When protecting your people, places and assets, physical security is understandably front of mind and combines cameras, alarm systems, and access control management. But as countless breaches worldwide demonstrate, protecting your system from cyber threats is just as important.

But how can you ensure that your surveillance solution is cyber-secure? The answer to this will vary depending on the nature of your system, for instance, whether it is on-prem, cloud-hosted, or a hybrid solution. But regardless of the specific infrastructure, there are universal measures that will harden your security system to the risk of cybersecurity threats.

Process awareness and configuration checks

Your security and IT teams will implement simple actions as part of standard network protection. For instance, multi-layered firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDSs), and virus scanners exist. It is also advisable to ensure that the technologies purchased have built-in cybersecurity capabilities as standard.

But these measures must be accompanied by robust security protocols and system configuration processes to keep risk at bay. This is because most threats to your integrated surveillance and security system are likely to evolve from accidental exposure due to protocol error rather than from malicious external attacks. For instance, many IP cameras and security devices will have default usernames and passwords. These should be, but often aren’t, changed immediately.

Many surveillance solutions incorporate dedicated tools that automatically check essential configurations, including secure file sharing, password protection enforcement, and flag areas that need attention.

Risk prevention by authentication

Password protection enforcement frequently involves a technology known as LDAP authentication, where usernames and passwords are matched and verified against a central directory server. Increasingly, systems are being designed with multi-factor authentication measures.

Authentication as a cybersecurity measure isn’t just about identifying people attempting to use your system. It’s vital for validating the ID of devices – servers, cameras, sensors, etc. – trying to access your network. This is particularly relevant when surveillance solutions integrate with technologies from a wide range of third-party vendors. In this case, each device is assigned a unique identifier that must authenticate with a digital certificate.

Permission systems as a cybersecurity measure

Although not a technical cybersecurity measure, enforcing strict user access permissions and restrictions is an essential practical measure that should not be overlooked.

Configuring your surveillance solution to automatically control what individuals or groups of users can access and share is hugely important in preventing the loss or breach of sensitive data. Access can be configured to automatically apply according to their specific security clearance and job role. In addition, it can help to ensure you comply with GDPR and data privacy regulations.

Use encryption to de-risk data in transit

Physical heists often target goods in transit for ease of access. Cybercriminals are no different, which makes protecting data and communication transmissions essential.

Encryption is the answer to this challenge. It ensures that data sent between your authenticated devices, sensors, servers and workstations is uniquely encoded. As a result, cybercriminals will not have the encryption key to decipher the content if it is somehow accessed.

Protection by partnership

Understandably, most businesses won’t be cybersecurity experts, so it’s essential to work with partners that manage these threats proactively. Cybersecurity is a collective responsibility.

IT operating system and cloud infrastructure providers continuously check for system vulnerabilities with penetration testing, issuing security notifications and relevant patch updates accordingly.

Your surveillance solution provider should conduct similar testing and notification procedures concerning their technologies, notifying you of any vulnerabilities and updating requirements in line with emerging threats.

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