Cybersecurity vs Physical security – which is more important in 2019?

Cybersecurity vs Physical security – which is more important in 2019?

Type the phrases “home security” or “business security” into Google today, and you’re more likely to be greeted with companies telling you how to bulk up your firewall than companies recommending that you secure your perimeter and install a CCTV camera.

This is because cybersecurity is a relatively new phenomenon that many people are still trying to get their heads around. This is something that didn’t even really exist twenty years ago and is now one of the most fundamental building blocks of any business or home network.

However, in our rush to secure our networks, are we neglecting physical security threats? And should we be focusing on one aspect of security to the detriment of the other, or finding the links between them?


Cybersecurity has been making serious waves in the mainstream press in recent years, with cyber-attacks now worryingly commonplace amongst businesses and homes of all shapes and sizes.

The proliferation of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices has also broadened the range of areas that are susceptible to attack by rogue viruses and spyware. In circumstances where smart physical security is utilised, cyber-attacks can also have real-world implications.

Cyber stats

  • Cybercrime damage costs are set to hit around $6 trillion per year by 2021.
  • Spending on cybersecurity hit $96 billion in 2018 and will exceed $1 trillion by 2021.
  • There is a cyber-attack taking place roughly every 39 seconds.
  • Over half of companies have experienced a successful cyber-attack in the last year.
  • Less than half of all global companies are prepared to handle a sophisticated cyber-attack.

Physical security

As the name suggests, physical security refers to any security measures put in place to keep your home or place of business safe from physical threats. This could mean anything from installing fire alarms to a perimeter security system and access control panels.

Modern physical security relies on cameras and motion sensors to detect potential breaches and contact either the owner or the authorities. It can also be tailored to your specific circumstances and can be either wired or wireless, monitored or unmonitored.

Working together

The truth is that any modern security solution needs to utilise both cyber and physical security working together and informing each other. For one thing, physical security is not quite as straightforward as it once was.

In days of yore, it was as simple as putting a key in a lock but the vast majority of modern businesses utilise access panels that rely on either PIN numbers, access cards or audio/video feeds to grant access. These systems all use data and its data that needs to be protected!

Physical threats also compromise cybersecurity as it’s much easier for a criminal to access your network if they have physical access to the network hardware. This means that data centres and server rooms should be secured at all times and that businesses and homes using cloud-based solutions should make sure they only use companies with a proven track record when it comes to securing their data.

Finally, there’s the fact that so much of our sensitive data is stored today on mobile devices that we don’t necessarily keep at the office or home. Indeed, we carry our phones with us almost everywhere and they are just as open to a potential attack as a laptop or desktop computer; indeed, perhaps even more so!

The key takeaway here should be that there is no either/or when it comes to physical security or cybersecurity; it’s more a question of – “how much do we invest in each and how can we make them help each other.” Only when you’ve answered that question can you ensure your home or business is safe from all angles.