Protecting Your Business: Common Physical Security Risks

Why do incidents happen?

Physical security is vital for any security plan and fundamental to every security strategy or effort. Without a physical security strategy, vulnerabilities will exist in network security, software security, information security, and user access security.

While protection against cyber-attacks is essential to prevent the loss of sensitive information or other threats that can harm your organisation or systems, having countermeasures against physical security threats is just as important.

Such threats can be intentional, like burglary or intrusion, caused by natural disasters, or accidental.

Common Physical Security Threats

From intrusion by former employees to the theft of data and materials or commercial burglary, most physical risks to businesses involve a lack of proper detection devices or gaps between detection and response time.

Your physical security measures may be compromised or weak, leaving the business vulnerable to physical threats. Physical security risks can include:

  • Internal: Internal threats can include unstable power supply, fire, or other risks like humidity in the hardware room.
  • External: External security threats include floods, lightning, and earthquakes.
  • Human: Human threats can include vandalism or theft of hardware or infrastructure, intentional or accidental errors, and disruption.

Some possible physical security measures you can take to protect your business include using automatic fire detectors to prevent fire threats and having non-water extinguishers at the ready to put out any possible fires. Never use water extinguishers on electrical fires or fires that involve flammable liquids.
Voltage controllers can help prevent unstable power supply, and you can control the humidity of a computer by using an air conditioner.

You can prevent threats like lightning by using lightning protection systems, and although they may not provide 100% protection, they can help minimise the damage lightning can cause to your business. Having your business on high land or raised ground in flood-prone areas can protect your system from floods.
Access restriction and locked doors to computer rooms or restricted areas can help prevent human threats.


Tailgating occurs when an unauthorised person follows an authorised person into a restricted area. It can simply occur as people are passing through doors and only those at the front have to swipe a card or present identification. Those at the back can simply follow-through, making it easy for unauthorised persons to gain access without difficulty.

Physical security measures that can prevent tailgating include CCTVs and access control. CCTV surveillance can help you keep a log of who went where which will help you deter and identify threats while protecting your assets.

An access control system tailored to your entry points security needs can help you control how you grant and restrict access to your business premises. You can control how visitors and personnel access areas, create permissions, limit access with time schedules, and receive reports about which visitors of staff access which areas and at what times.

Raising awareness by providing physical security training to your employees and a rigid physical security policy can help combat tailgating and most physical security threats.


Vandalism is the intentional damage, defacement, or destruction of someone’s property without the owner’s consent. In some cases, it can cripple your business and significantly drain your resources.

A CCTV security solution can help reduce vandalism risk by alerting you when unknown people or vehicles arrive on your business premises. Some sophisticated systems even include facial and walk recognition across your entire facility to inform you when someone is somewhere they shouldn’t have access to.

Behaviour and risk assessment analytics tied to access controls can alert you of any unusual behaviour or malicious activities on your premises.

Social engineering

Social engineering mainly involves manipulating your employees, and this can be through information gained from impersonation or taking advantage of basic human empathy to access secure networks and areas.

Since most people are inherently trusting and want to help, intruders can quickly access your business premises by impersonating cleaners, builders, personnel, or delivery people. For example, if an unsuspecting employee sees someone with a ladder a high vis jacket approaching the door, they may hold the door open for them as a courtesy, thus letting an unauthorised person into the premises.

An effective access control system can help combat such risks by simplifying how you grant or restrict access to your business premises. Having a security officer at all entry points can ensure you verify who gains access and why. Wit5h the growing convergence of physical and digital security, you can merge physical and IT security teams to ensure they work as one.

Raising security awareness among your employees is also vital while incorporating security policies like not holding doors for people they don’t know.


Your company can face risks of different kinds of theft, including theft of valuable data and equipment, sensitive information, identity theft, credit card theft, or theft of documents. Effective access control and CCTV solutions can help reduce the risk of theft.

Having security controls at all access points can help you manage visitors and personnel access areas. An effective strategy should incorporate measures and devices that enable you to detect, assess and respond.

Alarm systems can help you detect, CCTV systems can help assess the situation, and security personnel can respond and intervene to stop the criminal or intruder from reaching their target.

Role-based access control is essential to prevent the theft of sensitive information and data. Any valuable equipment or data should never be left unattended in places easily reached. You also have to ensure that previous employees no longer have a right of access.

Benefits of CCTV

Having a closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system is an effective measure for increased security, efficiency, and performance of your business. It will instantly deter criminals and theft by leaving no area unmonitored.

Intruders or vandals don’t want to be caught on camera, and having visible CCTV cameras can be enough deterrent.

Capturing suspicious activity is worth more than just sounding an alarm. It can help identify criminals and provide evidence of their activities. A CCTV will also help you keep track of your employees and see whether or not they’re behaving professionally and appropriately.