What Is Physical Security?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore what physical security is, why it’s important, and how to maintain it.

[Featured image] A security engineer is doing maintenance on his company's physical server machines.

Physical security refers to the measures and controls used to protect physical assets within an organization. This might include people, hardware, software, data, and networks. You can maintain physical security by restricting access to places or networks, creating protections against environmental hazards, or increasing security monitoring.

Why is physical security important?

Physical security is important because it protects people, equipment, and facilities from harm. Physical security can be thought of as the first layer of protection against potential threats, keeping unauthorized people away from sensitive information and places. While some organizations limit physical security to the front door, you can layer physical security measures and safeguard against several types of threats. These layers work together to create a safer physical environment, decreasing risks to the business, organization, individuals, and information.

How to maintain physical security

You can layer physical security in multiple ways. Some common types of physical security measures employed within an organization include:

Access restrictions

You can put access restrictions in place to limit who is able to enter certain areas, including spaces that may contain protected equipment and information. You can achieve this by using locks, security guards, key card systems, biometric systems, or other methods. If a breach occurs, there should be lockdown controls and an alarm system to indicate the compromised state of the building.

Surveillance systems

Install surveillance systems like video cameras to monitor the premises and detect suspicious activities. These systems can serve as both a deterrent and a means of recording evidence in the event of an incident.

Disaster management systems

Protection against natural disasters such as fires, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes can be critical in certain areas. This can involve elevated floors, fire suppression systems, data backups, and building reinforcements.

Security testing

To ensure you are adequately protecting your company, security systems should be regularly tested. This can also act as a “test run” for companies to assess how they respond to security threats and what areas they may need to improve upon. If procedures do not run smoothly during testing, organizations can implement new policies in case a real event occurs.

Start learning on Coursera.

Learn more about information protection and how to better manage data with the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on Coursera. Build the skills you need for an in-demand role in cybersecurity in as little as six months. Develop portfolio-ready projects, earn a sharable certificate for your resume or LinkedIn profile, and prepare for the industry-recognized CompTIA Security+ exam.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.