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Merchant Security Awareness

Safeguarding physical spaces and assets: An overlooked aspect of data security

May 31, 2023
May 31, 2023
2 mins read
Astor George
Astor George
Brand Storyteller

Editor's note:

Do you know what's important? Physical security.

The physical aspects of security often go unnoticed as much attention is focused on securing networks, preventing phishing, avoiding ransomware attacks etc. We must be aware of physical threats to our safety in today's modern work environment and have our wits around us when working remotely, travelling, or just going about in our everyday activities. 

The consequences of a physical security breach are many. Attackers can cause harm to essential IT resources by stealing or damaging them, inserting harmful software into systems, or creating a remote access point on the network.

Here are a few ways to effectively practice physical security. 

  • Run inventory checks: Keeping a mental inventory of all the items in your possession is a great way to ensure that nothing is stolen or lost. When leaving a place, scan the space to confirm you're not leaving anything behind. 

  • Confirm your storage is secure: For example, if you need to keep your laptop in your car, keep it in a place where it's not visible to passersby. Also, use strong passwords for all your devices.

  • Beware of shoulder surfers: Refrain from accessing sensitive or confidential information in public places. Choose locations where no one can look over your shoulder to view your screen. Why? Because people could look over your shoulders to see what you've got going on. Sure, they could just be nosy people. But they could also be people sent to steal information from you. 

  • Avoid random USB drives and cables: The easiest way for hackers to spread their malware is with USB flash drives and cables. Only use USB devices you own; do not charge at public outlets. If you spot an odd USB device in the workplace, report it to your IT department immediately. 

  • Always keep your eyes on the prize: In this case, the prize is all the stuff you own. Do not leave your gadgets unattended in public places or ask strangers to watch them. Eyes on your things at all times.

  • Know how to dispose of sensitive data efficiently: Hackers have no shame and will not hesitate to rummage through your trash bins to find valuable information. This goes for physical and digital bins. Shred physical documents that are no longer useful. Wipe and restore devices to their default settings before disposal.
  • Respect privileged access: When not in use, lock and shut down your devices. When accessing secure areas of a building, only let people go in after proper checks.

Remember, protecting sensitive information extends beyond the digital realm. Hackers are resourceful and can exploit physical vulnerabilities to access valuable data. By following the guidelines above, we create an additional layer of defence against potential breaches. Let's remain proactive in safeguarding our physical and digital spaces. Situational Awareness is Key!

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