Physical Security- First line of Defense, Let us not ignore it

Imagine a Scenario:

You are a wonderful team working in best of the class office handling extremely important data. Your data center is in another corner of a city. You have deployed all sort of security measure starting from IT security, application security, and cyber security and so on. Even some physical security as well. All of sudden, at almost same time, you realized that someone has targeted your organization’s two locations- Your office and DC both are just- Blasted off with a bomb. This has resulted not only in the loss of lives but also the loss of critical data. Business may stop for weeks, if not months. Even if a DR is ready at some remote location, the critical manpower may have been lost or out of fear may not want to work for a while in offices maintained by same organization

Got a chill in spine!!!

Well, not anyone of us would like that to happen to us. But in today’s world when we are so engaged in dealing with cyber security and cybercrime, still it doesn’t diminish the importance of physical security. Though no security is full proof but at most time, having a control may act as a deterrent to a malicious activity if not fully prevent it. It’s majorly true in the case of a physical security. Now a days we boast of working in world’s best organizations, for best of the clients and we have become extremely vulnerable to attacks like described above because it directly may affect not only economy to some extent but will shake the moral of any country/ city/ public as well. A company worth thousands of crores may be brought to stand still in moments.

We must remember the physical security will always be our first line of defense, be it data or human being. For a human being, that is the only line of defense because for IT and IT enabled organizations human are the greatest assets and if those are lost, damages are unimaginable.

We tend to ignore the importance of small things like: displaying out I- cards or these being thoroughly checked by security staff, not allowing security personnel to check our baggage, trying to escape out of metal detectors. This is especially true in the case of very senior personnel but remembers, in security world- no one should be trusted. The moment one grows up the ladder of management, one gets more knowledgeable of business critical information and become more vulnerable to getting spoiled or attacked or may be used for an attack. Baggage screening machine has become a necessity today.

We should know that practically there is nothing in this world which may be termed as an accident unless it is a natural calamity. Everything we claim is an accident, could have been prevented by some kind of physical/ logical control or human wisdom.

Some of the controls suggested to make us safe from such attacks are: Physical access control, CCTV, Burglar alarms which include door break detectors, glass break detectors, Infra Red supported movement detectors (Burglar alarms are generally used at times when premise is abandoned for a while, like overnight), Fire extinguishers, Public address systems and we need to more vigilant on insiders (especially for seniors because as we know since age of EPIC: Ramayana, insider threat has always been paramount.

Also, keeping above things in mind, another aspect of looking towards the importance of physical security is, if one start offering it as a service or at least as an integrator understanding customer needs, evaluating vendors and delivering results and thus earning money. It’s never a late before we start realizing the importance of physical security. Be safe, be secure

Authored by Naveen Gupta

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