Strategies for Physical Penetration Testing Outlined in New ISACA Resource

Schaumburg, Ill. (Nov. 28, 2023) — Physical penetration testing is often overlooked when it comes to security, despite a 28 percent increase in physical security incidents in both 2021 and 2022. Security professionals can gain a deeper understanding in a new ISACA resource, Physical Penetration Testing: The Most Overlooked Aspect of Security, which shares an overview of physical penetration testing, the significance of physical security, and an exploration of the methodologies and tools employed by physical penetration testers.

Physical penetration testing is designed to identify weaknesses in the physical security controls of an organization and simulate how a real attacker would try to gain access to restricted areas of information. The paper outlines different testing methods, including:

Social engineering
Physical/technical bypass
Destructive vs. nondestructive testing
Advanced persistent threats

Professionals can also learn about how organizations and testing firms decide on which test they use based on factors such as budget, scope of the engagement, and inside information provided by the organization. The publication explores these various testing types, including:

Red team
Black box
White box
Gray box

Due diligence assessment (walkthrough)“Technological advancements and variability in where organizational work is performed increases the difficulty securing sensitive data and assets. Enterprises cannot overlook the risks associated with physical access,” says Jon Brandt, Director, Professional Practices and Innovation at ISACA. “Physical security predates information security and while it may remain overshadowed by cyberthreats, the benefits of physical penetration testing are numerous and will strengthen any organization’s overall security posture.”

While there are advantages to physical penetration testing such as regulatory compliance, personnel safety, and data protection, there are also several challenges: cost, time, legal and ethical considerations, armed guard misunderstandings, off-limits areas/assets, and personnel who may not have the right skills for penetration testing. The paper shares strategies for overcoming challenges that an organization may encounter.

To download a complimentary copy of Physical Penetration Testing: The Most Overlooked Aspect of Security, visit ISACA members have access to an accompanying CPE quiz.

This resource joins other ISACA content and guidance which can be found here.


ISACA® ( is a global community advancing individuals and  organizations in their pursuit of digital trust. For more than 50 years, ISACA  has equipped individuals and enterprises with the knowledge, credentials,  education, training and community to progress their careers, transform their  organizations, and build a more trusted and ethical digital world. ISACA is a  global professional association and learning organization that leverages the  expertise of its more than 170,000 members who work in digital trust fields  such as information security, governance, assurance, risk, privacy and quality.  It has a presence in 188 countries, including 225 chapters worldwide. Through  its foundation One In Tech, ISACA supports IT education and career pathways for  underresourced and underrepresented populations.