By Jim Letsky of MicroStrategy
Let’s face it, companies large and small are facing bigger security threats than ever before. Powerful cybersecurity solutions abound, but locking down physical access points with equally advanced technology is just as critical. At most companies, cyber security and physical security live in silos, with separate systems managed by separate teams. Unfortunately, this outdated approach no longer works. To keep your most important information and assets safe, one unified system should lock all your doors — whether those doors live in the real world or in the digital one. The effectiveness of unified physical and cyber security systems is proven, and the argument to shift to a converged approach gets stronger with every breach we read about. Making the change may not be easy, but it’s certainly easier than dealing with the aftermath of an exploited security vulnerability. To get the process going, you first need to gather your IT team and physical security team together in one room. From there, here are five recommendations to kickstart the discussion.
(Photo courtesy of Jim Letsky)
1) Choose a unified device for access.
Give each employee a single, authenticated device, such as a mobile phone, that grants secure access to their assigned physical and digital entry points. This means that each device authenticates the identity of exactly one person, giving that person a consolidated, trackable access point and giving security administrators a unified view of security activity. Unlike identification badges and other traditional identification systems, this also ensures that access is far less likely to be transferred from one person to another, and can be locked down remotely and instantly in the event of a breach.
2) Make sure you’re able to instantly grant and revoke access.
In the event of a security concern, locking down assets and revoking access needs to happen quickly, and should be able to be performed remotely. One deactivation must be able to immediately block access both physically and digitally in the event of a suspected compromise.
3) Coordinate access policies across your company.
Siloed cyber and physical security systems almost always require different credentials and have different access restrictions. A converged solution allows you to implement a single set of rules, creating a unified security ecosystem that allows you to manage all assets, and provides a single view into all user activity, eliminating ownership confusion and information silos.
4) Ensure ease of user authentication.
This is partially solved if each user uses a single device for all types of access. However, it is even more important to provide employees and administrators with means to verify the identity of those with whom they are communicating and sharing information. This should be able to be done both in-person and remotely.
5) Create a unified environment for reporting and analysis.
A unified, real-time report of both physical and cyber security activity provides a comprehensive view of potential intrusions or other abnormal incidents across all environments. A single data set also provides a clean audit trail for incident response.
Jim Letsky is Vice President with MicroStrategy’s Usher enterprise security business. He has more than 10 years of analyzing, developing and managing complex business operations in a variety of market verticals. As one of the key executives on the Usher team, Jim is responsible for growing and positioning the Usher business in the marketplace, as well as working internally with the product management and engineering teams to ensure that development priorities reflect market demand. Prior to MicroStrategy, Jim served for 21 years in the United States Marine Corps, and held several leadership positions at companies in the financial services and technology industries.
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