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How Physical Security Controls Strengthen Data Security

John Sobieck

People tend to think of data security as an online issue, with attempts to access important information being conducted from remote locations. Whether it’s a movie or TV show about an information heist or a news article about a data breach, such stories tend to present the culprit as a hooded scoundrel, hunched over a computer, rapidly entering commands as a wall of code scrolls across a computer screen.

It’s true that many data breaches can be attributed to exploitations of electronic system vulnerabilities, which is why controls such as firewalls, anti-virus tools, intrusion prevention systems, vulnerability scanning, and system hardening are essential. However, it’s important to remember that the physical security controls of a building are also essential to keeping important data safe. Just as you would not want members of the public to have unrestricted access to your sensitive electronic data, you would not want to allow any unauthorized personnel to have free access to your facilities.

Technology & Training Help Ensure Data Remains Secure

That’s why IWCO Direct has put a number of physical security controls in place as part of our overall approach to data security. For example, employees and visitors alike are issued identification badges allowing them to be easily identified. Badges also restrict access for personnel only to areas needed to complete their jobs (e.g., only personnel who need access to the data center can access the data center). Additionally, we have surveillance cameras keeping a watchful eye on the movements in and around our facilities.

Another key component of physical security is employee awareness and training. Having a policy is great, but if employees aren’t informed of the rules, their effectiveness may be limited. We educate and instruct employees on the importance of securing their areas, including locking their screens when away from their desks and locking up or shredding sensitive physical media  when no longer needed. We make sure employees are displaying and using their badges properly and remind them of the importance of preventing tailgating or piggybacking, which must take precedence over being friendly and helpful to strangers. We also teach them the signs of suspicious activity as well as the proper channels for reporting any untoward behavior.

Physical Security Controls Are Part of a Complete Strategy

Much like how a security practice cannot be fully effective without implementing both logical and physical controls, physical security controls such as locks, badges, and cameras can only be effective with the support of educated and engaged employees to implement, maintain, and monitor an effective physical security system.

IWCO Direct is committed to the security of our clients’ data in whatever form it takes, electronic or physical. You can reach us here to learn more about our practices.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2019/05/15/physical-security-controls-data-security/
John Sobieck

Author

John Sobieck

Security Analyst with a BFA from Bemidji State University. Believes great work is accomplished by great teams and integrates that belief into everything he does at IWCO Direct. When not focused on data security or practicing Tae Kwon Do, this born traveler can be found exploring Minnesota’s North Shore.

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