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Should businesses merge physical and cybersecurity?

What does it mean to merge physical and cybersecurity?

On a busy Friday morning in Oldsmar, Florida, a plant worker watched in horror as the mouse cursor started to move strangely. Suddenly, it opened up the water treatment plant’s main control board. Within minutes, the hacker tried to poison the city’s water supply by increasing levels of sodium hydroxide.

This example is just one of the many cyber-attacks that have led to high-stake ramifications in the real world. Moreover, the evolution of IoT technology has blurred the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Hence, a fractured relationship between the cybersecurity and physical security units is a huge vulnerability. It is unrealistic to build a secure IT infrastructure without merging both worlds.

What does physical and cybersecurity convergence mean for your business?

With hybrid attacks targeting both physical and cyber assets on the rise, it is high time for you to start thinking of building a more detailed security plan. 

Here are the benefits of developing an effective convergence strategy for your business. 

Better incident response

Security incidents can be an intersection of physical and digital spaces. There will be times when you will have to integrate departments to battle against an attack. Suppose a third-party vendor prints confidential documents from an unlocked computer in your building and distributes them to your competitors. Should this incident be handled by your cybersecurity or physical security department? 

There is a possibility of information gaps when security teams are separated. Hackers can use this and get access to precious insider information. With a converged approach, there will be more communication between the physical security and cybersecurity units. It allows holistic management of overall security.

Hence when disaster strikes, there will be a quicker and more effective action plan. There will be reduced downtime, losses and faster recovery. As a result, your overall immunity against attacks and security posture will improve drastically.

Reduced Operational Costs

Merging security arms will streamline the overall workflow. You can save the time and money you used to spend on coordinating two separate units. There will be less duplication of work. 

You can also reduce costs by converging security technology under one umbrella. Get rid of outdated security tools and use an enterprise security management system to protect you from intruders. Such automation helps you to minimize staffing costs.

 As a result, you can spend more time and money on essential tasks that will strengthen your business and security strategies. 

Competitive advantage

Converging security functions contribute to your company’s overall business objectives too. Digital and physical security breaches can damage the brand’s reputation. It can bring down consumer and stakeholder trust. In the long term, it will affect revenue and business opportunities for your company. 

Prioritizing data privacy bolsters the brand’s appeal to consumers and investors. This will allow you to spend more resources on productive activities to help your company evolve. Suppose an intruder gains access, organizations with converged security can bounce back faster. Reduced downtime gives you an upper hand over your competitors.

Steps to a successful security convergence

1. Create an integrated migration plan

Set up a dialogue with the upper management to discuss the changes and potential disruptions that might take place after convergence. Determine if it is financially feasible for the company. Review leadership roles and establish a qualified convergence task force for the mission led by a CISO or data officer. He will be responsible for both security arms. Giving joint responsibility to a CISO will help you close potential vulnerabilities and threats.

2. Coordinate with your security team

Start talking about your action plan with your entire security department. Establish team roles and responsibilities for better coordination and faster integration.

Assess your physical and cyber assets with the help of team members from both security functions. Determine the baseline by conducting assessments for security operations and incident management.

3. Use the latest technology for better efficiency.

A unified security system helps decrease the risk of a breach and potential damage. Integrating physical and cyber-security into one umbrella will help you spot anomalies more quickly and pinpoint unauthorized access to a physical or digital space.

Deploy data analytics, AI-powered video monitoring systems and other cutting-edge technology to find threat indicators and pinpoint system flaws in real-time. 

Both security teams within your organization share a common objective – to fend off any possible intrusion that may cause damage to the brand. Without convergence, both units try to achieve this goal by looking at it from two different perspectives. You can achieve maximum protection by combining both departments. The ultimate goal is to work together to provide your company with comprehensive protection.

Feba Maryann
Feba Maryann
Feba Maryann is a freelance journalist who writes for websites and magazines in Asia and North America. She is currently pursuing her Integrated Masters on Computer Science Engineering with a specialization in Data Science from VIT, Vellore.

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