Holistic security is a form of security which operates on multiple, fully integrated levels. This approach to security can be taken to secure a structure, a computer network, a campus, and any number of other things which might need securing. The underlying idea behind holistic security is that systems need to be considered as wholes to achieve the greatest level of security; while it is important to be aware of individual aspects of a system, the ways in which these aspects work together are also a key part of a security system.
Several different areas of security are applied together with holistic security. The first is security technology, along with security software, which is intended to add security. This can include everything from the locks on the doors to the software programs which deny access to unauthorized personnel on a network. Another aspect of holistic security is the application of procedures, which involves creating effective security procedures to be implemented by people who interact with the system.
Finally, people are another key part of a holistic security program. These programs recognize that people working within a system can be integral to its security. One aspect of using people involves asking people for feedback, and specifically asking that people identify security holes, with employees being made aware that there will be no penalties for pointing out security flaws. Likewise, people can be involved in the formulation of more effective security policies, as they often know the system most intimately and are aware of areas of potential improvement.
The holistic approach also avoids the tendency to add layers upon layers of security which do not interface or connect with each other. Instead, the system works together, with the avoidance of patches and other disjointed elements. This ensures that all of the systems used for security can interact with each other. Imagine, for example, a compound with two guardhouses. When the guardhouses can talk to each other, this is an example of holistic security. When the guards have no means of communicating, and perhaps don't even know about the existence of another guardhouse, they are not working cooperatively to reduce security threats.
Implementing holistic security programs can involve input from security consultants, employees, and members of a company responsible for handling security. These types of programs can be ground-up replacements, in which everything is started all over again, or overhauls of systems which are designed to streamline them without necessarily replacing them.