their industry or organization. Their response? Integrating their physical and digital security systems.

Staying resilient in the face of evolving threats now means recognizing and responding to risks, no matter where they originate. Unfortunately, many organizations continue to view the physical and digital as separate entities.

This is partly because the idea of “security” has equaled “physical security,” like guards, chain link fences, and some cameras. But when companies started going digital, cybersecurity became an add-on that often came with its own department and separate tools and procedures.

Security is still segregated in this way across many organizations, creating vulnerabilities and blind spots. Modern threats don’t happen in isolation and they don’t fit under one department. When a threat crosses the artificial boundaries between physical and digital, the question is whether organizations have the tools to respond quickly and effectively. If not, critical information will get stuck behind departmental silos when a strong threat response actually requires “all hands on deck.”

Is this chasm between digital and physical security leaving your organization vulnerable?

Do you have separate teams for digital and physical security? 

If so, do these teams use separate security tools and software? Are their priorities at odds with each other? Do they follow different threat detection protocols? In the real world, security threats cross from the physical into the digital, and vice versa. Shouldn’t your security cover that reality? 

Think of how a severe storm (physical threat) can lead to a power outage affecting your digital assets. If that happens, who is responsible? If connections between your digital and physical security teams are severed, they may not pick up on critical blindspots or be able to work together on organizational-wide threats until too late.

Not only is there overlap between the physical and digital security landscape, but today’s physical systems often have a digital presence of their own. Consider the millions of connected devices on the Internet of Things (IoT). Is your organization prepared to handle that level of integration between physical and digital security? The lines are murky, and it’s getting hard to answer, “What is ‘digital’ security, and what is ‘physical’ security?” 

Increasingly, they are beginning to look like two faces of the same coin, and a cyberattack on a physical IoT device can weaken an entire system. 

Criminals are showing impressive levels of creativity in accessing digital systems via physical devices. The infamous Las Vegas fish tank hack, where hackers accessed a casino’s data through a “smart” fish tank, leaves little doubt that physical and digital security are now forever intertwined. 

This means that continuing to enforce traditional but outdated notions of security can seriously harm your business operations and put your organization at risk. Instead, what would happen if you treated security as an integrated challenge in which all departments had a stake? 

What if you brought physical and digital security together?

By bringing together digital and physical security, you can respond to threats as they happen in the real world: this enhanced situational awareness stops “silo creep”, allowing you to act faster and more cohesively. 

Treating security as an integrated whole helps standardize threat response, ensures greater transparency, and opens communication between disparate teams. It also empowers everyone in your organization to act confidently and decisively when threats emerge that don’t “fit” the traditional digital-physical divide.

Even more important, integrating physical and digital security systems allows you to centrally monitor security from alternate sites, which is important for continuity of operations planning (COOP).

Remember: most organizations don’t physically need everyone on the ground to identify and deal with physical security threats. If the personnel on the ground can connect to the system, and the greater organization, they can then act to mitigate the threat while remote teams provide context and resources. Everyone works together when your security is integrated. 

How to achieve integrated security

To get an integrated picture of your organization’s digital and physical security in real-time, it’s important to use a single software solution that can put it all together. That’s where Bold Group’s Manitou software can help. 

Manitou powers your alarm monitoring operations by integrating multiple signals from hundreds of devices into one streamlined dashboard. It can help you understand physical and digital risks as they evolve in real-time; help you locate at-risk assets, employees, and facilities; and take effective actions through automatic, standardized procedures. It also helps you gain clarity with post-incident reporting, so you can adjust your approach in the face of future threats. 

The right software, in the hands of a centralized response team that monitors physical and digital threats 24/7, puts you in a stronger position and helps ensure business continuity. Are you ready to bring it all together? If so, we’ll help you get started today.