CAPstone Webcast Series: Physical Security

July 01, 2020

By Caroline Keane

As the nation slowly begins to loosen social distancing and businesses begin to allow workers to trickle back to offices, physical security can look very differently in this COVID-19-cognizant world. In this last discussion in EisnerAmper’s Cyber Action Plan (CAP)stone webcast series, Rahul Mahna, managing director in EisnerAmper’s Process, Risk, and Technology Solutions (PRTS), discusses the importance of and dangers addressed by physical security with Glenn Adari, Senior Production Manager, Integration Alliances at Panasonic.

Cybersecurity and physical security have more in common than one might think, both focusing on protecting property, financial assets and employees. While many consider these systems separate, the importance of allowing both cyber and physical security to work together is imperative for the security of a company. Basic physical security measures are utilized in many areas, such as surveillance cameras, security personnel, and access cards. To best protect the physical office space, these technologies must be up-to-date and monitored. When the technology is not supported, it leaves companies vulnerable, allowing unwanted physical access to facilities.

As the world moves forward through these COVID-19 times, organizations will need to evaluate what changes will need to be made to their physical security practices and the impact from such changes. Not only will monitoring technologies have to be implemented, but how people interact within their offices will also have to change. It is the responsibility of the company to protect and enforce their rules to create a safe workspace, and technology will be a cornerstone of this initiative.  

Mr. Adari explained how pre-existing technologies are being adapted to help office spaces adhere to social distancing guidelines.  For example, heat mapping using security cameras shows where employees are most likely to congregate in specific parts of the office. In addition, advanced facial screening systems are able to detect who is entering the office even while employees are wearing facemasks, to assist efforts to allow only authorized personnel into the offices. Further, when using Access cards in conjunction with the dual factor authentication, the office has added physical security. By implementing more physical security systems, not only is an office protected, but also employees are better protected as they return to the workplace.

However, Mr. Mahna raised the point that, even if the corona virus becomes a thing of the past, these physical security technologies will have a place in our future, whether they are implemented currently or being repurposed as added security. The need for protection and monitoring will not be going away; by implementing these programs and systems now, the protection for both people and the office, now and for the future, will be enhanced.

The transcript of the webcast can be accessed here.

About Caroline Keane

Caroline Keane has experience in Sarbanes Oxley Section 404 compliance, Internal Audit, IT Audit and SSAE 16 compliance engagements.