Managing cloud security takes a holistic approach

A fully integrated plan involving both physical and IT security is critical

The face of security has changed forever and now involves converged risk mitigation strategies for both physical and logical threats.

Security professionals across the world face an unending wave of cyber attacks – people looking to exploit any and every loophole or gap in protection. It is no longer safe to assume that internal personnel are exempt from suspicion, and diligence is the key to prevention.

Some of these attacks take a high-tech approach while others go to the source, which means that the number of potential threats is infinite and methods of attack always changing. As we enter a new world that increasingly relies upon technology and the cloud, it is clear that a fully integrated plan involving both physical and IT security is critical, but, alarmingly, is often given minimal attention and puts everyone involved at more risk.

Cloud computing, while still in a growth stage, is growing exponentially and is quickly becoming the most significant tool for almost every industry. In short, cloud computing lets you use files and applications over the Internet – not exactly a new concept. But use of the cloud has increased tremendously over the past few years as service providers looked for a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly for clients without having to invest in new infrastructure. The security industry, often one to experiment with new trends first, jumped right in. Now, handheld devices and cloud-based applications have become the new standard for managing and viewing all aspects of physical security including video monitoring and access control.

With this move to online access of applications, physical security professionals must incorporate concerns about cyber security into their repertoire. It is critical for security professionals to understand how physical and cyber security teams must work together to protect all assets, including data management and physical devices.

While current trends and usage of both public and private cloud environments bring seemingly unlimited mobile access to security systems, we must fully understand both the risks and benefits of cloud computing for physical security, and develop a cohesive plan before implementing it across the enterprise.

Convergence -- a holistic approach to security -- remains a hot topic. It is no secret that when we augment security personnel with automation, overall coverage can be vastly improved, costs reduced and the ability to prevent crime before occurring substantially increased. 

While the ultimate goal of any security system is to lower response times and increase overall situational awareness, security personnel and emergency responders must be both capable and knowledgeable in how technology is used to augment those real-time events. That’s why both the IT organization and the security team must develop an easy to implement, organized plan that incorporates all aspects of security. The benefits of such a plan can reduce criminal activity, service disruptions and other risk factors that could impede business continuity.

The days of using only padlocks and fences for security are definitely long gone. Now, it takes critical thinking to guard against not only the usual types of threats, but also the unimaginable -- as impossible as that may seem. Through the integration of advanced security technology, such as IP video surveillance and electronic track and trace, with professionally trained guard services, security directors now can implement comprehensive asset protection plans that go far beyond the traditional. This combination improves security practices, reduces overall costs and enhances efficiency to track, monitor, and protect personnel, corporate information, and assets.

A security system needs to be approached holistically to help ensure the prevention of breaches and reduction of threats. In today’s environment, it seems we are more focused on resolving threats and crimes after they occur, instead of taking an aggressive proactive approach to securing our assets. Security systems are too often installed using the least expensive option, with little thought given to training personnel on its usage or giving them an easy way to share data and knowledge.

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