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ACRE 2023 Predictions: The Growing Convergence of Physical and Cybersecurity

vmblog-predictions-2023 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

The Growing Convergence of Physical and Cybersecurity

By Scot Sturges, Director of Business Development, ACRE Americas

Every year, the lines separating physical security and cybersecurity become increasingly more challenging to define, particularly as solutions described as "physical" become connected to - or even reliant on the Internet to function at total capacity. In addition, as real-world activities such as banking, retail, and remote work become more web connected, customers have become increasingly interested in being cyber-secure - particularly during the Internet of Things (IoT) age. Cybersecurity is evolving into a vital part of physical security practices, significantly impacting the industry.

The Merging of Physical and Cyber

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the everyday objects and appliances that exchange data via the Internet to function. This can include common household appliances such as blenders, televisions, lighting systems, and other household items that may be remotely controlled through an internet connection. It can also include security systems and related products such as security cameras, access control systems, alarm systems, and other types of security-oriented installations. These internet-oriented products most commonly are considered physical security, but their shared connection to the Internet puts them at risk of cyberattacks, which can generate real and devastating damage through the interconnected IoT devices.

Cyberattack damage can be incredibly detrimental, as bad actors might acquire access to more sensitive user information through cameras, microphones, or other outlets exploited to cause further harm. Because of the inherent risks of connecting everyday household devices and systems to the Internet, businesses and end-users alike have turned their attention to cybersecurity options to effectively defend against cyberattacks. Overall, this understanding provides a substantial basis for IoT physical security systems and cybersecurity software solutions to merge into one all-encompassing system.

While cyberattacks on household appliances and security systems are a concern, they are far from the worst threat introduced by linking physical assets to the Internet. When individuals think about IoT devices, they often picture smart household appliances such as kitchenware, entertainment systems, lighting setups, or even exercise equipment such as treadmills. However, IoT also has a strong presence in industrial operations, and when compromised by an online attack, there can be severe consequences.

According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the repercussions of a successful cyberattack on an unsecured industrial IoT control system could potentially disrupt operations on a large scale, leading to a denial of critical services to communities or even society at a larger scale. With this devastating possibility in mind, it is plain to see why physical security solutions in the industrial sector also emphasize cybersecurity. An improperly secured IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) network in such a high-risk environment could lead to widespread hardship for surrounding areas impacted by the attacks and workplace injuries or deaths when dangerous machinery is involved.

Conclusion

With access control and IoT solutions relying on the cloud to operate, the push for physical and cybersecurity to work hand-in-hand can seem like the natural progression of the security industry as certain valuable data is no longer stored only within the cloud or on-premises servers. Still, the need to protect security and access control systems and everyday IoT appliances from the looming threat of cybersecurity attacks is a compelling reason for the industry to fully integrate cybersecurity and physical security into all offerings.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scot-Sturges 

Scot Sturges is the Director of Business Development for ACRE North America and is based out of Addison, Texas. He is responsible for identifying new areas of growth and business opportunities for the ACRE portfolio brands. With over 14 years of experience, he is an integral part of the organization and continues to drive key client relationships.

Published Tuesday, November 08, 2022 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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