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Not all criminals operate in the cyber realm. Implementing strong physical security measures is just as critical to your IT security as firewalls and VPNs. Consider the following statistics:1

  • 88% of business leaders saw an increase in physical threat activity throughout 2022.
  • 83% say unmanaged physical threats have negatively impacted business continuity at their organizations.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to acknowledge the role of physical security in their cyber security strategies. In this blog, we’re sharing three ways poor physical security can affect your IT security and how you can boost your overall security posture with a NIST assessment. 

1. Physical Breaches May Compromise Sensitive Data

While firewalls and other cyber security measures can prevent criminals from remotely entering your network, hackers have another strategy up their sleeves: gaining access to unsecured devices in your building. 

Criminals often gain access to employee-only areas using one of two methods:

  • Tailgating – When the hacker follows an authorized person into a restricted location.
  • Piggybacking – When the hacker tricks an authorized person into providing access to a restricted location.

Once inside your building, cyber criminals can plug into any IP connection that isn’t properly protected, like a WiFi network or an internet of things (IoT) device. They can then incapacitate your surveillance systems, alarms, and other physical security components to keep your teams in the dark while they steal sensitive information directly from your network.

2. Servers and Computing Equipment Are at Risk

Another way hackers can disrupt your business is to adjust your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to temperatures that would render your servers inoperable. Similarly, cyber criminals can easily hack into unprotected servers or other computing equipment and plant malware or steal data.

Implementing physical security solutions like access controls and intrusion detection alarms can help you get a complete picture across your sites. If an intruder breaches a restricted area, you can take fast, effective action to eliminate the threat.

3. Physical Security Devices Can Be an Attack Surface

Unprotected IoT devices are potential cyber attack vectors, including surveillance cameras, WiFi locks, and other physical security devices. Once you’ve connected a device to your network, it becomes a vulnerability that hackers can use to plant malware or mount even more destructive attacks that disrupt your business operations.

Because of these risks, security teams must work together to safeguard every network-connected device used in your organization. Along with secure access controls and 24/7 monitoring for break-ins, you can prevent criminals who access your physical devices from doing too much damage with network sensors. Sensors monitor the health and safety of your IT environments at all times, so you can take action to prevent suspicious activity from getting out of control.

Improve Your Physical Security With a NIST Assessment

The cyber security landscape is worsening for businesses worldwide. Prepare your organization to combat evolving threats in the coming years – including physical security risks – by downloading our free workbook. In it, you’ll learn about seven critical enterprise security considerations, and how a NIST assessment from Access One can help you identify vulnerabilities in your physical and IT security systems.

Without effective physical and cyber security measures in place to thwart malicious parties, your network-connected physical devices are likely at risk. Explore Access One’s end-to-end physical security services, or contact us to schedule your comprehensive NIST assessment today.