Managing Physical and Cyber Threats Cohesively


As the world becomes increasingly hyper-connected it is no longer possible to manage physical and cybersecurity separately. When it comes to security, the physical world and the cyber world can no longer be treated as separate entities. They are now a venn diagram whose circles overlap significantly. 

Companies are facing a huge increase in threats. One survey by the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence found that 69% of respondents noted that their companies are experiencing a dramatic increase in physical threats compared with last year. Similarly, the VMware’s 2021 Global Security Insights Report found that 63% of US cybersecurity professionals said digital attacks have increased over the last year, due to employees working remotely.

These statistics show that companies need to get serious about their security, they need to unify their cyber and physical security operations. To dismiss one area puts the other at risk. Garner predicts that by 2050 as much as 50% of asset-intensive organisations, for example utilities, resources and manufacturing firms, will converge their cyber, physical and supply chain security teams under one chief security officer role. Creating this type of arrangement ensures better communication, which can help prevent attacks, it also ensures organisations are better prepared to handle an attack should one arise.

Digital World, Physical Assets

The digital world is built by physical assets. Attacks against data centres can cost millions of pounds for operators, and the impact of such an attack can have an effect on clients, causing downtime and lost opportunities. 

In May this year a fired security employee at a Microsoft data centre in Wyoming returned to the facility with a gun. Whilst data centres might anticipate online threats, the threat landscape itself has adjusted, they need to be prepared for physical threats also. Security teams at such centres need to be constantly and proactively hunting for potential threats, so they are ready to respond as necessary.