Unfortunately, data breaches and similarly related physical security threats are something of an eventuality in the modern world.

Recently published data reveals 28% of businesses saw a rise in physical security incidents during 2022, with 83% of organizations experiencing multiple data breaches during the same period, due in part to a global increase in sophisticated cyber attacks.

As more businesses use converged security systems and integrated technologies to protect valuable assets from common threats, data breaches have become even more serious.

Attacks now pose a serious threat to important physical security systems and devices.

To help modern businesses and security teams avoid the financial and logistical repercussions associated with physical threats and cyber attacks, this guide will cover how to respond to and recover from physical security breaches.

Common Types Of security Breaches

In order to develop an effective response plan to address physical security breaches, business owners and security staff must understand how to identify common threats.

As many modern commercial security systems utilize digital security devices such as access control and commercial surveillance camera systems, it’s important to understand how these tools may be compromised. 

Hacking Sttempts

Any physical security devices connected to poorly secured internet networks may be vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Attacks can range from social engineering scams in which staff are tricked into revealing private access codes and passwords to brute-force hacking attempts or malware attacks.

If systems are not suitably secured, physical security tools may become compromised.

Human Error

No matter how careful employees are, mistakes will eventually happen.

Data published in 2023 reveals 74% of security breaches involve some form of human error, meaning security policies must be designed to account for unintentional mistakes.

This may mean implementing a policy of zero trust to ensure that access to sensitive devices and data requires frequent authorization.

Insider Threats

Insider threats can be devastating to commercial organizations, with this type of breach coming as a result of employees or trusted contactors using their knowledge of internal security policies to access private systems.

Again, implementing a zero trust policy can help reduce the risk of these attacks, as can deploying managed access control systems with real-time logs and alerts.

Accidental Exposure

Any security data sent via or stored within a cloud-based network may be accidentally exposed to hackers if appropriate protections are not in place.

All data transmissions, like video security footage, records of access events, and internal communications, must be subject to end-to-end encryption, with data disposal policies followed to ensure codes and passwords are not stolen.

Responding To A Physical Security Breach

Business owners and security teams must act quickly as soon as a security breach is detected.

Secure cloud-based security systems should be considered, as staff can program security tools like access readers, alarms, and IoT sensors to send live alerts to admins remotely, warning of a suspected breach.

In the event that a threat is identified, the following steps should be taken.

Immediately Address Vulnerabilities 

Secure any security devices and systems that have been compromised, and work quickly to fix the vulnerabilities that may have led to the breach.

If access systems have been hacked, reset their controls. If property has been stolen, secure the area and take inventory of the affected assets.

Change Access Codes And Passwords

If digital security systems have been hacked as part of the physical security breach, ensure that all access codes and relevant passwords are changed immediately.

Consult digital forensics professionals to determine how affected systems were accessed, check whether encryption and data protection systems were working correctly, and log these findings to inform future policies.

Notify Affected Individuals

Contact local authorities and form an investigation team to begin determining the extent of the damage.

If sensitive client data or valuable assets have been stolen, contact all affected parties and explain the situation.

Interview all present individuals, as well as those that identified the initial breach, and document these findings to support internal investigations once the site is secure.

Recovering From A Physical Security Breach

After the site is secured and investigations have concluded to reveal how affected systems and devices were compromised, plans must be created to prevent future breaches from occurring. 

Asset Audits And Penetration Testing

Thorough audits of both IT and physical assets must be performed to ensure security staff have detailed records of all valuable resources that need protecting.

In addition, frequent penetration tests should be performed to ensure any vulnerabilities in physical and digital security systems are detected by internal teams before hackers can apply appropriate fixes.

Develop Intrusion Detection Systems

The faster a potential breach is detected, the less damage criminals can cause. Developing an integrated security system featuring remote-access cloud-based controls will help security staff create automated incident responses.

IoT sensors can be used to automatically trigger locks and alarms, while administrators can access and view live CCTV feeds to investigate threats remotely.

Create Incident Response Plans

Creating incident response plans detailing the actions specific staff should take in response to breaches will help businesses to react quicker and more effectively to unfolding threats.

Team members must be given specific roles, including who is expected to lead investigations and who will be in charge of resetting systems. Response plans must be distributed to all employees.


Most modern organizations are likely to face a serious physical security breach at some point in time, though with appropriate response plans in place, damages can be mitigated.

Security staff must ensure key systems and physical assets are protected using considered technologies and well-planned policies, with response plans in place to ensure threats are addressed promptly.


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