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Why It's Important for Companies to Converge Physical and Cybersecurity Programs

By Northland Controls, Aug 23, 2022

The growing importance of a unified security program is calling for leaders to look at how the intersection of physical and cybersecurity can impact their companies.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted our work lives in a variety of ways. One of the most impactful being the increase in remote or hybrid work environments. Though it provides greater flexibility to employees, this style of work also draws more risk for cybercrimes. This begs the question: how can physical security and cyber security teams work together to combat this and many other threats facing our current landscape?

According to the World Economic Forum, cyberattacks and data theft are one of the top ten risks facing our world today. More specifically, 81% of global organizations reported having experienced an increase in cyber threats in the wake of the pandemic. In most cases, the initial intrusion of these attacks originated with some form of unauthorized access – whether physical or digital – and has far reaching implications for companies of any size. As data breeches continue to threaten companies across the world, it’s important to ask the question, “How can we protect against this?” One answer to this question is the convergence of physical and cyber security programs.

In today’s environment, organizations rely on a multitude of systems producing a vast amount of data meaning we as an industry can no longer safeguard the inner workings of a company by solely focusing on installing the best physical security systems or by only providing network security to protect its operations. This type of convergence between physical and cyber is making headway within the security community. With the rapid evolution of technology combined with the digitalization of key assets, physical and cyber security are linked together now more than ever. By combining both security functions together, companies can prevent these two mission-critical departments from working in silos.

But, for this approach to make the most impact, a fully integrated security approach is needed, allowing teams to fully assess an organization’s critical assets and develop a more unified risk management plan. By doing so, companies are better prepared for a variety of threats and can work towards creating a more proactive ecosystem as it relates to employee health, safety, and business continuity.

Some benefits of physical and cyber security convergence include:

  • A unified goal for security plans with better executive buy-in.
  • Better risk and threat management for physical and cyber linked assets.
  • Better coordination and sharing of information and best practices within the team.
  • Improved security culture within the organization.
  • Enhanced training and communication plan for employees.
  • Improved efficiency by reducing redundant siloed work.

While there is a slew of benefits, this convergence cannot happen overnight, but rather takes great coordination and effort from a variety of stakeholders. But, by preparing a strategy for integrating both functions, teams are better prepared for the future ahead. Here are some best practices to get started:

  • Develop a framework stating the vision of an integrated security plan. This vision will help to communicate to executive leadership and other key stakeholders that will be critical in the implementation.
  • Identify the head of these combined security functions. Review the security leadership role and create a leadership structure that will support the integrated security plan.
  • Develop policies and procedures. These should identify the linked assets and develop a gap analysis with the present risk mitigation and repose plan. Define the list of improvement plans and prioritize them based on the risk level and exposed vulnerability.
  • Define a risk mitigation plan. It is important to define the cost of the proposed improvement plan and how much of a potential loss it will prevent from occurring in future.

As the world continues to build its web of interconnectivity, the considerations for a converged and unified security program continues to make headway. Join the conversation and learn more about how it can make an impact at your company by reaching out to our team of physical security experts at!