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Why Physical Security Intelligence Is Essential to Protecting Organizations

5 minute read

Recent years have seen a rise in real-world crises and their significant operational and human costs. You know the tough headlines: Acts of violence were the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. Additionally, more than 12,000 kidnap for ransom events occur each year, costing $1.5 billion worldwide. And the number of weather-related disasters has increased five-fold over the last 50 years, causing an average of $202 million in losses a day. 

It’s not you – it really is getting harder to keep people and organizations running smoothly and safely. And with a shortage of physical and cybersecurity personnel worldwide, the growing connection between physical and cyberthreats, and havok of the pandemic, it’s a challenge for safety officers to stay above water. It’s no wonder a recent study found that the majority of organizations haven’t updated their physical security strategy to this new reality.

Modernizing the Physical Security Team with Physical Security Intelligence 

The serious responsibility to manage these risks can be handled by different roles – Chief Security Officers, Public Safety Officers, Health and Human Services, Emergency Response, Human Resources Directors, Public Affairs Officers, and Campus Security Officers, who are tasked with protecting locations, property, and people from disruptive, costly, or violent events. While the term “physical security” has traditionally brought to mind cameras, guards, and locked gates – it’s an outdated view. More and more, physical security teams are modernizing and including a significant digital element to monitoring and responding to physical threats, that goes beyond the boundary of a campus, city or building. 

Security teams look to the digital information sources to quickly discern which incidents can impact their locations and assets in order to inform the right people. However, even with unlimited staffing, it’s impossible to manually monitor, verify and research the raw number of data points generated in real-time, from social media to dark web, news sources, and emergency alert channels. To achieve this, organizations are turning to physical security intelligence solutions to provide situational awareness and actionable context that help protect against the most relevant threats and understand which threats are credible.

ZeroFox’s leading Physical Security Intelligence collects and analyzes data from (literally) millions of content sources, including social posts across various platforms, and mentions on difficult-to-access dark web channels. It also provides rapid alerts when disruptive events occur within a defined radius or precise geopolitical boundary, such as a county or province boundary. These can be boundaries of surrounding locations of interest such as event locations, agency employee’s homes and offices, government buildings, and even large-scale areas such as highways and critical infrastructure.

How Physical Security Intelligence Enhances Public Safety  

Let’s consider some of the types of events where Physical Security Intelligence has been used to provide critical visibility. High impact events could include accidents, natural and technological disasters, shootings, threats of violence, infrastructure damage, hostage situations, any type of protest, and travel disruptions. With so many complex causes and serious implications, intelligence is an area of critical importance in the public sector where authorities have targeted areas of responsibility and monitor very high visibility – sometimes politically charged – large scale events, publicly accessed locations, or prominent officials and VIPs. 

Using an all too true real-example: a bomb threat to public transit, such as a subway station or airport, demonstrates how Physical Security Intelligence aid security teams to mitigate risks and property and lives. Social media posts and web forums are full of references to public transportation hubs, negative sentiment, and unsubstantiated rumors. Most regional security authorities simply don’t have the resources to sort through all negative or threatening mentions on social media, verify their authenticity and source, map them to locations of interest within the appropriate jurisdiction, and execute a rapid and effective security response based on real-time information.

In this scenario, ZeroFox Physical Security Intelligence has proven it can help organizations scale and manage the threat with increased visibility and accuracy. Our solution provides: 

  • Data collection at global scale through our AI-enabled external threat monitoring and collection of intelligence from thousands of public platforms, applications, websites, and deep and dark web channels. This enables analysis of information from a broader range of inputs to improve likelihood of event detection sooner and helps correlate information more accurately. 
  • Rapid event intelligence which delivers prompt, high-fidelity alerts of disruptive incidents that are occurring within a precise boundary of the locations of the protected assets, ensuring that if the threat is within the campus or jurisdiction, the governing authorities can be notified.
  • Always-on alert validation that virtually expands and empowers your security team, reducing false positives by leveraging our expert physical security analysts who vet, research, and enrich key event alerts on your behalf, 24/7. Any time of day, the bomb threat alert can be trusted, reducing worry about needless lockdowns or missed security incidents that could harm people and property. 

With credible, early warnings, organizations can respond more effectively to a bomb threat or any challenge that may come, diminishing negative impacts. 

Put ZeroFox Physical Security Intelligence to Work For You 

Physical security is only one aspect of external cybersecurity, which works to discover and disrupt threats beyond the corporate perimeter. As the physical and digital worlds continue to merge, security teams need a trusted partner at that intersection. With the right tools, security teams can adapt and incorporate physical security intelligence into their broader security and threat intelligence strategy in order to protect their people, assets, and locations. Although no one can control public sentiment or trends in disruptive or violent activity, ZeroFox can help you focus on precise locations of interest, cut through internet chatter and understand actionable data and threat analysis to make the best safety decisions for your organization. 

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