We hear so much about security right now, but we don’t often sit down and really stop to think about what it actually means. The word “security” took on a new, more urgent meaning after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The word evolved again as the Internet became a bigger and bigger part of people’s lives. We began storing our bank account information, our photos, and practically our entire lives on the Internet.
So what do we do with the word “security” now?
Physical security is fairly easy to define. It’s when our bodies and our material possessions are safe from harm. That harm can be in the form of a robber who breaks into the house at night, or it can be in the form of a teenage delinquent who steals our smartphone when we accidentally leave it behind on the bus.
Both of those things feel like violations.
We also have our sense of personal security violated when someone we thought we could trust takes a swing at us, or when there’s a terrorist attack at a train station just a few miles from our house. We’re supposed to feel safe in our home, and we’re supposed to feel safe when we walk around town.
It feels like a violation of some sort of societal agreement when that trust we have is breached.
People respond in a lot of different ways to a sense that either they or their possessions are unsafe. Some of us just lock our purse in the car when we’re going to the gym. Business owners may have to hire personal security guards to watch over their inventory and the customers who come in and out of their stores.
Alcohol is a favorite item among shoplifters, which is why you’ll see private security guards stationed in liquor stores from Woodbridge, New Jersey to Woodinville, Washington.
Just knowing that a security guard or police officer is there is enough to dissuade some criminals in the same way a locked car will discourage some car burglars. Others, however, will be more persistent.
Those kinds of criminals often cause the most trouble, especially if they feel like they have nothing to lose.
Internet security was barely a thing twenty years ago, and now it’s a huge and growing segment of technology-related software and jobs.Thieves who grab your Social Security number or credit card number can’t harm you physically in most cases, but they can steal your identity, which can be just as disconcerting.
To combat this, banks have put certain safeguards in place that can be inconvenient if you’re traveling and your credit card is denied. But that happens because banks don’t expect you to be buying things in Hawaii; they expect you to be buying things in or around your hometown. A quick call can usually clear things up.
There’s also a ton of data out there. Everything from our pet’s name to the name of the high school we attended is out there online somewhere, and it can be used for nefarious purposes.
That’s why data security companies from Baltimore to Los Angeles that monitor where and how your personal data is being used can be so helpful. The so-called “dark web” is a creepy place, and most of us don’t have the time or abilities to monitor it ourselves. Instead, we need trustworthy companies that can do it for us.