The Role Of Security And Firewalls In Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)

At Advanced Firewall Solutions, we know that the security world changes rapidly.

More and more businesses are choosing the convenience of cloud-based physical security systems as opposed to physical infrastructure. But it’s not only the biz, but also the critical infrastructure of government and household everyday life that is ever more entangled in IoT.

With this shift comes the need to conceive physical and cybersecurity as linked vessels that go hand in hand.

A study performed by IT Governance revealed that cyber-attacks resulted in 5,126,930,507 data breaches in 2021. For a successful security system that can meet the challenges of the modern security climate, help you protect sensitive business data from information leakage, you must consider combining physical and cybersecurity strategies.

Keep reading about the role of security and firewalls in securing cyber-physical systems.

What are cyber-physical systems?

Cyber-physical systems are an integrated combination of physical sensors, computers, networks, software triggers and alarm protocols meant to control access and flow of data and people in the physical realm.

Cyber-physical systems increase the convenience of engineered systems.

You may understand cyber-physical systems in terms of smart devices. Smart IoT devices are frequently used in domestic and commercial contexts to allow for remote operation of different systems.

For example, cyber-physical systems in a commercial building allow property managers and security staff to remotely operate heating, lighting, safety locks, and security systems using a mobile application or cloud-based control center, comment locksmith experts at Fantastic Services.

Some of the key benefits of a cyber-physical security system include:

  • Remote operation of security features.
  • Quicker response to security incidents.
  • Receiving real-time notifications regarding security events.
  • Real-time control of physical systems.

Cyber-physical systems come with many benefits, increasing the efficiency of daily operations for business administrators, HR teams, and security staff.

However, a cyber-physical security system needs to merge cyber and physical security for a more cohesive approach.

Why merge cyber and physical security?

Cyber and physical security appear less distinct with a cloud-based security system.

The operation of the security system is hosted in access credentials stored on mobile devices and administrative controls stored in a mobile application or cloud-based control center.

With so much of your security system’s function hosted in a cloud-based system, it becomes essential to implement cybersecurity protocols in line with your physical security system.

By integrating cyber and physical security, you’ll also be able to reinforce access control models designed to restrict or permit access to security systems and tools through integrated data.

For example, through integration you are able to only allow employees to log in to on-site computers if they scanned their door credential at the same office. If you house your physical security team and cybersecurity team separately, they will communicate less effectively.

The lines between security protocols and events will be unclear. Both teams must understand their responsibilities concerning the cyber-physical systems.

How to merge cyber and physical security?

To merge cyber and physical security strategies to protect your cyber-physical system, there are several steps you can take. Here are some of the best ways to combine physical and cyber security.

Access control to protect digital assets

Your building is home to both physical and digital assets. Your digital assets must be protected from third parties using physical security. Access control is a staple in any security strategy and can help you secure your building, allowing only authorized users and visitors entry.

Touchless access control systems are part of a cyber-physical security strategy and use cloud-based technology to enhance the convenience of your security. Touchless access control eliminated fobs and keycards instead of using mobile credentials as digital access keys. Users do not have to place their mobile devices directly in front of access readers with Bluetooth communication.

Instead, they can simply wave their hand in front of the access reader, which will trigger Bluetooth communication with the device.

A touchless and cloud-based access control system has all the benefits of a cyber-physical security system. It allows system administrators to unlock doors, view access information, and initiate lockdown procedures using a mobile application or cloud-based control center.

By using touchless access control to protect your building from unauthorized users, you can ensure that digital assets and servers housed within your building are protected by using a blended approach to physical and digital security.

Applying zero-trust to your physical security

Zero-trust is a physical security policy that does not assume the trustworthiness of every user on the network. So, users are only granted permissions to a limited portion of network resources and information.

You can apply the same principle to your physical security strategy by installing internal smart door locks throughout your building. Building occupants will only be granted access to communal areas in your building, and the system will protect rooms containing servers and digital assets from the potential for an internal security breach.

Protecting cloud-based security systems with cybersecurity

One of the critical vulnerabilities in a cloud-based cyber-physical security system, such as touchless mobile access control, is the potential for unauthorized users to access the system in a cyber attack. If this incident were to occur, the user would be able to remotely operate your security system – leading to a potentially significant security breach.

To ensure your system is only accessible to authorized parties, you must invest in cybersecurity software and integrate it with any cloud-based security installations. This will ensure that the system is inaccessible in a cyber-attack.

Merging IT and security teams

Since you must use cybersecurity in conjunction with a cyber-physical and cloud-based security system, your IT team will be responsible for your physical security.

To ensure that your physical security staff communicate effectively with your security teams, you should consider merging both teams. Both teams will communicate more effectively and leverage physical and cyber security data to develop a robust overall strategy.

By merging both teams, you will be able to reduce the workload of both teams, which may lead to significant benefits – such as the potential to streamline the teams and reduce the cost of your cyber and physical security hires.

The role of security and firewalls in cyber-physical systems

Your network is the host to your cyber-physical security system and thus must be protected by firewalls. Firewalls monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic on your network, blocking untrusted networks and allowing access to trusted networks.

Cloud firewalls use the same principles as a traditional firewall. A cloud firewall will filter out any malicious traffic and prevent it from entering your network and gaining access to valuable data and vital cloud-based systems.

Your IT administrators establish your network’s rules and security protocols, fortifying your network perimeter against external threats. This network perimeter is a virtual barrier between trusted cloud assets and untrusted internet traffic.

You can outsource your firewall services, known as Firewall-as-a-service or FWaaS. When you outsource your firewall services, you get all the benefits of a firewall or cloud-based firewall. However, your IT administrators will not be responsible for establishing rules and security protocols for your network perimeter. Instead, a third party will follow firewall best practices to maintain, update, and manage..

Creating a barrier for untrusted networks can protect your whole cyber-physical security system from interception by third parties. Cybersecurity and firewalls are essential in conjunction with cyber-physical systems, so communication and collaboration of IT and security professionals are paramount.


With the changing nature of the security climate comes the need to change your physical and cyber security approach. Businesses adopt cloud-based cyber-physical solutions for security and daily operations for enhanced convenience and efficiency.

However, cyber-physical solutions also present the need to reconfigure your security strategy. Firewalls and cybersecurity software, along with merging your IT and security teams, can help you create a blended and more cohesive approach to cyber-physical security.