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PHYSICAL SECURITY – ISMS TIPS – Week 4

Introduction

Physical security describes security measures that are designed to deny unauthorized access to facilities, equipment, and resources and to protect personnel and property from damage or harm (such as espionage, theft, or terrorist attacks).  Physical security involves the use of multiple layers of interdependent systems that can include CCTV surveillance, security guards, protective barriers, locks, access control, perimeter intrusion detection, deterrent systems, fire protection, and other systems designed to protect persons and property.

What is physical security?

Physical security protects personnel, property, data, and physical assets from actions and events that cause damage or loss to an organization. Businesses take physical security measures to safeguard equipment and buildings against security vulnerabilities, natural disasters, theft, vandalism, and terrorism.

Physical security maintenance is crucial to prevent the loss of resources and reduce the chances of attempted criminal activity.

Most modern workplaces understand the need to protect networks and data from cyber-attacks. However, cybersecurity often overshadows physical security, a basic necessity that ensures the smooth functioning of everyday on-site operations.

Importance of physical security

A break-in is not fun. Physical security in workplaces is as important as maintaining security in the comfort of your home, since many people spend up to and beyond 8 hours of their day.

Even if you and your business depend heavily on a robust IT infrastructure, your platforms require significant physical security measures to safeguard data, servers, and networks. Any virtual machine or cloud-based application is only as safe as its physical server and data center network.

Physical security ensures that the people and assets of an enterprise are safe from potential internal and external threats, such as physical deterrents and intruders. Leaving building perimeters and spaces vulnerable increases the likelihood of physical attacks, personnel accidents, and data losses.

Types of physical attacks include:

  • Accessing secure areas
  • Stealing or damaging business assets
  • Gaining unauthorized access to critical business and data applications
  • Uploading malware onto networks and systems

Regardless of the type and extent of the attack, physical security is critical when it comes to protecting sensitive material control areas. These include server rooms or data centers from on-site third parties. Keeping confidential information safe from internal members who don’t have the necessary access must also be a priority.

What are physical security controls?

A comprehensive physical security program outlines all the controls and components vital to protecting organizational assets. These controls include technology and specialized hardware to create layers of security that work in sync with cybersecurity policies to guard against threats.

Common physical security measures might be:

  • Building design and layout
  • Environmental controls (prediction and warning systems)
  • Emergency response alerts
  • Employee and security training
  • Intrusion detection (lockdown controls)
  • Fire protection

Developing a complete physical security system takes into account a variety of components to save the business from incurring losses due to asset damage and theft.

The four main principles to keep in mind when investing in security measures are deterrence, detection, delay, and response. Let’s dive into each of these and discuss how they relate to physical security best practices.

Deterrence

Components and physical barriers such as walls, doors, turnstiles, or revolving doors keep intruders away from buildings and secure areas.

Deterrence can also incorporate implementing technology like GPS tracking, access controls, and security cameras to discourage unauthorized personnel from attempting to enter the premises.

Detection

Once deterrents are installed, you must invest in detection measures to help identify potential threats. Having effective object detection systems prevents crimes before they happen.

Common detection components are sensors, alarms, breach detection mechanisms, and security notifications that disarm and isolate intruders’ activities.

Delay

Certain security systems are specifically designed to slow the entry of intruders by initiating a countdown once a security alert is sent out. The security system must be disarmed before the time runs out.

Other measures that delay unauthorized personnel from entering secure premises include key card requirements and verification to mitigate damage.

Response

You have a security system and measures in place, but something bad happens anyway. So what do you do then?

You invest in security response components to minimize the breach’s or intrusion’s effects.

Physical security response methods include communication systems, perimeter lockdowns, and contacting emergency services and first responders such as law enforcement, paramedics, or firefighters.

How does physical security work?

Now that we’ve covered what physical security measures can look like, let’s answer the question, “But what is the purpose of physical security safeguards, and how do they really work?”

A framework tailored to a company’s needs must be developed to create successful physical security controls. A physical security program maintains business continuity, unifies physical and cybersecurity measures, and fights larger threats and unexpected challenges.

External physical security threats:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Natural catastrophes
  • Terrorism
  • Workplace violence

Internal physical security threats:

  • Data breaches
  • Unauthorized sharing of sensitive information
  • Easily identifiable authentication processes
  • Slow and limited incident responses

The three main components of a physical security plan are access control, surveillance, and testing. The framework’s success depends on implementing these components and monitoring them continuously.

Access control

One of the biggest aspects of physical security is limiting unauthorized physical access to certain assets and confidential operation areas. This restriction reduces the exposure of these assets to authorized persons only.

Investing in first-line physical security systems such as gates, walls, and doors that prevent break-ins and provide safety from natural disasters is the primary way to achieve access control. These systems can be modified per security needs to include additional locks, barbed wire, and ID scanners at entry points.

To improve access controls within the building, businesses can provide security access level permissions to each employee and security guard. Implementing biometric identification across the organization and multi-factor authentications for company devices and laptops offer further safety.

Surveillance

Ever get the feeling that you’re being watched? It’s not a good feeling, but surveillance equipment offers prevention and recovery against physical security incidents for businesses.

The biggest upside of using surveillance technology and personnel is that it provides visual evidence to monitor criminal activity and identify perpetrators. Examples of surveillance measures include sensors, notification systems, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

CCTVs are effective as they elicit caution in would-be vandals and burglars. Video surveillance software also effectively captures real-time evidence against unauthorized movement and entry.

Testing

Regular security testing is integral in understanding how a business can address criminal tactics. Establishing active testing protocols and extensive security policies improves the quality of physical security procedures.

Active also helps gauge how a company handles disasters. Developing a disaster recovery (DR) plan and evaluating its objectives and role assignments minimize the risk of mistakes. Disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) solutions give companies backup and disaster recovery services to protect applications, data, and network infrastructures.

physical security software

Physical security solutions help establishments monitor personnel movement, receive real-time security alerts, and file reports. They also provide detailed analytics and reporting capabilities from security teams.

Benefits of physical security technology:

  • Safeguards employees, data, and business sites
  • Prevents unauthorized access to premises and assets
  • Helps maintain trust and confidence with internal and external stakeholders
  • Works to mitigate damage caused by threats and disasters

 

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REMOVABLE MEDIA

Removable media devices are portable storage devices that can be removed from one place and used in another. They come in various forms, such as DVDs, CDs, flash drives and hard drives. And as data storage becomes more innovative on digital devices, smartphones and tablets have also been seen as another effective way to store data and other media.

There’s a wide range of removable media devices on the market today. Unlike non-removable hard drives, information stored on these devices is often highly transportable, making it ideal for sharing between home computers, work computers, and friends. Removable media devices can also pose security threats that are less common with other forms of data storage. The best way to protect your data is to learn how to use and secure these devices properly.

Removable media devices have revolutionized our world by expanding communication, business and entertainment. A quick look at the evolution of data storage devices will show you how much they have grown from a small floppy disk to a huge external hard drive. To continue that growth, removable media devices should enhance their security.

 

Examples of Removable Media

“Removable media” is a term that encompasses many different types of devices. Here are some examples of standard removable media devices:

  • Optical disks: CDs and DVDs are the most popular forms of removable media. They can be used for data storage, software distribution, games and movies. Computers can read optical disks with optical disk drives.
  • USB flash drives: These small devices store and transfer files between computers. They can run applications on some operating systems without installing them on the computer’s hard drive first.
  • Memory cards: These cards store information such as pictures, music files and video clips, which can then be transferred to another device such as a laptop computer or mobile phone using an adapter cable if needed.
  • External hard drives: These devices allow users to store data externally instead of inside their computer’s internal memory, where it might be erased if deleted or damaged somehow by viruses or other harmful software programs.
  • Smart devices: Devices like smartphones or smart tablets also have advanced storage capabilities. Some also have connections to cloud storage services that can keep a vast memory of data.

Many of these removable media devices offer different benefits and risks. Determining which works best for your needs requires further discussion.

 

What Are the Benefits of Using Removable Media?

Removable media devices are a great choice if you’re looking for a way to store data that’s easy to transport and doesn’t require much effort. Here are even more advantages in detail:

  • High storage capacity: The most obvious benefit is that they can hold more data than a hard drive. This can be very useful if you transport large amounts of information from one computer to another.
  • More accessible data transportation: Removable media devices are also easier to transport than hard drives. They are smaller and lighter, so they are much easier to carry around in a briefcase or backpack.
  • Cheaper than hard drives: Flash drives and thumb drives tend to be less expensive than internal hard drives. You can buy them for as little as N2,000.00 whereas the price of an internal hard drive is often higher than N7,000.00
  • Faster data transfer speeds: Removable media devices transfer data faster than internal hard drives because they don’t need any cables or connections between each device.
  • Can be used on any computer: Removable media devices don’t require specific software or drivers to work correctly; this makes them excellent for transferring files between two computers or laptops (even if their operating systems are different).
  • Easy to use: Most removable devices are easy to use — simply plug it in or insert it into your computer and find its storage under your computer’s settings. You can also easily drag any data you wish in and out of its application.

Although these benefits are plentiful, there are certain risks to storing data on removable media devices.

What are the risks of using removable media?

Removable media devices have several notable consumer safety risks, including physical loss or theft, malware, data exfiltration and Autorun.in viruses.

  • Physical loss/theft: These devices are small and easy to misplace or lose. If you lose your device, there is no way to recover your information other than by purchasing another device.
  • Malware: Malware is software that infects computers and steals data from the user. Removable media devices can be infected with malware if you plug them into an infected computer or use a malicious USB cable to transfer data.
  • Data exfiltration: Data exfiltration is the unauthorized data transfer from a computer system. Removable media devices can be used for this purpose since they contain information that could be valuable to hackers or criminals who want access to it.
  • Autorun.in viruses: Autorun.in viruses are programs that automatically execute when you plug a device (usually a USB drive) into your computer’s USB port.
  • Lack of password protection: For more traditional devices, password protection is rare, therefore increasing the risk of infiltration from bad actors.

Even with the risks of using removable media, there are plenty of ways to use these devices safely.

 

Using Removable Media Safely

Consumers can protect their data and online privacy by using removable media safely. Here are some essential best practices for doing so.

Install Anti-Virus Software On Your Computer

An anti-virus program is a software application that protects your computer from viruses by scanning for and removing them. Anti-virus software can also scan for, quarantine or delete suspicious emails.

If you are using a new device such as a USB flash drive or memory card, it is important to ensure that it does not contain any viruses before connecting it to your computer. This can be done by installing an anti-virus program on your computer.

The most common type of anti-virus program scans all files when they are opened or saved on your hard drive. This ensures that any new files added to the computer will also be scanned for viruses before they are accessed by other programs or applications such as word processors or email clients.

Disable Your Computer’s Autoplay and Auto-Run Features 

The best way to protect your computer from the autorun viruses described earlier is to disable your computer’s autoplay and auto-run features before you connect a new removable media device.

Suppose your computer has one or both of these features enabled. In that case, it will automatically open the virus folder when you connect an infected removable media device such as a CD or USB drive. This can lead to infection of your system.

Password Protect Your Removable Media Devices  

Data theft can be prevented by implementing access controls to password protect the data on your removable media devices. To prevent unauthorized access to your data, make sure that you’re using strong passwords and keeping them in a secure place.

Make sure you know who has access to your removable media devices and don’t leave them unattended or in places where they could be easily stolen (such as a workbench). If you have sensitive information on any of these devices, consider encrypting it with two-factor authentication as well.

Clear Removable Media Devices of Sensitive Data When You’re Done with Them

Removable media devices are a great way to store sensitive data, but once you’ve secured it elsewhere or no longer need it, you should clear the device of all sensitive data.

First, the information stored on them may be vulnerable to physical theft. For example, if someone steals your USB drive and you don’t have a backup copy of the data, that person could gain access to your private information. Second, USB drives or SD cards can be infected with malware that steals information from them when inserted into a computer’s USB port.

Encrypt The Data

If you’re more of a tech-savvy user or you have more sensitive information on your removable media device, one way to ensure its security is to encrypt the data. Encryption is the process of translating data into code that can only be unscrambled with a specific cipher and keys.

In certain smart devices, you can also hire cloud storage service providers to encrypt your data for you. This way, you won’t have to worry about building an indestructible encryption code just to keep confidential data safe.

 

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PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION POLICY
Privacy and Personal Data Protection Policy refers to the set of rules and guidelines put in place by an organization to ensure the protection and confidentiality of personal data collected from individuals. This policy outlines how personal data is collected, used, stored, and shared, as well as the measures in place to ensure its security and privacy.
The policy typically includes information on the types of personal data collected, the purpose and legal basis for collecting such data, the rights of individuals regarding their data, the retention period of data, and the steps taken to protect against data breaches or unauthorized access.
Organizations usually implement this policy to comply with legal requirements related to data protection, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or local data protection laws. By adhering to this policy, organizations demonstrate their commitment to respecting individuals’ privacy and protecting their personal data from misuse or unauthorized disclosure.
It is important for organizations to regularly review and update their Privacy and Personal Data Protection Policy to ensure compliance with evolving privacy laws and regulations, as well as to adapt to any changes in their data processing practices.
A privacy and personal data protection policy is a document that outlines how an organization collects, uses, discloses, and safeguards personal information collected from individuals. It is important for organizations to have such a policy in place to ensure compliance with privacy laws and regulations and to protect the privacy rights of individuals.

The policy typically includes the following key components:
1. Purpose: This section explains the purpose of the policy and emphasizes the organization’s commitment to privacy and data protection.
2. Scope: It specifies the scope of the policy, including the types of personal information covered, the individuals to whom it applies, and any applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
3. Definitions: This section provides clear definitions of key terms used in the policy, such as personal information, data subject, data controller, etc., to ensure a common understanding.
4. Collection and Use of Personal Information: It outlines the types of personal information collected, the purposes for which it is collected, and the legal basis for processing. It also explains how consent is obtained, and for what purposes personal information may be used.
5. Data Retention and Destruction: This section explains how long personal information is retained, the criteria used to determine retention periods, and the procedures for its secure destruction.
6. Security Measures: The policy describes the technical and organizational security measures implemented to prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of personal information.
7. Third-Party Disclosures: It explains the circumstances under which personal information may be shared with third parties, such as service providers or business partners, and the measures taken to protect the information.
8. Individual Rights: The policy outlines the rights of individuals regarding their personal information, such as access, rectification, erasure, and objection. It also explains the procedures for exercising these rights.
9. Complaints and Breach Notification: The policy provides information on how individuals can file complaints regarding the organization’s handling of personal information and how breaches are addressed, including notification procedures.
10. Compliance and Accountability: It explains the organization’s commitment to complying with applicable privacy laws and regulations and the mechanisms in place to ensure accountability, such as conducting regular privacy audits and providing staff training.
11. Updates and Contact Information: This section states that the policy may be updated periodically and provides contact information for individuals to address any inquiries or concerns regarding privacy and data protection.
Having a clear and comprehensive privacy and personal data protection policy not only helps an organization demonstrate its commitment to protecting personal information but also reassures individuals that their privacy rights are respected.
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