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Crucial role of physical security suppliers and corporate security departments in handling cyber-crime

Published on 4 October, 2016
Only 3% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement, ‘the police are effective at tackling cyber-crime’
45% believed that cyber and physical security were equally important in the companies they were linked to

The latest Security Research Initiative Report published highlights the crucial role that physical security suppliers and corporate security departments play in tackling cyber-crime, albeit that this often goes unrecognised. 

Physical Security Specialists vs. Cyber Specialists 

In a survey of both physical security specialists and cyber specialists (supplemented by extensive interviews) 79% thought that physical security was crucial to tackling cyber, but 38% of the sample agreed physical security suppliers often don’t see opportunities for contributing to cyber security.

This general point was reinforced in other findings. For example, when asked whether any approach to cyber that did not include a physical response was a weak one, the majority of responders agreed (52%) and only a small percentage disagreed (17%). Moreover, over a half of the sample (55%) agreed that people issues were more important than technology in tackling cyber-crime, and 81% agreed that an alert workforce was the best defence against cybercrime.

Importance of cyber security vs. physical security

And the suggestion that cyber has overtaken physical security in terms of importance to companies was not given as much support as many might have thought. 45% believed that cyber and physical security were equally important in the companies they were linked to, 25% reported that cyber was more important, and 25% that cyber was less important. Much depends on the company and the threat environment.

The importance of the security was underlined even further in responses to questions about the capabilities of the police: Only 3% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement, ‘the police are effective at tackling cybercrime’, and 69% of those who expressed an opinion either way agreed that it is impractical to report all cybercrime.

There was general support for the use of security patrols in tackling cybercrime, and while a majority thought that converged working (the bringing together of physical and cyber security specialists) was a good thing, a minority felt that it was understood.

Professor Martin Gill who led the research noted:

‘The findings show that important and valuable as cyber security specialisms are, the role of staff and physical security expertise – including security suppliers and corporate security teams – are rated highly too. When tackling the cyber threat, a holistic approach is crucial and physical security specialists have been slow to articulate the crucial role they play’. 

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