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Why Your Business Needs Access Control

Safeguarding the physical security of your IT infrastructure and critical data should be a primary objective of every organization. Obviously, the same goes for your other assets, including facilities, equipment, and most importantly personnel.

Business security is especially crucial because any organization could face civil or even criminal penalties for negligence if proper security protocols, such as access control systems, are not in place.

While most business leaders have recently become aware of the growing cyber-crime wave, too many still ignore the burgeoning danger posed by cybercriminals. These factions can overcome business security systems and infiltrate facilities to steal data. Interest in the subject of physical security increased recently following news about the arrest of a man who purchased explosives from an undercover FBI agent in a plot to blow up an AWS data center. In recorded conversations, that man said he planned to “kill off about 70% of the Internet,” primarily to hurt the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies.

Recognize Real-World Risks

Most hackers are driven by greed rather than misguided ideology, but they are capable of wreaking about as much havoc as a person with a bomb. When a cybercriminal gains access to your facility, there are numerous ways they can hurt your organization. For example, an intruder can plant a virtual bomb by directly infecting your system with malware. Or they can physically connect to your system and send emails that will appear to have originated within your organization as part of a phishing scheme.

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Cybercriminals are devising elaborate methods of intrusion and getting better at overcoming access control systems. But as the cybersecurity industry develops better tools to thwart their online threats, the bad actors are resorting to old-fashioned, on-the-ground, criminal trespass.

Once they have invaded your property and gained physical access to your internal network, these cyber-crooks steal sensitive data such as HIPAA-protected medical records. They will threaten to release this information, which puts your organization at grave legal risk and can result in fatal reputational damage. You will be forced to pay a ransom. Sometimes they keep it simple: they steal your customers’ credit-card numbers and buy cryptocurrency, they take laptops and mobile devices that give them access to your IT infrastructure and data, or they steal personal information to apply for (and get) fraudulent loans.

Strengthen Your Access Control System

The good news is that as cybercriminals’ intrusion tactics have become more sophisticated, the cybersecurity industry has devised advanced surveillance and access control systems to protect organizations.

What you must accomplish is actually quite simple. It is essential that you restrict access to your organization’s physical network and its data. The first step in doing so is fortifying your property. You need a security system tailored to meet your organization’s specific conditions. I recommend a fully integrated physical security system that brings together tools that, depending on your particular needs, might include video surveillance and perimeter protection, facial recognition and biometric integration, door monitoring, and mass-notification systems.

In most cases, rather than creating an access control division within your company, you are much better off contracting with a technology management company that has the expertise, product knowledge, and experienced staff to help with your business security needs. A physical security expert can help you find the most up-to-date equipment, preferably from a variety of vendors. Once the system has been deployed, you will receive valuable help managing it and ensuring that it remains as impervious as possible.

Create Deep Levels of Defense

The next layer of a solid access control system is authentication. This is a set of techniques, methods, and protocols to verify that whoever is trying to access your system is actually who they say they are. The technologies for verifying a person’s identity have come a long way in recent years as the need for such functionality has grown.

The authentication system is paired with an authorization system that determines who is allowed to access which data—this is one reason your security system must be completely integrated into your operational workflow. In many organizations, access privileges can be fluid, varying from project to project. A truly reliable and user-friendly access control system must be nimble enough to keep up.

Clearly, protecting your organization’s assets requires a layered approach. It is more difficult for an attacker to penetrate your defenses and cause harm when they have to overcome a series of obstacles. If you have not recently given this subject serious attention, I recommend that you take the first step toward true access control and business security: find out how vulnerable your facilities, and, therefore, all your assets, might be. Again, the best way to get that done is to call on a trusted partner in the business security field—one who with a proven process to help you quickly determine your strengths and vulnerabilities.

I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.

Until next time,

Tim

Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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