The rising role of IT teams in maintaining and evolving physical security


GenetecProtect the everyday

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Discover the new frontier in security: where IT teams merge with physical defense. Learn how this collaboration enhances protection, streamlines responses, and fortifies against modern threats.

Article 6 Minutes
The role of IT in maintaining physical security

As businesses continue to digitize, the need for information technology (IT) skills has continued to rise across businesses and across every industry. IT teams have moved beyond the server room to every part of the organization, helping to align digital data with business goals to drive enterprise success. The need for comprehensive security also sees IT operations involved wherever mission-critical data or digital systems exist. 

When it comes to physical security, working with IT teams is becoming the norm in any well-aligned business. For those catching up with the digital business trend, the lines between physical security and IT teams are strongly aligned, with benefits including:

  • Supporting an improved security posture through a unified approach
  • Driving smarter intelligence and threat reporting
  • Integrating physical and IT security services
  • Offering faster response times to issues and crises
  • Providing a combined response to threats
  • Improving value and providing assured service to the business

All of this is vital when some 60% of organizations have discovered breaches in their physical security over the last five years alone.  

The digital world of physical security

If it isn't already, consider upgrading your physical security systems to be IP-based, digital-first, and cloud-enabled to deliver a strong security response through flexibility and scalability. The pace of convergence, the arrival of new all-digital systems, and the need to appeal to the modern workforce make this an essential part of the physical security landscape. 

Traditionally, only security-conscious institutions such as military, prison, government, and health facilities relied on wired, isolated solutions. However, even in these contexts, the adoption of staff-issued IP-enabled body cameras and surveillance drones utilizing WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, and GPS necessitates increased IT support.

For enterprises, as video, vehicle plate ID, employee access, environmental control, and other data and services become connected in the cloud, managing that data is a challenge. Physical security teams that work with their IT security counterparts can better manage and protect that data, ensuring it meets legal privacy and compliance needs. With criminal organizations broadening their strategies to encompass both digital and physical realms, it’s imperative that all stakeholders within the business remain highly vigilant.

IT and security collaboration reduces the workload

As digital services have become the norm across every department, physical security is just as much about networking, analysis tools, and data storage as it is about monitoring banks of LCD screens. When IT and security teams collaborate, they can better understand each other’s needs and pain points, overcoming the institutional/departmental differences that stem from years of working in siloes. 

Working with IT will enhance the efficiency and productivity of physical teams by providing access to top-tier speed, security, and protective features for storage, networking, and data protection. The IT team is then better equipped to understand the integration and unification of security services and applications, as well as securing the networks that they operate on.

Through teamwork and support, security can use more efficient working practices, and improve their response times to events. As criminals and other threat actors take greater interest in bypassing or compromising physical security, IT can also help minimize the vulnerabilities present in networks. 

Collaboration like this can extend to legal and HR to identify and resolve issues like the recent case of firms illegally scanning workers’ faces. The faster privacy and compliance issues are addressed as security is improved, the safer firms will be from litigation and damaging reputational events. 

Technologies to boost collaboration and unlock operational insights

The security operations center (SOC) is the heart of any modern IT and physical security system. Whether it's a virtual, physical, or hybrid system, the SOC enables security operators to monitor the broadest areas of your security footprint, focus on incidents, and bring all sensors and information to bear. 

To make all data accessible, the SOC requires a unified approach to physical and IT security. Using the cloud makes the data portable so security operators can respond on the scene but still keep an overview of events, while analytics can report on out-of-normal activity, identify people of interest, and link digital data to physical security events. 

Criminal actors are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as a means to accelerate and scale their attacks. As a result, a range of new and sophisticated threats, such as social engineering campaigns and zero-day malware, are putting businesses of every size at risk. A ML-powered SOC can not only improve your security efficiency, but also keep you one step ahead of these attackers as they try to exploit the latest vulnerabilities. 

Strengthen your cybersecurity posture

Cybersecurity has moved on from monthly and weekly updates of monolithic security applications to live updates and smart analysis that intercept zero-day and instant threats. By thinking at that speed and level of response, your team can be prepared as physical and IT security requirements grow. 

In the era of edge and remote computing, routers, device firmware, and security certificates need to be kept up to date, with software patches applied rapidly to applications to maintain security and keep users safe. 

From instant response plans to typical events, to planning for black swan events and testing your disaster recovery processes, all security operators should look to be trained, ready, and equipped with the right tools to respond. 

Consider the 2017 security disaster that befell Maersk’s cargo freight business. Study the complex, expensive, and time-consuming steps it took for the company’s IT security experts to fully recover and restore the company’s IT systems.  Now, contemplate the realities of today's digital environment: the entry of just one individual with a single malware-infected device into your network can lead to widespread chaos across systems. Whether their actions are innocent or deliberate, this person has the potential to initiate a series of events that endanger your organization and facilitate physical theft by criminals.

As workers are still the weakest link in the IT chain, educating them on the limitations of email filters and firewalls, while also training them on what to look for in a malicious link, email, or file are a vital parts of any organization’s security strategy.

As criminals become more digitally sophisticated, employees are increasingly falling for fake video calls from directors asking for an immediate funds transfer, or plausible but fraudulent “what’s the passcode for the back door? I’ve forgotten” messages. This demonstrates that everyone needs to be alert to physical and IT security risks, and working together is the best way for these teams to train and educate all stakeholders. As the believability and fidelity of fakes and fraud attempts will only increase over the next few years, it is essential that everyone across the organization is 100% alert to the risks.


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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