Physical security is no longer analog in a modern security infrastructure. Companies are working to merge the network and digital with the physical to improve the safety of people, places, and things in a cohesive, harmonious way. 

A recent survey outlines the current state of this security convergence in the U.S. and how the cloud can bring a variety of benefits to both network and physical security teams. Not surprisingly, nearly everyone surveyed (81%) wants a more unified security environment, and they have a clear idea of what they are looking for: greater control of physical security technology (60%), an improved ability to perform security analytics (47%), and better visibility into security threats (47%). 

But just how effectively teams are converging is up for debate. Leaders in the C-suite are optimistic about progress while IT security and physical security personnel are facing challenges.

Encouraging collaboration

In the survey, we found that more than half of respondents noted that it’s challenging for physical and network security teams to collaborate effectively. Organizations that continue to maintain these functions as separate teams are more likely to report communication challenges. 

One way to approach unifying physical and network security operations is to bring teams together. More than half (51%) of the organizations surveyed maintain separate departments. Combining these teams under one management structure can help improve communication and ensure efficiency. 

Leonard Niebo, Chief Information Officer at The College of New Jersey, can relate. To upgrade and unify security for the college campus, three teams had to work together: campus police, facilities management, and IT.

Alleviating concerns and embracing simplicity

Professionals tasked with completing this type of transformation are often worried about the challenges. In fact, 42% of surveyed respondents wondered if they or their team will need more training or specialized skills. Will it require even more complex technology to implement this convergence, and will there be unexpected issues because of it? 

For their part, Niebo’s colleagues at the College of New Jersey embraced the new capabilities and reliability provided by a cloud-based platform. They were delighted by how it simplifies the convergence of physical and network security systems.

“During the process, we saw how easy and intuitive Meraki was for people without a technical background,” Niebo notes. “We also improved our collaboration between campus departments, especially IT, Residence Life, and our campus police.” 

Experiencing the benefits of unified security

Ninety-six percent of those surveyed report one or more benefits from greater unification of security functions: better visibility into security threats, better control of physical security technology, improved cost control, and an improved user experience. All of which translates into a more efficient, secure organization thanks to a tightly knit network and physical security team. 

Meraki brings physical and advanced network security together on a single platform to secure IoT, physical security, and user devices. This gives customers the ability to easily deploy and provision physical security and IoT devices from a single dashboard.

Spanish company ESBO Logistics experienced this firsthand. The company deployed a Meraki SD-WAN and Wi-Fi 6 solution to support various network use cases and integrated Meraki MV smart cameras for physical security. Both physical and network security are managed through the Meraki dashboard, providing a unified view across devices and simplifying technology management.

All together now

Cisco Meraki brings physical and network security together on an easy-to-use cloud platform to secure IoT, physical security, and user devices. Our comprehensive cloud-based platform natively consolidates physical and network security to ease management, enhance security, and facilitate information sharing. Read our study with CIO to learn more about unifying physical and network security.