How cloud-based solutions can enhance physical and cyber security convergence

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Security convergence overview

In security, two areas that traditionally served distinctly different sectors are now merging at a fast rate. Physical security and cyber security used to be managed and maintained as separate entities. When these aspects are merged, the security convergence creates one powerful, unified system that works seamlessly to fortify security on all fronts and provide a more comprehensive view of security across an organization. This guide breaks down the differences between cyber and physical security, why security convergence is important, what is security as a service and endpoint security as a service, best practices, and the tools you can use to streamline management to get the best out of both physical and cyber security.

Physical security vs cybersecurity

Physical security refers to the measures put in place to safeguard physical assets of an organization. This includes the building, equipment, and people. The most common example of protecting a physical asset is safeguarding a building from unauthorized access. The measures to prevent this include installing proximity readers at every entry point of a building to ensure that every individual entering the building has the proper authorization. 

Cybersecurity, on the other hand, is the integration of technologies to protect computer systems and networks from digital attacks orchestrated by hackers and cyber criminals. In a digital world, it is crucial to have measures to protect confidential information and sensitive data, as breaches in this area can disrupt business operations on a massive scale and yield catastrophic consequences.

Why security convergence matters

Today, the adoption and integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology means that physical systems and networks are becoming increasingly interconnected, which leads to blurred distinctions in the once separate functions of physical and cyber security. In an IoT-connected organization, a cyber attack will not only affect network and data security, but will also compromise physical security and other areas of an organization. 

When cyber and physical security operate separately, the lack of a comprehensive view of security can leave an organization blind to the signs of a cyber attack and security threats. As a result, attacks and breaches are more likely to occur and can lead to severe consequences, such as exposed confidential information, financial damages, and disruption of business operations. In some cases, cyber attacks could lead to critical services being denied to people who need them most.   

To build a successful security convergence strategy, an organization can start with implementing measures to limit access to physical spaces and put cybersecurity applications in place to restrict access to sensitive information. Physical security guards the space where sensitive data is stored by restricting access, and cybersecurity protects the data kept in physical systems. For example, physical security components like RFID door locks for commercial use and video security cameras are common targets for cyber attacks and physical security breaches. Implementing the right security convergence measures can block hackers from accessing these channels through the internet and prevent unauthorized individuals from entering a building with stolen credentials or stealing readers to access data stored in the devices.

Cloud-based access control with Openpath
  • Streamlined management from a user-friendly interface

  • Remote access to security dashboard from any mobile device

  • Seamless integrations with third party systems and platforms

  • Infinite scalability to easily add new users and sites to a network

  • Secure access methods for strengthened physical security

  • Automatic updates give you access to the latest features

  • Top-rated customer support team available to assist 24/7

Best practices of converged security

For security to be enhanced in all aspects, both physical and cyber security need to work together seamlessly. Following these five best practices will ensure a successful physical and cyber security convergence strategy: 

  • To monitor access, install access control readers and security cameras for all spaces where sensitive data, proprietary information, and intellectual property are stored. Installing these systems will also prevent unauthorized users from entering a building or gaining access to high-security areas. 

  • Follow best cybersecurity practices, such as using multi-factor authentication (MFA), least-privilege access models, active system monitoring and threat detection, and regular vulnerability testing.  

  • Set up a collaborative structure for security teams and IT experts in an organization to work together. This is crucial when training security teams to employ the right technology, and for IT experts to ensure that converged security systems are running smoothly. 

  • Create an open communication system to allow different teams to share information from their departments. Implementing findings from these discussions can facilitate  successful security convergence and help strengthen security holistically.  

  • Analyze data collected from converged security systems to get a comprehensive view of security across an organization. Compiled data can provide a broader view in areas outside of security as well, such as business operations. For example, a visitor management system can detect patterns in the flow of visitors. If an organization finds that there is heavy traffic in certain areas of an office, or if the number of visitors is causing a building to be congested, it might be time for the organization to move to a bigger space. 

Security convergence allows teams within an organization to quickly assess threats and launch the appropriate incident response. Systems working synergistically in converged security allows irregularities to be instantly detected, and for the appropriate teams to address potential threats immediately. 

Cloud security benefits for cyber and physical security

One of the best ways to employ a converged security strategy is to adopt a cloud-based solution to manage and maintain both physical and cyber security. Here are the advantages that make cloud-based systems an ideal solution to support physical and cyber security convergence:

Streamlined remote management

In a world where people and businesses are connecting digitally more than ever, organizations are increasingly adopting cloud security systems for their convenience in security management and maintenance. A significant contributing factor to the increased adoption of cloud security is the rise of hybrid and remote work. With more flexibility offered in the workplace, cyber and physical security systems need to provide the same level of versatility without compromising safety. One of the benefits of cloud-based solutions is streamlined, simplified processes with the ability to manage security remotely. Operators are able to grant or revoke access, manage door access control schedules, issue guest access passes, and adjust permissions from anywhere, at any time, and for multiple locations and sites. Cloud-based solutions also allow security teams to observe video footage in real-time, arm or disarm alarm systems, and oversee cyber activities. When it comes to updates, the automatic over-the-air updates in cloud-based systems give users the ability to access the latest technologies without in-person maintenance or disrupting work during business hours to update systems.

Seamless integrations

Another benefit of cloud-based solutions is the ability to facilitate seamless integration between physical and cyber systems. A cloud-based solution like Openpath utilizes an open architecture to easily integrate physical access controls, video security, cybersecurity systems, and other cloud software into one system to provide a more holistic approach to converged security. 

Infinite scalability

For growing businesses, a cloud-based system’s infinite scalability allows organizations to scale up or back, depending on their needs. New users, locations, and sites can be added to a network with just a few clicks. Where on-premise systems require additional space to house new servers and specific software to be installed on local workstations, cloud-based solutions leverage third-party servers to eliminate this hassle.

Reduced expenses

As security breaches can occur at any time, security needs to be round-the-clock. Cloud-based solutions make it easier to monitor security 24/7 without having dedicated security personnel present in a physical workstation or working after-hours, cutting the cost of hiring extra security staff while ensuring that every activity is properly observed. When abnormal behavior is detected, cloud security’s real-time reporting alerts security teams to potential threats and allows them to respond quickly – from anywhere. More stringent surveillance can result in fewer false alarms. As organizations are often required to pay a fine when emergency services are dispatched to buildings for false alarms, a cloud system can help businesses further reduce expenses. 

Another way cloud-based solutions can help cut costs is by eliminating the need to purchase hardware and software. On-premise systems require heavier upfront costs for servers and customized software and licenses. With cloud systems, servers are maintained by a third-party, so security can be managed from a web browser or a single dashboard, and expenses can be paid out over time with subscription models offered by security as a service and physical security as a service providers.

Simplify security management with security as a service (SECaaS)

Converged security requires a new organizational structure. To streamline management and maintain both physical and cyber security systems, a security as a service (SECaaS) provider can help simplify processes. What is a security as a service model, and is it better for your business? SECaaS and security as a service in cloud computing is an outsourced service where a third-party provider manages an organization’s security. The traditional method of managing security can be expensive, with upfront costs for hardware and continuing costs for software licenses. Instead, security as a service in cloud computing allows internal teams to use different security tools in a single dashboard or a web browser, streamlining management and improving efficiency while reducing expenses. Additionally, organizations can further enhance converged security by using endpoint security as a service software to protect devices that employees use for work, such as laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, from cyber threats.  

Under the security as a service umbrella, physical security as a service (PSaaS) is a security as a service in cloud computing solution that helps organizations manage building security and other aspects of physical security, such as video surveillance and access control tech. For example, a cloud-based physical security dashboard is used to manage door schedules, grant or revoke access, issue guest passes, remotely observe movements, and unlock doors. Some security as a service in cloud computing and PSaaS providers, like commercial security camera companies, also give organizations the option to outsource monitoring services and relieve internal teams of the responsibility. The scope of cloud services for physical security may also include installations of network infrastructure, physical computer security, and providing support for local staff. 

Benefits of security as a service and physical security as a service:

  • Working with the latest security tools: For security tools to be effective, it is crucial to regularly update the system and ensure that users can access the latest features and resources. Security as a service providers manage these updates for every network, server, and device in an organization, so internal teams and company resources that would be used to manage security can be redirected to more important areas. 

  • Instant deployment and greater flexibility: Employing the services of  SECaaS and PSaaS providers means users are able to access the latest security tools instantly, including endpoint security as a service features. Security as a service offerings are also provided on-demand, allowing organizations the flexibility to scale up or back at their own speed. 

  • Instant alerts and breach prevention: Most organizations simply do not have the time and resources to monitor physical or cyber security at all times. SECaaS and PSaaS can detect irregular activities as they occur, such as when a user attempts access to sensitive or confidential data, or when an individual attempts entry to a restricted space. In these instances, time is of the essence. The sooner abnormal behavior is detected, the faster security as a service providers and organizations can respond to prevent and mitigate damages. 

  • Total visibility and freed up resources: Security as a service solutions have been increasingly employed for corporate infrastructures to ease security teams’ work load. SECaaS and PSaaS free up IT resources while providing users with total visibility of every activity through a management dashboard. Organizations also have the option of relaying the responsibility back to internal IT and security teams if they want a more hands-on approach to handling security processes or a greater control over security. 

  • Insight into other areas of business: Physical security as a service can help organizations utilize security features to gain insight into other areas, such as customer experience and loss prevention. For example, analyzing visitation patterns and amenity usage can help improve tenant and customer experiences, and in retail spaces, video surveillance could help with loss prevention. 

  • Cost-efficient and budget friendly: Many companies are limited in their capital expense budget, making PSaaS a smart choice to upgrade security without increasing CapEx spending. As cloud-delivered service is often available in subscription packages and tiers with upgrade options, businesses can pay for what they use and scale up only if they need it.

How to choose the right SECaaS and PSaaS provider

Outsourcing security that protects an organization’s sensitive data, as well as digital and physical assets, requires careful consideration. Here are some of the important attributes to look for when selecting the right SECaaS and PSaaS provider that can assist with security convergence: 


As a network is online 24/7, a security as a service provider should also have near-constant availability. Vet the providers to see if they are able to provide the uptime your business needs and can handle outages efficiently. A PSaaS provider like Openpath offers transparency around system uptime, with a report that is publicly available online. 

Fast response times

A fast response time from a SECaaS and PSaaS provider is equally important as availability. Look for providers that offer guaranteed response times for incidents and can respond to queries within a specific window of time. For added convenience, cloud providers’ customer support teams also have the ability to remotely troubleshoot and assist with system configuration and installation. 

Disaster recovery planning

The right SECaaS and PSaaS provider will have a full understanding of your organization’s vulnerabilities and the potential physical threats that are likely to cause damages. Should an organization suffer the effects of natural disasters, cloud resources can be used as backups and recovery options, and to set up parameters to ensure that an organization can follow regulatory requirements after such events. 

Vendor partnerships

To ensure that your organization can give you access to the latest security technologies, it is important that your SECaaS and PSaaS provider has partnerships with vendors that can provide these features. Look for providers that can stay updated on the latest physical and cyber security trends, and ones with the integration expertise to deploy the latest technologies. 

Whether it is streamlining management, simplifying maintenance, protecting your network from cyber attacks, or safeguarding your building from physical threats, cloud-based security solutions, security as a service, and endpoint security as a service are valuable tools to increase efficiency and enhance security while improving your bottom line with cost-saving measures.