The importance of staying up to date

Issue 8 2021 Access Control & Identity Management, Government and Parastatal (Industry)

In July, four of South Africa’s largest ports were forced to shut down as the result of a cyber-attack. According to an AP News article, Durban alone “handles an estimated 60% of South Africa’s container traffic and is one of the largest ports in the southern hemisphere.”

Attacks on critical infrastructure are likely to increase in the coming years. The financial damage for African states will inevitably be high, which means that measures to improve cybersecurity and protect infrastructure are essential. That’s why governments need to invest in quality security products to protect themselves from these ever-evolving threats.

A cyber breach in a government’s security system has the potential to compromise not only their security, but every aspect of their organisation. Data loss, disruption to operations, asset damage and reputation harm are risks governments simply can’t ignore.

Cyber security is just as important as physical security

We all know that physical security is a key component of any organisation’s security strategy, as robust physical security measures help prevent or reduce threats to people, information and assets.

Physical security solutions, such as perimeter fencing and access control, can physically protect an organisation’s data by preventing unauthorised people from accessing the site. Access controlled doors secure important work areas and keep a record of who is entering or exiting these areas. Adding two-factor authentication is a non-negotiable for government agencies, to ensure anyone entering an area is who they say they are, with biometrics leading the way. Plus integrating with a video management system to provide full visibility of the site.

While physical security measures help prevent physical theft and loss of information assets, such as paper documents and laptops, investing in cyber secure solutions provides that extra and much needed, layer of protection.

For any organisation protecting high-value assets or data, using physical security solutions that have built-in, robust cybersecurity protection is imperative. As a cyber-attack on an organisation’s physical security system could give hackers access to data held within the system, or enable them to remotely control doors, cameras or alarms. Therefore, it’s vital to keep cyber security and physical security systems up to date and working together to protect an organisation.

The importance of staying up to date

The weakest target is the easiest way in. An outdated security system provides an easy way in for hackers, who can then navigate to the data they’re looking for. To provide the best level of protection, it’s vital to keep your systems up to date.

Security hardware that easily allows firmware upgrades is a simple measure for ensuring systems stay current for longer. Occasionally, manufacturers will release firmware upgrades, which could be in response to emerging cyber threats, or a vulnerability discovered within the system. Cyber threats evolve quickly, so choosing a solution that allows updates to be easily pushed out from a central location enables organisations to react quickly if a threat is detected.

Conducting regular audits on their security systems is another way organisations can stay up to date by identifying existing vulnerabilities within their system. Vulnerabilities could be due to incorrect system configuration or people not following security protocols.

Use cyber-secure solutions

“Gallagher has a proven history and reputation in the delivery of high security solutions around the globe,” explains Mike Foley, CEO and director for Gallagher Africa. “Our solutions meet some of the world’s most stringent physical and cyber security government standards.”

According to Steve Bell, chief technology officer at Gallagher, “Gallagher has delivered systems to meet government compliance standards for more than 15 years and each standard mitigates a set of risks that is important for the ecosystem of that government. Gallagher has learnt a lot from these standards and has incorporated many of the techniques and technologies into our designs for all our customers.”

Robust cybersecurity is built-in to all of Gallagher’s security solutions. End-to-end encryption and authentication, external and internal vulnerability testing, system hardening and configuration advice, fully trained and certified installers and a built-in security product development philosophy all help to ensure an organisation’s security system is as cyber secure as possible.

In a conventional system, the input sensor can be susceptible to attack, potentially rendering high-value assets unprotected. The Gallagher HBUS End of Line Module has been designed to fit inside the tamper-proofed housing of a sensor input. It protects the sensor at the edge and the cables back to the panel, ensuring that all attack scenarios will generate an alarm.

The Gallagher Personal Identity Verification (PIV) solution, purpose-built and approved for the United States, delivers exceptional security. Compliant with the latest Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 201, its simple, effective and efficient end-to-end architecture enforces business policies, identity and credential management for all government employees and contractors.

In the UK, Gallagher’s solution is compliant to the UK CPNI CAPSS standard around cybersecurity for critical national infrastructure. CAPSS is designed to assist security managers in focusing on key areas when it comes to protecting against cyber-attacks.

“The future of technology in the high-security space is inseparable from the growing need to protect data, the same data that provides early warning, analyses threats and controls any number of critical infrastructure facilities. Governments and agencies cannot afford to use anything but the most cybersecure of solutions,” concludes Foley.

For more information contact Gallagher Security, +27 11 974 4740,,

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