What Is Physical Security? A Comprehensive Guide For 2021


Physical security has a major role to play in protecting crucial information and data. With changes in the employee and work environment, new cases of security threat keep arising.

  1. Physical security definition 
  2. Why physical security is important
  3. Physical security principles and measures
  4. IoT and AI bring physical security into the digital world 
  5. Physical security policies 
  6. What are the primary threats to physical security?
  7. How can we protect physical security?

1. Physical security definition 

What is physical security? Physical security is about protecting the people, their property, and the physical assets from any action or an event that could lead to a loss or damage. Physical security is crucial, and the security teams need to work in tandem to ensure the safety of digital and physical assets.

2. Why physical security is important

Now that we understand the physical security definition let us understand the importance of physical security. Physical security keeps your people, facility, and your assets safe from the threats of the real world. The threats could arise because of intruder detection or physical deterrence. Physical threats could be caused because of environmental factors. Still, the term is mostly used for any kind of people, be it external or insiders, from assessing the assets or the areas that they should not have access to.

Physical attacks could cause breaking into the secure area that stores data or sneaking into any restricted part of the building. The attacker could easily damage or steal the crucial IT assets, or they may also upload some malware into the entire system.

There needs to be rigorous physical security to keep away the external threats. There needs to be an equal measure to avoid the risks of any internal intruders.

The key is to understand that physical security should be confined only to the front door and the entire building. Any area that is left unguarded- be it the smoking area or the gym entrance could pose a risk.

Physical damage is as harmful as digital loss, and thus, tight physical security measures should be taken.

3. Physical security principles and measures

The core components of physical security include:

  • Access control includes a large area, including any basic barrier to the sophisticated physical security policies like biometric and ID card restrictions. However, it is important to understand each measure’s pros and cons and how one can fake these access controls.
  • Surveillance includes the burglar alarm, guards, and CCTV that keeps a complete log of everyone’s movement. Areas that are high risk can have sophisticated detectors to ensure a more holistic view.

4. IoT and AI bring physical security into the digital world 

The physical and digital security earlier was two different fields, but today, they are getting intertwined. The surveillance system is getting connected to the internet and the access controls. They are linked to the various monitoring systems and are keeping up with the digital logs. Cases of using artificial intelligence in physical security are now slowly becoming popular.

Facial and walk recognition and behavioural analytics are used in physical security. There are also many artificial intelligence-based video analytics that is sure to enter physical security in the next few years.

5. Physical security policies 

Depending on what your needs are and where you have based, the sophistication and scale of the control and monitoring will change. However, some best practices can be applied across the various boards to ensure the robustness of physical security.

  • Take an approach that is risk-based and is incorporated after doing thorough research.
  • Make sure that the access controls get tied to the people and offer personalized access. Like for example, every ID should have a unique person who is tied to the same.
  • Keep logs and audit trails as well as maintain inventory. If there are repeated cases of failed attempts, then this should indicate a red flag.

6. What are the primary threats to physical security?

Physical security focuses on the application, strategy, and preservation of the countermeasures that are capable of defending the business’s physical resources, human failure, and errors of any kind of – a deliberate act which are the primary threats to physical security. There could also be cases of a natural disaster or a change in service quality.

7. How can we protect physical security?

There are many possibilities for the chances of your physical assets getting stolen, and this can be a great threat. Here is what can be done to protect physical security.

  • Use a password to protect your phone or tablet.
  • Make use of anti-virus and anti-malware protection.
  • Configure and monitor the privacy settings of your application deliberately.
  • Allow device clearing and remote location through apps.
  • Disable the automatic backup feature so that the device does not share any information with the cloud users
  • Make sure to back up the data in your device constantly.


Physical security may sound to be easy and a no-brainer. However, with new forms of security breaches and attacks, it is important not to be lax about the physical security measures taken by your organization. It is important to optimize physical security, and the best way is to remain proactive, which will ensure no physical harm or theft to your company.

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give them an edge in this competitive world.


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