The Physical Side of Security Awareness

The Tip
Today’s tip comes from “The Security Awareness Company”, a partner in training with By now, we are all aware of the security threats we face online such as viruses, phishing, shady websites and more. But what about physical security? The overlap between our physical and cyber lives is more apparent than most realize.

The Detail

Computers don’t hack other computers; people hack people using computers. Likewise, in our physical lives, humans are the key component to information security. Although the following is somewhat generic for a business environment, much of it still applies to us.

  • Keep It Clean. A messy desk is a security risk! It’s easy to lose important documents, devices or keycards in a messy work environment. Organization is key to our collective security.
  • Proper Disposal. Always follow policy when disposing of sensitive documents or outdated hardware! Dumpster divers are happy to dig for anything that might give them access to sensitive information.
  • Where’s Your Badge? Any person with proper credentials needs to ensure that any person without proper credentials is restricted from controlled areas. If you notice someone that doesn’t belong, even if it’s the delivery person you see every day, politely escort them to the approved area if you feel safe to do so and report the incident immediately!
  • Look Over Your Shoulder. If you’re in a public setting, like a coffee shop or restaurant, and you’re accessing sensitive information, you should A) be sure you’re using a VPN if it’s public wifi or use your phone’s cell data instead of the public wifi (if you’re using a tablet or laptop, you can Hotspot from your cell phone’s data instead of using the public wifi) and B) ensure no one can see your screen so you don’t fall victim to shoulder surfing. The best policy is to not access anything sensitive in public, but if you must, be mindful of who is near you and consider a privacy filter for your screen so no one else can read it.
  • Lock It Up! Even if it only takes you five minutes to grab a cup a coffee before returning to your desk, it’s important to lock your station. There’s a reason why our computers are password protected. Leaving them open for even a few moments is a major security failure. The same is true for doors that require security clearance.

Become your own human firewall and develop your home-grown culture of security 🙂

If you have more questions about these topics, please contact UTS and we’d be happy to offer what guidance we can. There is also a wealth of information to be found using your favourite search engine.