MIT has launched a cyber security course specifically geared towards businesses, which aims to help them tackle many of the key cyber security issues of the day, including defense against hackers using techniques like encryption. The course will help businesses, many of whom are already seeing cyber security as a top priority, get to grips with this new threat.
As businesses around the world increase their online defences, it may be easy to forget that physical threats are still very real. That is why it has never been more important to make sure your business balances its cyber security measures with the always-important physical security concerns.
Why physical security is still important
The press frequently warns us that cyber security as one of the biggest threats facing businesses today. A recent report found that over half of British businesses fell victim to cyber security breaches last year, at the cost of almost £30 billion to the national economy.
Cyber attacks came most commonly in the form of phishing scams and computer viruses. These frequent attacks led to many small businesses investing heavily in cyber security measures. An analyst from Beaming pointed out that although smaller businesses are less likely to fall victim to successful cyber attacks, these attacks do proportionally more damage to smaller targets, so this increase in cyber security investment is “encouraging.”
However, the same argument can be made about physical security breaches such as break-ins and thefts. A 2015 report found that half of small businesses had been targeted for burglary, vandalism and other crimes on their property. One victim of an attempted break-in told researchers that the cost of fixing the damage the would-be burglars made was “probably the biggest problem.” An expert from Victim Support said that crimes against small businesses “can have a devastating impact emotionally and financially on victims.”
These findings suggest that despite the current push for businesses to protect themselves from cybercrime, more traditional physical crimes are as frequent and harmful as ever.
Protection from physical crime can be easily achieved through a combination of traditional and high tech security measures. Secure locks, doors, windows and safes ensure burglars have as hard a time as possible should they choose to target your business for a robbery. Alarm systems will ensure any intruders bring attention to themselves. And CCTV cameras can monitor your property to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.
How cyber security and physical security can go hand in hand
Both cyber and physical security deserve to be prioritised by all businesses, small businesses especially, there is no need to choose between one or the other. In fact, your business’ physical and cyber security strategies can be integrated into one.
A recent Forbes article discusses the way cyber security measures are increasingly being incorporated into the protections the American secret service provide for the President. The fear is that as the Internet of Things grows, the President is more vulnerable in new and unknown ways. The examples given are a cyber criminal’s ability to hack into a CCTV camera network and observe the President’s actions, or to hack into the locks on a building or to grant or deny access to certain parties.
You may not be expecting a visit from the leader of the free world, but small businesses can benefit from an integrated cyber and physical security setup, especially as more and more studies are finding that Internet of Things devices are vulnerable to hackers, which could in turn lead to threats to your physical security.
Many Internet of Things devices, such as cameras, TVs, phones, smart watches, smart alarms, smart locks and access systems, are created with usability prioritised over security. Your business can’t fall into the same trap. Making sure all of your wifi-enabled devices are firmly secure, encrypt your data, and secure the parameters of your premises with tried and tested physical security protections. Only then will your business be truly protected.