Physical Security

Primary Consideration

  • There is nothing that should impede life safety goals.

  • Human life is always top priority.

Physical Security Concepts

  • Protection

    • Locks

    • Barriers: Walls, Fences

  • Deterrence

    • Guards / Dogs

    • Lighting

  • Delay

    • Barricades / Bollards

  • Detection

    • Cameras

    • Motion Detection


  • Used for crime deterrence.

  • It is important to have the correct lightning when using various types of surveillance equipment.

  • Lighting controls and switches should be in protected, locked, and centralized areas.

  • Continuous Lighting - An array of lights that provide an even amount of illumination across an area.

  • Controlled Lighting - An organization should erect lights and use illumination in such a way that does not blind its neighbors or any passing cars, trains, or planes.

  • Standby Lighting - Lighting that can be configured to turn on and off at different times so that potential intruders think that different areas of the facility are populated.

  • Redundant or Backup Lighting - Should be available in case of power failures or emergencies.

  • Response Area Illumination - Takes place when an IDS detects suspicious activities and turns on the lights within the specified area.

Perimeter Security

  • Fencing, gates, and cages.

  • Varying heights, gauge, and mesh provides security features.

  • Natural landscaping.

  • CPTED - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Safes / Locking Cabinets

  • Safes

    • Control Access

    • Fireproof

    • Tamper Resistant and Evident

  • Locking Cabinets - Paper & Electronics

  • Computer Cable Locks - Reduce Theft

  • Key Management

    • Who has keys?

    • Where are they stored?

    • Key Duplication


  • Combination locks - rather than use a key, turn.

  • Cipher locks - electronic locks.

  • Lock Grades

    • Grade 1 - Commercial

    • Grade 2 - Heavy Duty Residential, Light Commercial

    • Grade 3. - Residential Throw-Away Locks

  • Cylinder Categories

    • Low - No pick or drill resistance provided.

    • Medium - A little pick resistance.

    • High - Higher degree of pick resistance.

Physical Access Controls

  • Turnstiles

  • Mantrap

    • Double doors, where only one can be opened at a time.

    • Use to control personnel access.

    • Manually operated or automatic.

    • Only room for one person.

Faraday Cage / Shielding

  • Shielding - The process of preventing electronic emissions from your computer systems from being used to gather intelligence and preventing outside electronic emissions from disrupting information-processing abilities.

  • Faraday Cage or Faraday Shield - An enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields. A Faraday shield may be formed by a continuous covering of conductive material or in the case of a Faraday cage, by a mesh of such materials.

Barricades / Bollards

  • Bollards are small concrete pillars, sometimes containing lights or flowers.

  • They are used to stop people from driving through a wall, often put between a building and a parking lot.

  • They can be arranged to form a natural path for walking.

Personnel Access Controls

  • There are different technologies to grant access to a building.

    • User Activated - A user does something such as swipe a card or use biometrics.

    • Proximity Devices / Transponders - A system recognizes the presence of an object. 'Electronic Access Control Tokens' are a generic term for proximity authentication systems.

Site Access Controls

  • Key Cards

    • Centralized access control consists of card readers, central computer, and electronic door latches.

    • Pros: easy to use, provides an audit record, easy to change access permissions.

    • Cons: can be used by others if lost, people may 'tailgate'.

Biometric Access Controls

  • Based upon a specific biometric measurement.

  • Fingerprint, Iris Scan, Retina Scan, Hand Scan, Voice, Facial Recognition, etc.

  • Greater confidence of claimed identity.


  • Motion Detection - Location monitoring and alarms based on movement.

  • Infrared Detection - Detects changes in infrared radiation or thermal heat.

Environmental Controls

  • HVAC - Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning

    • Redundancy

    • Backup Power / UPS

    • Zone-Based Heating & Cooling

  • Hot and Cold Aisles

    • With a hot aisle, hot air outlets are used to cool the equipment.

    • With cold aisles, cold air intake is used to cool the equipment.

    • Combining the two, you have cold air intake from below the aisle and hot air outtake above it, providing constant circulation.

  • Fire Prevention, Detection, & Suppression

    • Prevention - Includes training employees on how to react, supplying the right equipment, enabling fire suppression supply, proper storage of combustible elements.

    • Detection - Includes alarms, manual detection pull boxes, automatic detection response systems with sensors, etc.

    • Suppression - The use of a suppression agent to put out a fire.

      • Two primary examples of fire-suppression systems in use are fire extinguishers and fixed systems.

      • Different types of suppression agents:

        • Water

        • Halon and Halon Substitutes

        • Foams

        • Dry Powders

        • CO2

        • Soda Acid

    • Fire Extinguisher Ratings

    • Sprinkler Systems

      • Wet Pipe - Filled with pressurized water.

      • Dry Pipe - Fills with water only when activated.

      • Deluge - Discharges water from all sprinklers when activated.

      • Pre-Action - Dry pipe that converts to a wet pipe when an alarm is activated.

      • Foam Water Sprinkler - Uses water and fire-retardant foam.

      • Gaseous Fire Suppression - Displaces oxygen.

  • Halon Gas - []

    • A formerly used, phased out method of fire suppression used for fires with electrical equipment.

    • NIST Technical Note 1622

Video Surveillance / Cameras

  • Supplements security guards.

  • Work in conjunction with guards or other monitoring mechanisms.

  • Provide points of view not easily achieved with guards.

  • Locations:

    • Entrances

    • Exits

    • Loading Bays

    • Stairwells

    • Refuse Collection Areas

CCTV Considerations

  • Purpose - To detect, assess, and/or identify intruders.

  • CCTV Environment: Internal/External

  • Field of View: Area to be monitored.

  • Illumination: Lighting, natural or artificial.

  • Integration with other security controls.

Electrostatic IDS

Also known as a 'proximity detector', this IDS uses a magnetic or electrostatic field to detect intrusions.

  • The Electrostatic IDS creates a balanced electrostatic field between itself and the object being monitored.

  • If an intruder comes within a certain range of the monitored object, it causes capacitance change.

  • The IDS can detect this change and sound an alarm.