Security Research Initiative report examines private security’s role in tackling cyber crime

Professor Martin Gill CSyP

Professor Martin Gill CSyP

The latest Security Research Initiative (SRI) report highlights the crucial role that physical security suppliers and corporate security departments play in tackling cyber crime, albeit that this vital input often goes unrecognised.

In a survey of both physical security specialists and cyber professionals supplemented by extensive interviews, 79% of the close on 300 respondents thought that physical security was crucial for tackling cyber, but 38% of the sample agreed that physical security solution suppliers often don’t see opportunities for contributing towards cyber security.

This general point was reinforced in other findings within the report, entitled: ‘Tackling Cyber Crime: The Role of Private Security’. For example, when asked whether any approach to cyber that didn’t include a physical response was a weak one, the majority of respondents agreed (52%) while only a small percentage (17%) disagreed.

Moreover, over half of the sample population (55%, to be exact) agreed that people issues were more important than technology in tackling cyber crime. 81% agreed that an alert workforce was the best defence against cyber criminality.

The suggestion that cyber has overtaken physical security in terms of importance to companies was not given as much support as many might have thought. 45% believed that cyber and physical security were equally important in the companies they were linked to, 25% reported that cyber was more important and 25% that cyber was somewhat less important. Clearly, much depends on the company involved and the overall threat environment.

The importance of security was underlined even further in responses to questions about the capabilities of the police service. Only 3% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement: ‘The police service is effective at tackling cyber crime’. 69% of those who expressed an opinion either way agreed that it’s impractical to report all cyber crime.

There was general support for the use of security patrols in tackling cyber crime. While a majority thought that converged working (ie the bringing together of physical and cyber security specialists) was a good thing, only a minority felt that this concept is presently understood.

Perpetuity Research director Professor Martin Gill CSyP, who led this SRI study alongside his colleague Charlotte Howell (research manager at Perpetuity), noted: “The findings show that, important and valuable as cyber security specialisms undoubtedly are, the roles of staff and physical security expertise – including that exhibited by security suppliers and corporate security teams – are also rated highly. When tackling the cyber threat, an holistic approach is crucial. Physical security specialists have been slow to articulate the important role they play in the process.”

*Copies of ‘Tackling Cyber Crime: The Role of Private Security’ may be downloaded from the website:

**The Security Research Initiative is sponsored by the security sector and involves an annual study. The reports are made available free of charge in order to provide a more informed information base about the workings of the security business sector. Access for further details

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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