Having a sound security plan is not just about perimeter walls, tall fences and two Dobermann Pinschers in the front yard. When it comes to protecting what matters, you must have a practical, common sense approach to physical and digital security.

The relationship between physical security and digital security is nothing new. In 2017, Wall Street Journal editor and reporter Ben DiPietro interviewed Imad Mouline, Chief Technology Officer at critical communication services provider Everbridge, Inc. Mouline detailed how physical and digital security teams are coming together to protect not just people but also their personal devices. This integration provides the ability to react to potential threats with more efficiency, he said.

Recognizing a convergence of physical and digital security and having a plan to reduce the risk of a breach is the best path forward to protect your home from potential threats.

How to Start Managing Physical and Digital Security at Home

Home automation continues to evolve at a fast pace. We now have apps that remotely operate lights, alarms and locks. We even have cameras in our refrigerators to let us know when we are low on milk. It’s important to know and not overlook some of the vulnerabilities to which the digital age exposes us. Just because technology may be advanced or new, does not mean it will protect your home without a proper assessment of its capabilities.

When managing physical and digital security at home, consider asking and getting answers to the following questions:

Alarm Systems

  • Was a technologically advanced alarm system installed correctly? Is it working properly?
  • Are the glass-break sensors on the windows operating effectively?
  • Who has the ability to arm and disarm the alarm system – and how often are the system’s access codes changed?
  • Does the alarm system have a backup communication system? Does the system provide adequate coverage?
  • When was the last time the system underwent service to ensure it is functioning at its peak level?

Access Control

  • Is there an access control system at the property? Is it correctly managed?
  • How are access badges reported lost or stolen? How often are accounts audited to ensure the system’s integrity?
  • Does everyone use the same access code? If the housekeeper is using the same code as the chef, landscaper and other service providers, you may find it difficult to determine who was in your residence when you really need to know.
  • Have there been any renovations at the property that require general contractors or events that require caterers? Did the property manager provide the contractors or caterers with Wi-Fi access? Although the property manager may have had good intentions, he or she may have inadvertently granted these workers access to your computer systems.
  • Were appropriate due diligence background checks conducted on staff members? At Hillard Heintze, we perform a thorough “Character Check,” which is an extensive investigation that includes a search of court records and filings to minimize the likelihood of an insider threat situation.
  • Are you exposing yourself to vulnerabilities with your IT system through ease of access at your residence? Would anyone have access to the server if he or she has access to your house?

Video Security Systems/Cameras/Closed-Circuit Television

  • Are there any cameras at your residence? Are they working properly?
  • Is the video recorded or stored? How much storage space do you have? How long is footage stored?
  • Can you or someone else access the camera system remotely?
  • Who is authorized to retrieve archived video? Under what circumstances can they retrieve the video? It is beneficial to have these questions answered prior to any incident in order to spare you from many issues down the road.

Fire and Life Safety

  • Are all areas within your property protected with fire, smoke, heat, carbon monoxide and water flow detection systems?
  • Is there a sprinkler system or special suppression system?
  • What are the location of fire extinguishers and hose cabinets? Are family members and staff trained to use them properly?
  • Do you have an evacuation plan? Do you conduct evacuation drills? If you don’t, Hillard Heintze can help you build a comprehensive emergency management plan tailored to your family’s needs.

Emergency Power

  • Is the property equipped with emergency backup power?
  • What is the fuel source and size of the tank for the backup power source?
  • Does the backup have an uninterrupted power supply or is it a delayed start?
  • What areas are supported by backup power? When was it last tested under its full load?
  • What is the endurance of the system? How long can emergency power be sustained?

If these steps seem overwhelming, Hillard Heintze regularly conducts physical and technical security assessments for our corporate clients and their executives as well as our private clients and their families, businesses and family offices to address all of these areas, as well as additional issues you can encounter at home. We take a holistic approach that examines all aspects of risk, threats and vulnerabilities facing your family and identifies the best opportunities to improve security.