Physical Security for Commercial Facilities

Last month I wrote about cybersecurity for the Commercial Facilities critical infrastructure sector. Physical security is an essential aspect of protecting critical infrastructure, particularly because most of these types of facilities provide access to the general public.
Below, I have outlined some of the key physical security issues for each of the facility types included in this critical infrastructure area:

Entertainment Centers

As pictured as the banner for this article, concerts present a variety of physical security threats.  Several of these are listed below:

  1. Unauthorized Access: There’s a need for strict entry and exit protocols to deter unauthorized individuals from gaining entry to sensitive areas.
  2. Crowd Control: Effective management of large crowds is crucial to mitigate risks related to stampedes or riots.
  3. Emergency Exits: Lack of clearly marked and unobstructed emergency exits can hinder evacuation efforts

Conference Facilities

A technique I have used when photographing crowds of people is to slightly blur the image.  I do this to protect the privacy of the people in the crowd.  

1. Access Control

Issue: Given the diverse nature of events and attendees, controlling who has access to various parts of a conference facility is challenging.

Implication: Unauthorized individuals could potentially gain access to sensitive areas, posing a risk to participants and confidential information.

2. Surveillance

Issue: Inadequate surveillance measures can lead to blind spots within the facility, where illicit activities could go unnoticed.

Implication: Without comprehensive camera coverage and monitoring, the risk of theft, vandalism, or other forms of misconduct increases.

3. Emergency Response

Issue: The lack of clearly marked and easily accessible emergency exits and muster points can create confusion in case of an emergency situation such as fire or a violent attack.

Implication: Inefficient evacuation procedures could result in injuries or loss of life during emergency scenarios.

Sports Stadiums

Sports stadiums are often located within the downtown area of major cities adding to the congestion and vehicular access challenges for city managers.  Three of the important considerations for this type include:

  1. Vehicular Access: Insufficient barriers can make stadiums vulnerable to vehicular attacks.
  2. Surveillance Gaps: Inadequate camera coverage can result in blind spots where illicit activities can go undetected.
  3. VIP Areas: These often require additional security measures due to the higher likelihood of targeted attacks.


For several years the annual BlackHat conference has been held at the massive Mandalay Bay Convention Center.  I took this photo at the Race and Sports Book facility within that complex.  

Three of the special considerations for this type inclue:

  1. Cash Handling: Large amounts of cash necessitate robust security measures, including secure storage and transit systems.
  2. Fraud Prevention: Casinos are hotspots for various types of fraud, requiring special attention to card reading and surveillance systems.
  3. High-Profile Guests: The presence of high-value individuals demands specialized security

Houses of Worship

I’ve traveled to over 50 countries in my life.  One of my greatest pleasures has been to photo document the houses of worship in many of the places I have traveled.  Below is a sampling of some of the images I’ve collected from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu houses of worship.  Unfortunately, although these are supposed to be safe spaces for individuals, they have become magnets for lone wolf threat actors in recent years.  

  1. Limited Security Personnel: These places often have fewer resources for security, making them more vulnerable.
  2. Open-Access Nature: The welcoming atmosphere can be exploited by individuals with malicious intent.
  3. Cultural and Religious Sensitivities: There may be reluctance to implement stringent security measures due to concerns about inclusivity.

Shopping Malls

Shopping malls, movie threatre complexes and big box stores have also been subjected to the threat actions of lone wolf threat actors.  Some of the physical security concerns here include the following:

  1. Multiple Entry and Exit Points: The large number of entrances and exits makes it difficult to monitor and control access effectively.
  2. Parking Areas: Poorly lit and minimally supervised parking areas can be a security risk.
  3. Varied Tenant Needs: Different types of stores have different security requirements, making a one-size-fits-all approach ineffective.
Translate »