Physical Security Controls | CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 | 2.7a

In this video you will learn about physical security controls such as: bollards & barricades, access control vestibules, badges, alarms, signage, cameras, closed-circuit television, industrial camouflage, security personnel, & security locks.


A bollard is a sturdy, short, vertical post that is installed to control road traffic & prevent automotive vehicles from colliding or crashing into pedestrians & structures, whether intentional from ram-raids and vehicle-ramming attacks, or unintentional losses of control.

A barricade is any object or structure that creates a barrier or obstacle to control, block passage or force the flow of traffic in the desired direction.  Barricades also include temporary traffic barricades designed with the goal of dissuading passage into a protected or hazardous area or large slabs of cement whose goal is to prevent forcible passage by a vehicle.

Access Control Vestibules (Mantrap)

A mantrap is a physical security access control system consisting of a small space with two sets of interlocking doors, such that the first set of doors must close before the second set opens. In a manual mantrap, a guard locks and unlocks each door in sequence. An intercom and/or video camera are often used to allow the guard to control the trap from a remote location. In an automatic mantrap, identification may be required for each door, sometimes even possibly different measures for each door. For example, a key may open the first door, but a personal identification number entered on a number pad opens the second door. Other methods of opening doors include proximity cards or biometric devices such as fingerprint readers or iris recognition scans. Overall, mantraps basically slows down a person’s entry process to prevent unauthorized entry into an area.


An access badge is a credential used to gain entry to an area having automated access control entry points.  Entry points may be doors, turnstiles, parking gates or other barriers.  Access badges use various technologies to identify the holder of the badge to an access control system.  The most common technologies are magnetic stripe, proximity, barcode, smart cards, & various biometric devices.[1]

Alarms & Signage

A security alarm is a system designed to detect intrusion, such as unauthorized entry, into a building.  Security alarms used in residential, commercial, industrial, & military properties protect against burglary or property damage, as well as personal protection against intruders.

A typical security alarm system includes:[2]

  • A control panel, which is the primary controller of a security system
  • Door & window sensors
  • Motion sensors, both interior & exterior
  • Wired or wireless security cameras
  • A high-decibel siren to draw attention
  • A premises sign & window stickers


A security camera is a video camera that records people’s activities in order to detect & prevent crime.[3]

Two main features of a security camera are as follows:

  • Motion Recognition:  newer cameras & software can recognize that something moved or changed position relative to its surroundings or the surroundings of the object.  Motion recognition cameras can detect motion by way of optical, acoustic, photon, & thermal detection.  Once motion is detected, a signal can activate an alarm or a camera that can capture an image or video of the motion & start recording the event.[2]
  • Object Detection:  certain cameras & their systems can evaluate and detect objects and the world around them.  By constantly scanning & evaluating a specific area, a system can be trained to classify objects & detect when a change has taken place.[2]

Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV)

Video surveillance (also known as closed-circuit television, CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors.  It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, or mesh wired or wireless links.  Even though almost all video cameras fit this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for surveillance in areas that require additional security or ongoing monitoring.[4]

Industrial Camouflage

Industrial camouflage is the use of blended images where the surrounding scenery and the camouflaged structure appear as one, with the goal to deceive passersby to believe the structure is something else entirely.  For example, roofs are sometimes planted with grass or with small shrubs that match their surroundings, or even trees to provide even better concealment & natural irregularity of light and shadows.[2]


  • Guards:  persons typically deployed at ingress/egress points with the goal of reducing tailgating, verifying identity of scanned ID cards, and ensuring property does not leave the premises.
  • Robot Sentries:  mechanized guards that provide a 24/7/365 watchman, continuously monitoring & alerting on differentials.  Robot sentries report anything out of the normal to the manned security desk/office.
  • Reception:  the public-facing part of a business or organization, where a reception desk places a friendly face in front of a visitor, essentially a buffer zone away from strangers accessing anyone in the company.  Receptionists vet the person attempting to gain access to the facility or a particular employee.
  • Two-Person Integrity/Control:  an escort & an observer that are assigned to a particular person doing work in a high-risk area, such as a data center, where a single person can cause massive amounts of damage in a few minutes.


Oftentimes, the simplest forms of security are the most effective; this is often the case with locks on all network areas & equipment.

  • Biometrics:  A biometric device is a security identification and authentication device.  Such devices use automated methods of verifying or recognizing the identity of a living person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic.  These characteristics include fingerprints, facial images, iris and voice recognition.[5]
  • Electronic:  locks that usually have a magnetic strike plate that are energized to keep the magnet engaged until authorization is given to disengage, thereby releasing the magnetic hold.
  • Physical:  traditional locks designed to deter entry by unauthorized users who don’t have a key.
  • Cable Locks:  Devices typically deployed to secure equipment to stable heavy equipment in a room that is not easily removed.  Example:  a laptop cable lock to secure a laptop to a desk.


  1. Access badge. Wikipedia.
  2. Santos, O.; Taylor, R.; Mlodziannowski, J. CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 Cert Guide.
  3. Security Camera. Collins.
  4. Romesh, V. (2005). Distance Education in the Technological Age.
  5. Wayman, J.; Jain, A.; Maltonie, D.; Maio, D. (2005). An Introduction to Biometric Authentication Systems.