Chris J Powell

When the Physical and Digital Collide in Risk Management

Having worked as a Security Guard for years, physical security is something I know a little about and since leaving that field almost 15 years ago a lot has changed.  The amount of responsibility placed on the Night Watchman to protect corporate assets is amazing and the array of high-tech gadgetry at their disposal is astounding but a collision of sorts is coming…the mix of Physical Asset Protection and Digital Asset Protection is coming sooner than you may think!

There is rarely a week goes by that I do not have a client ask me about how the blending of Digital Security (aka Information Security) and the Physical Security of Enterprises of varying sizes.  The real challenge is, if you organization is fortunate enough to have a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) or an equivalent, they do not have the fundamental understanding of the $19 Billion Market that is Physical Security Hardware!

The integration and collision of the Physical Security World and the Digital Security World is coming…there is no doubt about it.  IP Cameras are available for under $100 (I know because I am looking to install a few at home) and Access Controls are now more than ever directly tied into the Network to monitor the comings and goings.  In looking for some insights into this “collision” of two distinct worlds I cam across a very interesting article over at, and author Kim S. Nash really dives into the convergence of these new and emerging technologies that can with proper Risk Assessments close a lot of holes that reside in both the Physical Security Realm and in the Information Security Realm.

In reading the article I was taken back to the early 1990’s when I would patrol the Motorola, CGI, Digital and Eli Lily offices in Toronto…looking with wonder at the future that was being designed in front of me.  Little did I know at the time that years from then…I would be sitting at a computer writing about Technology!

In a related article by Derek Slater the convergence of Physical and IT Security is something that just makes sense.  Is there a real case to be made for adding more responsibility to IT by bringing Physical Security into their field of expertise?  Risk Management can truly make or break a company and as the keepers of the Digital Assets…it would make sense that they either take on that responsibility or be absorbed by the Facilities Groups that currently handle the Infrastructure of business.

I work with several School Districts who have told me that the storage requirements for the CCTV systems ranges from 58 GB daily to more than 30 TB depending on the quality (and number) of the cameras and the retention schedule (7 days, 30 days, 1 year).  Luckily, the industry standard has been 7 days for years (because Video Tapes would consume a lot of space) but with higher resolution cameras…it is impressive how much information can be pushed to a SAN each day!

From a former Security Professional turned lover of all things Tech…it is an option.  There are  many IT Professionals who have expressed concern that their role has been marginalized by the advent of the Cloud, this is a perfect opportunity for IT to further tie themselves to the businesses that they support.


Chris J Powell

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