Environmental and Physical Security

  • Electric power issues like power outages.
  • Physical, Administrative issues
  • Fire prevention, detection, and suppression
  • Facility location and construction designs
  • Physical risks, threats, and countermeasures
  • Intrusion detection systems


A company can face any number of environmental and physical risks. A threat in the form of a fire, flood, earthquake, storms or tornados! Or it can be a manmade threat from a disgruntled employee, to incidents of vandalism, or a riot. It can also come in the form of a political attack, or terrorist threat. What procedures and protocols do you have in place to handle these types of issues? How will you implement access controls to protect your location, people and assets?


One of the best ways to implement physical controls and protect people and assets is to use a layered defense model. The concept of a defense in-depth model is not new and has been used by many organizations to protect their organizations.


The first step is to identify your vulnerabilities. What are your weakness and strengths? What types of mechanisms can be used to exploits these risks? Do a risk analysis and determine your risk factor. Then put together methods to monitor and test your analysis to see how effective it is using a performance based approach. Use metrics to gauge just how effective your countermeasures are within the organization. Then allocate the necessary control measures, and resources, doing a cost-benefit analysis. You need a way to measure it, if you want to manage it.


Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a method that can help you design the proper physical environment, and reduce crime affecting human behavior. It’s a crime prevention technique using proper facility construction, and environmental components, like lighting, Camera’s, and human interactions. How are people entering and leaving your space. Where can fencing and landscaping be places to better help prevent a crime from even happening?

Electrical Power Issues: How will you protect your electrical devices?

  • Employ surge protectors.
  • How will you shut down systems in an orderly manner in case of an emergency?
  • How are you monitoring voltage, and is the power clean?
  • Where are your circuit breakers, cables and outside access controls, master panels?
  • Do you monitor heat, and temperature changes within your server room?


Fire prevention is another major issue: Based on analysis and how your building is constructed. You will need to classify the type of fire suppression method is best.

  • Type A. Common combustibles wood products, paper, and laminates Water, foam
  • Type B. Liquid Petroleum products and coolants Gas, CO2 , foam, dry powders
  • Type C. Electrical equipment and wires Gas, CO2, dry powders
  • Type D. Combustible metals Magnesium, sodium, potassium Dry powder


Gates and Fencing: There are four basic classifications

  • Class I Residential usage.
  • Class II Commercial usage, for general public access; public parking lot entrances, Gated communities, or a self-storage facility.
  • Class III Industrial usage, for limited access; warehouse property which is not intended to serve the general public.
  • Class IV Restricted access; this includes a prison entrance that is monitored either in person or via closed circuit TV.
  • You could also go all out and put in Barbwire, and landmines!

CCTV Camera’s

The type of camera’s and focal length you will need? There are two main types of lenses in most CCTV cameras: fixed length and zoom (verifocal). This will affect how objects are viewed from a horizontal and vertical view. The focal length value relates to the angle of view that can be achieved. Short focal length lenses provide wider-angle views, while long focal length lenses provide a narrower view. This will affect the size of the images shown on a monitor, along with the area covered by one camera, which is defined by the focal length.


In closing this page by no means covers everything you will need to consider when doing an analysis of your environment and physical needs, but it gives you some idea of what’s involved.

Lance West





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