Best practices for managing your physical security system data


GenetecProtect the everyday

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Master the art of managing physical security data and protecting your organization’s assets: safeguarding sensitive information, ensuring compliance, and mitigating risks.

Article 7 Minutes
Managing your physical security system data

In business, everything you use for physical security creates data. For legal, regulatory, privacy, and reputational reasons, maintaining tight control of that data is key for your IT and security strategies.

From security camera footage and biometric door access to car park gates, your business’ security data footprint grows daily. All that data is then stored somewhere within your organization, typically on:

  • Local servers, and near or far office/depot storage 
  • Cloud storage for access systems and privileges 
  • Local storage on security and facility staff workstations 
  • SD cards for security cameras and remote systems
  • Internet of Things (IoT) security devices that can store data in multiple locations   

Understanding where all your data resides, what it represents, and how to safely collect and store it remains crucial to business leaders, especially when its variety, volume, and velocity continues to accelerate. Safeguarding this data, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations, and delivering trust without compromising business security can pose a challenge to IT and security teams. With Gartner predicting that “by 2025, 50% of asset-intensive organizations such as utilities, resources and manufacturing firms will converge their cyber, physical and supply chain security teams under one chief security officer role that reports directly to the CEO”, the time to get a handle on this data is now. 

The opportunity to organize your physical security data

Any growing business will add various security systems across its premises - typically in an ad-hoc fashion - to meet identity requirements or insurance needs as they evolve. Security data also changes and grows as companies expand into new facilities and acquisitions, onboard new external partners, and invite a free flow of trades, representatives, or other visitors into their premises. 

The first step for a business seeking a unified data security approach is to catalogue all data sources. Security consultants can then identify all services and applications, where data resides, track troublesome repositories, and benchmark the quality of the resulting data. A unified approach to physical security creates logical connections between data sources, while avoiding the silos that create complexity and risk among numerous applications. 

The data from your security resources can end up in a variety of locations, being protected by different services or left relatively unguarded. The key to a balanced defensive posture for your security data, as with IT and networking security, is a joined-up approach through applications like Genetec Security Center. With such an approach, data flows through of all your security activities and operations, creating clarity.

As with typical business data initiatives, the opportunity to corral all that information into one service adds value and benefits to the security function. Physical security applications provide dashboards for management and operator analysis, meaning any alerts are instantly visible to key roles, and there is the ability to dive into the data to understand anomalies. Updated security rules are easy to apply across all data sources at a stroke. Incident investigations can happen at a faster pace while evolving compliance and privacy regulations are applied across the business. The value of these benefits and the ability for further growth are tightly aligned and controlled, reducing the risk of unwanted events, and friction between departments. 

By using a unified physical security system, protecting against insider and external threats is made simpler, enabling operators to protect data by:

  • Updating old or weak passwords to make them more secure
  • Gaining visibility into security updates for devices, like cameras and door controllers
  • Physically locking remote devices that are at risk 
  • Avoiding unauthorized or unwanted devices being connected to their networks
  • Implementing end-to-end encryption across the business
  • Improving user authentication techniques
  • Ensuring privacy protection for employee and visitor information
  • Deploying a centralized multi-factor authentication (MFA) system
  • Avoiding the use (and re-use) of passwords across multiple systems

Develop a focus on privacy and compliance  

Businesses rushing to drive growth might think that only customer databases and credit information are mandated for protection. In reality, any data with personally identifiable information is protected by mandates like California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), HIPAA, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and the UK’s Data Protection Act.

Using a unified physical security data application will support the business in these efforts. They will help ensure that all physical security data - from facial recognition to number plates and access logs - are compliant with the relevant requirements of your region or industry and that as those regulations evolve, it will be straightforward to access, change, and protect files or delete old data.

Automated security tools can scan sources for non-compliant data and privacy violation risks. These can include car registrations being stored in inadequately secured data cloud stores, or the use of weak passwords to protect on-premises data. 

Similarly, most security applications have tools to improve privacy. They can store vehicle security or dash-cam footage from delivery/fleet vehicles while anonymizing or blanking out the license plates of general traffic and the faces of individuals on the sidewalks or streets. 

These challenges and those posed by the volume of data from physical security systems can be addressed by modernizing said systems. In this way, they can enable businesses to generate actionable insights that help them cope with the rise in hybrid working, increasingly automated offices, and other challenges.

Benefits from automating security as it scales     

With the new security sensors improving data collection across organizations, they create data at volumes that human operators can struggle with. Automation could be the solution to identifying valid users or vehicles, accesses, and other metrics. 

Tracking data like office occupancy rates, parking, and the flow of movement can also help with hybrid working practices, improve the positioning of facilities, and enhance the employee or visitor experience through smarter deployment of services. 

Machine learning (ML) and large language models (MLLs) can drive applications as part of the security data monitoring service, and work beyond traditional use cases. For example, smart applications with intelligent automation can enable managers to identify gaps in their security processes, attempts at hacking, or interference in their physical security systems more rapidly. 

Security Operations is a growing function of the IT department and will partner with physical security teams or agencies to gather, manage, and leverage data to identify physical and technology risks, the malicious activities of groups or individuals, and other avenues of investigation to better protect the business.

Although artificial intelligence (AI) is still relatively in its infancy, it will provide more advanced services in the coming years. This could include the accurate identification of AI-generated fake videos, identity cards, voice traces, and other risks as the rise of real-world and digital fakery increases. 

Security leaders can also gain deeper insights from the volume of data available to them thanks to smart tools. Businesses that have not investigated the value proposition that physical security data can offer will find a new generation of services providing them. They can help make those insights accessible and eliminate hurdles to bring your bulk data to the dashboard.   

Use services to boost cyber security

Among the many benefits of a modern application service is a one-stop approach to protecting data from hackers. Providers should at least comply with Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 or ISO 27001, delivering peace of mind through digital security features for privacy and confidentiality. 

While your physical security applications are highly protected, especially around the likes of hospitals, airports, and military facilities, when that data travels to the cloud or other servers, it is exposed to risk. 

Modern applications centralize security, reducing the risk of individual files being compromised, stolen, or accessed to alter evidence. Access to this data is protected and highly alarmed, while modern networks are strongly defended against attacks that could attempt to interfere with security data or related services. 

As businesses become more data-focused, ensuring that physical security data is aligned around business goals, and the importance of effective data collection, storage, and analytics in generating actionable insights becomes critical for security and IT departments. Security can maximize the value of their systems, generate business intelligence, and improve automation for more efficient operations.   

As with IT security, physical security operators are also in a never-ending battle to protect and manage their operations. Aligning these two teams using modern applications can play a key part in delivering advanced security to defend both physical systems and the data they produce in an uncertain and ever-changing defense landscape.


Genetec Inc. is an innovative technology company with a broad solutions portfolio that encompasses security, intelligence, and operations. The company’s flagship product, Security Center, is an open-architecture platform that unifies IP-based video surveillance, access control, automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), communications, and analytics. Genetec also develops cloud-based solutions and services designed to improve security, and contribute new levels of operational intelligence for governments, enterprises, and the communities in which we live. Founded in 1997, and headquartered in Montreal, Qc, Canada, Genetec serves its global customers via an extensive network of resellers, integrators, certified channel partners, and consultants in over 159 countries.


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