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Riot Glass® retrofit systems consist of custom-made security glass and framing designs that provide maximum protection against forced entry and ballistic threats.

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Riot Glass® can be used to secure any building. Virtually invisible yet nearly indestructible, it blends seamlessly in almost any existing window, door, or

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What is Physical Security and How to Use it

Written By: Brad CampbellJanuary 11, 2023

Physical security involves the use of various security measures that prevent unauthorized access to certain areas. In most cases, this form of security is used to protect hardware, software, data, networks, and personnel from physical actions that could severely damage or cripple a business, agency, or institution if something were to happen to them. 

This doesn’t just involve protecting a commercial building from burglary or firearms; it also involves protection from natural disasters (such as fires and floods), theft, vandalism, and terrorism. 

You might be thinking that all of the vulnerable elements of a business are insured so they don’t need protection but - while that may be true, it’s always better to avoid the resources, and time that would be lost if something were to happen. 

home security cameras on wall

In most cases, a physical security framework consists of three primary components - access control, surveillance (such as security cameras), and testing. The strength of a business’s security system is entirely based on how well each of these components performs and how they’ve been implemented and maintained. 

What is Access Control?

The only way to maximize the efficiency of your business’s security measures is to control who is allowed to enter, and where. Access control is the combination of various security features that are meant to limit the exposure of specific assets, areas, materials, and materials to authorized personnel. 

Some typical examples of access control systems include keypads, security guards and checkpoints, ID badges and cards, specialized locks, but also doors and security windows that protect against forced entry

The first line of defense against forced entry includes fences, doors, gates, and walls that act as physical deterrents against burglars and thieves. Then, all areas that contain sensitive assets are protected with additional access control methods. 

There are many differences related to how a business approaches access control and how it incorporates access control into its security systems. Some of these include cost, application method, and maintenance. 

Advanced access control methods such as keypads and specialized locks exist to completely shut down any attempt at breaking in because it’s inherently difficult to get around those. For example, finding out the passcode is very difficult; so too is trying to make a reliable copy of an ID card.  

One highly effective access control method is laminated security glass. This form of glass is entirely see-through and can withstand all kinds of damage, ranging from blunt object hits to storm debris smashing into it. It’s a perfect choice for business owners who want to protect their property. 


The second ‘component’ of physical security involves the use of surveillance measures such as cameras. Surveillance systems play an essential role in deterring crime.

They are useful for both post-incident recovery (analyzing the circumstances of a crime) and prevention (for example, a CCTV camera will dissuade criminals from breaking in in most situations). It must be said that surveillance doesn’t only involve the use of cameras; security personnel are also a form of surveillance. 

Some other examples of surveillance include heat sensors, notification systems, and patrol guards that often patrol a highly-sensitive area to prevent any criminals from even attempting to break in. 


Physical security, no matter how efficient, will be for naught if there are no Disaster Recovery (DR) plans in place. The reason for this is that you might have the best security system on the market, but if you don’t know how to utilize it properly, it won’t be effective. 

Testing is a crucial part of a successful and efficient security system because it’s the only way to make sure everything works as it should and that everyone knows what they need to do and in which situations. 

Think of school fire drills. Without them, the fire alarms and smoke detectors would work as expected (alerting everyone in the vicinity), but chaos would ensue because occupants will inevitably panic without proper training and “muscle memory” to rely on in a true emergency.

Fire drills exist to help coordinate large groups and train them on how to react if a fire were to break out. Policy testing such as this needs to be conducted on a regular basis to minimize the possibility of mistakes and to keep people prepared. 

And, when it comes to certain types of physical security, testing essentially means regular maintenance. 

Why is Physical Security Important?

The United States has experienced an increase in violent crime in recent years, fueled by issues that are felt around the world. Some areas are more dangerous than others, but all it takes is one bad event for everything to go wrong. 

Physical security on its own (with various methods incorporated) is a must for most businesses because it’s the only way to continue doing work while having peace of mind. Some businesses may even choose to utilize digital security if servers or computers need protection against cyberattacks, but - all of them have some form of physical security. 

It also must be said that physical security doesn’t need to be visible to be effective. Bullet proof glass is often transparent and non-discernible from other forms of glass. This is done to keep visibility at high levels but also not to draw attention to the property. 

Sure, someone might try to break the window but they won’t gain access. And, because they weren't anticipating this form of physical security, they’ll most likely panic and leave the area in a hurry. This is what makes security glass such a common choice for US-based businesses today. 


From banks to corner stores, most businesses in the world and in the US use some form of physical security for protecting personnel, assets, and information. Some may opt for simple keycard systems and a few camera while others would need advanced security methods. 

If you’re interested in installing high-quality, virtually indestructible laminated security glass, make sure to contact us for more information.

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