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Physical Security – Essay Essay

In the United States everyone is concerned about safety in their homes and in his or her workplace. Individuals go to great lengths to ensure that all their possessions that they own could not be stolen from them. According to the 1999 FBI Uniform Crime Reports, nationwide 408,217 robberies were committed with the estimated amount of losses being reported at $508 million in losses. Many measures can be put in place to prevent such losses. This paper will discuss physical security and other components such as building security, grounds security, access control systems, perimeter security, information systems, and technology security.

Physical Security

According to Search Security (2011), Physical security is “Physical security is the protection of personnel, hardware, programs, networks, and data from physical circumstances and events that could cause serious losses or damage to an enterprise, agency, or institution. This includes protection from fire, natural disasters, burglary, theft, vandalism, and terrorism.” Physical security can be described as measures taken to prevent and to deter intruders or attackers from gaining access to facilities, resources, or information stored on physical media. Physical security also provides guidance on ways to design structures to resist various hostile acts. As physical security can have seemed to be this elaborate task, but can be a simple act of locking a home or business door and not given an easy access to an intruder. To keep individuals, families, or employees safe one has to think about the things that are important to them and the things one also wants to protect.

Ground Security

Ground security can be looked at as ways to protect areas around airports. Since September 11, 2001, airports have gone through many changes to ensure that their passengers are safe and all bags and equipment are safe before the leave the ground and enter the airplane. Before that tragic event there were no major security measures in place except screenings but people could just come and go as they please. As a result of the hijackings security was beefed up tremendously. Passengers are screened more closely. People are not allowed to carry liquids into the airport and not like before only passengers with boarding passes may enter the terminal. According to USAToday reporter Blake Morrison (2002), Flight attendants report that many ground workers such as airport mechanics, caterers and ramp workers still have access to planes without going through any checkpoints as long as the have their swipe cards.

Access Control Systems

Access control systems are highly used at most businesses to keep unauthorized people out of places they do not belong. Access control systems are thought of as electronic card readers were badges are needed to unlock a doors, lets individuals gain access to an elevator, or garage. Access control systems also can be as simple as possessing a security guard to stop people from entering a certain area. There are levels of access controls there is the basic system that allows systems to respond to a pin or a card number, there is an intelligent system that controls access to doors locks and also has the capability to store information.

The most common breach of this system is that people allow individuals without badges to slip in behind them. For example, nowadays many apartment building or condo complexes have main entrances were they must badge in or have a key to unlock the door. There is always someone waiting at the door to gain entry, and most people will just open the door and let him or her in never thinking that this person should not have access. The person who is let in could be an intruder there to do harm. For this reason many companies/residence complexes stress that authorize users should not let anyone enter unless he or she have followed the appropriate procedure for visitors.

Access cards have been proven to have some vulnerability. Hackers are very intelligent and have found ways to copy the cards information. Hackers have become so accomplished that they have created portable readers t hat can capture the card number. No security method can ever be listed as 100% effective.

Perimeter Security

Perimeter Security can be described as a boundary that separates an area from the rest of the world. The purpose of the perimeter security is to deter, detect, delay and deny unauthorized access to a perimeter without the owner’s consent to avoid theft, vandalism, or other criminal acts. Many things are used to prevent individual from gaining access to his or her property. Fences or gates are good starting points to protect property. Gates that are high enough and locked keeps intruders out. Another line of defense is security lights. Having an area with good lighting is critical to a security system because people are less likely to commit a crime in a place if they feel they can be seen by someone. Most criminals look for an area that does not have good lighting and is away from by passers. Good lights around a home and an area not hidden by overgrown trees and shrubs provides some protection.

Lighting can protect a home or a business from intruder because it provides trickery. Many homes have installed motion sensor lights that come on when someone walks or moves in a certain perimeter around his or her home or business. If the intruder were to set off the sensor and lights come on they will most likely run away as they are not sure if someone is watching either from the home he or she is intruding or from the neighbor’s house. Criminals are also deterred from homes or businesses with outside lighting because they think that if you took the time to install good lighting, this home also has the potential of having an alarm system. Also if it is a business that is being intruded good lighting also helps the use security cameras, if the lighting is good clearer images could be captured.

Information Systems and Technology Security

Information security means protecting information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording, or destruction. Most companies and homes have intrusion detection systems on their computers. Intrusion detection systems allow companies to monitor unwanted attempts to gain access to their systems. According to Webopedia (2010) these detection devices allow managers to see all activity incoming and outgoing. Intrusion detection is important to keep information systems safe from hackers, disgruntled employees, and others who may want to cause the company trouble or damage their IT systems. Safety Net uses a Reactive Intrusion Detection system. The reason the passive system is used because it logs all activities and then sounds an alert.

A reactive system not only logs the traffic and suspicious use then alerts administrators, but it also logs off a user after suspicious activity is detected (Net Security, 2010). Safety Net feels the passive method is just not protective enough in monitoring suspicious activity. Allowing managers to know who has conducted such activity is great but Reactive stops the activity. The detection system utilized by Safety Net is a Host Intrusion Detection System rather than the Network Intrusion Detection System.


Physical security is the protection of personnel, hardware, programs, networks, and data from physical circumstances and events that could cause serious losses or damage to an enterprise, agency, or institution. Individuals have the responsibility to make sure that they protect themselves from harm. All measures have to be weighed and applied to ensure that security cannot be breached.

Robbery. (2011). Retrieved fromhttp://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/violent_crime/robbery.html | |
Morrison, Blake. (2002) Attendants question ground security. Retrieved on January 7,2011 from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002/04/04/ground-security.htm Intrusion Detection. (2012). Retrieved on January 7, 2011

From http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Computer_Science/2005 Net Security. (2011). Retrieved on January 7, 2011
From http://netsecurity.about.com/cs/hackertools/a/aa030504_2.htm

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