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Digital Innovations in Physical Security

What is Physical Security?

Physical security refers to the protection of a company’s assets from physical damage, harm, theft, or unauthorized access.

The assets being protected under physical security can include hardware, software, equipment, networks, data, and even personnel; and the physical actions or events being prevented or mitigated include espionage, theft, fire, natural disasters, burglary, vandalism, and terrorist attacks.

In today’s increasingly digital work environments the importance of physical security is often neglected, with resources instead being invested into protecting against more technical threats such as cyber spying, malware, and hacking.

Considering major digital breaches such as the recent Equifax hack, or the infamous 2015 hack of Ashley Madison spreading stories and fear internationally, this shift in focus towards cyber security is arguably understandable. However, the importance of physical security cannot be forgotten.

Physical security remains critical

Each year, employee theft alone costs Canadian businesses approximately $1.4 billion. Perhaps even more startling, is the fact that per year an estimated 566,000 employee thefts go undetected.

Employee theft is one of the leading potential threats for companies of all sizes, with everything from a Mom n’ Pop cafe, to a multinational corporation like Deloitte (and every one of its clients) being at risk. According to the Retail Council of Canada, while on average a shoplifter will steal $175 in value, the average employee will steal around $2500 over time. While these figures do help to emphasize the importance of physical security, what may help even more is that employee theft is only one of the many threats under the physical security umbrella.

There are many additional factors contributing to the increased need for physical security measures to evolve:

  • Methods for committing acts such as theft and espionage are becoming more sophisticated
  • The number of IoT connected devices worldwide is expected to triple from 20 billion in 2017, to over 60 billion by 2024 – with each device being susceptible to physical security threats
  • The incidence of terrorist attacks continues to rise
  • And natural disaster rates are increasing in many regions of the world

How can physical security measures possibly keep pace?

Security guards can only grow so much bigger or stronger, the walls of safes can only be built so much thicker, and a store can only install so many security cameras. The evolution in physical security must come (and is already occurring) through digital innovation.

Leading examples of Digital Innovation in Physical Security

While in popular culture the brilliant criminal always seems to outsmart the “most sophisticated” physical security measures available, in the real world, through digital innovation, physical security advancements are proven to be highly effective.

Improved Device Security

One leading example of this innovation is in the hands of nearly every executive, employee, student, and even grandparent only a daily basis – their smartphone. Something seemingly as simple as an iPhone passcode has repeatedly proven successful at significantly delaying (even preventing) entire agencies’ efforts to access the information inside individuals’ phones. Even more recent innovations, including touch and face recognition, are further bolstering physical security standards on a worldwide scale.

Innovation in Video Surveillance

Tying back to the prevalence and seriousness of employee theft, video surveillance may be limited in its advancement in terms of simply installing more cameras, but by introducing digital innovation the evolution in physical security becomes more pronounced.

physical security - security cameras

Solink innovates physical security by addressing the problem of video surveillance footage being too tedious and time consuming to effectively review. The Solink platform blends a company’s already-available video footage together with its data sources (such as orders being processed, and the opening and closing of a cash register) to generate accessible and actionable insights. Appropriate company stakeholders are automatically notified of suspicious events (such as a cash register being opened when no order is being placed), resulting in more timely and effective identification of many leading physical security threats including burglary, employee theft, fraud, and more.

Increased Confidentiality of Sensitive Information and Conversations

Organizations that deal with highly sensitive information and conversations (such as accounting firms, banks, and government) are at increased physical security risk to threats such as bugs and other malicious listening devices. These devices are difficult to detect and find, and can cause serious damage by leaking valuable information.

thinkRF provides one patented solution to the challenge that technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) professionals face, being that they are often unsure of what type of signal they are looking for, or whether a signal is present at all. Additionally, malicious attackers have become more sophisticated and are transmitting at irregular intervals, making detection even more difficult. thinkRF’s innovative solution offer continuous monitoring (even after work hours when malicious devices are more likely to transmit), and an increased ability to detect infrequent and low powered signals.

Digital innovations such as these are essential for physical security to stay one step ahead of the world’s many present threats.


The importance of physical security cannot be overlooked.

With the growth of IoT, the increasing threat of natural disasters, companies’ continued vulnerability to employee theft, and many other rising factors, our immediate future promises to contain even more assets in need of protection from physical events or actions.

For physical security measures to continue advancing, it has become evident that digital innovation is essential. From device security, to video surveillance, to keeping conversations confidential, tech firms such as Apple, Solink, and thinkRF are leading the next evolution in how to keep companies’ valued assets safe.

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