A cybersecurity defense program is one of the most important processes an organization can strategize and implement. Staying protected in the digital landscape is crucial. A major component of cybersecurity that is often overlooked is physical security as it relates to protecting devices and data.

Software and firewalls alone do not eliminate the potential of having data and information stolen from your organization. Physical security of devices and systems must also be taken into account to protect privileged access. Everything from logging out of systems and accounts to securing devices under lock and key falls under the physical security umbrella.

The measures taken to protect the physical assets of an organization, including people, property, and resources are all considered to be physical security matters. Access to video surveillance logs, badge access to certain areas within a physical structure, and even access and proximity to physical barriers like doors and windows are all ways to restrict who can be where and minimize the number of potential threats.

For example, a cybercriminal or attacker may attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer or network by physically plugging a device into an available USB port or Ethernet port if they have access to do so. If the device is not secured, the attacker can gain access to the network and steal sensitive information or introduce malware or ransomware to the fray. Keeping devices physically secure is essential to prevent these types of attacks.

Securing devices can be done in several ways, including password-protecting devices, using multi-factor authentication (MFA), and encrypting data. Password protection is the most basic form of security, but an effective way to mitigate risk. Using a strong password, and changing it regularly, can prevent unauthorized access to devices and networks. Strong passwords should be at least 12 characters long and incorporate a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters with numbers and special characters.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds another layer of security by requiring users to provide additional forms of identification before gaining access to a device or network. This can include a password key, facial recognition, or a fingerprint scan. These additional layers of protection and authentication make it much more difficult for attackers to gain unauthorized access to devices and networks respectively.

Encryption is another effective way to secure devices and data from prying eyes. Encryption scrambles data, essentially blurring it so it cannot be read by anyone without the proper key or password. If a device is stolen or hacked, the data cannot be accessed without the encryption key and therefore provides additional protection requiring the hacker to crack the encryption key code as well before gaining access to the information or data.

Logging off when you’re not using an account is critical to keeping random access opportunities at bay. When a user logs off an account or shuts down their device, it prevents anyone from gaining access to the device without a password or authentication credentials. This is important because it can prevent unauthorized access to the device, its stored data, and any saved network access points.

Logging off is also important when using public computers or networks, such as those found in libraries, airports, or coffee shops. These networks are often unsecured, leaving the door open for cybercriminals to siphon data and track movements and key logging. Logging off can prevent this from happening.

In addition to securing devices, physical security also includes measures such as access control and video surveillance. Access control systems can prevent unauthorized access to buildings or rooms where devices and data are stored. This can include keycard systems, biometric scanners, or security guards.

Video surveillance can also be effective in preventing physical attacks and tracking unauthorized entry points. Cameras can be used to monitor building entry points as well as areas where devices are stored. This can help identify potential attackers and provide evidence in the event of a physical attack.

Remember, physical security is just as crucial in a cybersecurity strategy as the strictly digital components of your program to combat and defend against cybercrime. Securing devices, logging off, and using access control and video surveillance can prevent physical attacks and protect data and information and mitigate human risk.