1. Agencies have a responsibility to ensure their people, information, and assets (resources) are protected from harm, including compromise. This policy ensures agencies take the necessary steps to minimise physical security risks to an agency’s resources, while also ensuring agencies incorporate protective security requirements into the planning, selection, design, and modification of their facilities.

Implement physical security measures that minimise the risk of harm or compromise to people, information and physical assets

  1. To ensure physical security measures minimise the risk of harm or compromise to people, information and physical assets, agencies [1] must:
    1. identify and categorise the agency’s resources that require a level of physical protection
    2. incorporate protective security in the process of planning, selecting, designing and modifying agency facilities
    3. implement physical security measures proportionate to the assessed business impact of harm or compromise to agency resources, including:
      1. zoning all work areas
      2. applying all required individual control elements
      3. ICT equipment and facilities
    4. certify and accredit all security zones
      1. ensuring areas where sensitive or security classified information is used, transmitted, stored or discussed are certified in accordance with the applicable ASIO Technical Notes [2]
    5. dispose of physical assets securely
    6. manage security risks associated with working away from the office

[1] This policy applies to all South Australian public sector agencies (as defined in section 3(1) of the Public Sector Act 2009) and to any other person or organisation that is generally subject to the direction of a Minister of the Crown; all of which are referred to in this policy as “Agencies”.

[2] ASIO Technical Notes are available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.


  1. South Australian Protective Security Framework (SAPSF) policy Security planning requires agencies to identify the resources that are most important to ongoing operations and therefore, require the greatest level of protection. These protections may be to prevent compromise to those resources, but they must also protect them from harm. The physical security measures implemented by each agency to its facilities and physical assets are an essential component of minimising risks of harm or compromise to those resources.


  1. An agency’s people are central to its operations and require protection from harm. This policy reinforces the requirements on agencies pursuant to the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 to protect its employees and others from harm to their health, safety and welfare through the minimisation of risks, as well as providing support if they experience something harmful or traumatic.


  1. SAPSF policy Protecting official information outlines the policy and guidance for classifying, accessing and handling information resources. For these requirements to be effective at reducing the likelihood of compromise to an agency’s information, the effectiveness of the agency’s physical security measures is essential.

Physical assets

  1. Physical assets are tangible items that are valuable to the agency and require protection to ensure their operability and accessibility, while preventing unauthorised access, use or removal.
  2. Table 1 provides guidance for categorising physical assets, including factors to consider when determining the business impact. The type of physical security measures required or possible will depend upon how the physical asset is categorised by the agency and what the assessed business impact level resulting from compromise would be.

Table 1 – Categories of physical assets and factors to consider for assessing business impact

Category/Description Factors to consider


The asset is not necessarily valuable but is desired

  • The function of the asset is desirable (e.g., it holds information that may be attractive to an outside party such as a foreign adversary)
  • Portable assets that can be easily removed without detection, regardless of the information it holds (e.g., mobile phone, tablet)


The asset is classified in its own right or is classified due to the confidentiality of the information held on it (e.g., ICT equipment)

  • The level of classification of the asset
  • The mobility and accessibility of the classified asset (e.g. how easily removed or accessible the asset is)

The assessed business impacts that resulted in the security classification


The asset has the potential to cause harm (e.g. weapons or hazardous material)

  • The quantity and type of dangerous assets being stored (e.g. bulk store of weapons, large quantities of chemicals that could be weaponised or used to cause harm)
  • The level of public awareness/concern about the presence of the assets


The significance of the asset’s integrity or availability for the agency’s operations

  • The integrity of the asset (e.g. sensitive data that has not been correctly classified) or
  • The consequences should the asset be unavailable or inoperable when it is needed (e.g. firefighting equipment, medical supplies)


The asset has cultural, state, or national significance, regardless of monetary value

  • The intrinsic value to the state or national identity
  • The negative reputational effect of the loss or damage of the asset


The asset’s monetary value

  • The financial viability and time required to replace or repair the asset
  • The capability of the agency to operate without the asset or with partial functionality
  • The level of importance the asset has to the agency’s function or capability
  1. Business impact should be determined during the agency’s security planning processes as required in SAPSF policy Security planning in combination with the Business Impact Level Tool under SAPSF policy Protecting official information. Table 2 includes the business impact levels of compromise or harm to an agency’s physical assets.

Table 2 – Business Impact Levels – compromise or harm to physical assets

Business Impact Level Compromise or harm to resources, including physical assets expected to cause
Low business impact
Insignificant damage to an individual, organisation or government

Low to medium business impact
limited damage to an individual, organisation or government
High business impact
damage to individuals, organisations or the state or national interest
Extreme business impact
serious damage to individuals, organisations or the state or national interest
Catastrophic business impact
exceptionally grave damage to individuals, organisations or the state or national interest
  1. Agencies should implement physical security measures that protect each asset for the highest assessed impact, which may include the need for a security classification. [3]
  2. It is recommended that agencies implement an asset control system for identifying, protecting, and monitoring physical assets, which increases accountability and protects against theft, damage, and loss. Asset control procedures should include:
    1. recording the location and custodian of assets
    2. periodic auditing or assets
    3. reporting procedures for the loss or damage or assets.

[3] As an example, a human resources database itself may not warrant a security classification, but the information it holds might be essential to the function of the agency, therefore, its category is ‘important’. When considering the factors relating to essential assets, the business impact may be assessed as extreme. Therefore, while the database might only be classified to OFFICIAL: Sensitive, the physical protections around it might be greater to ensure the integrity and availability of the information critical to the agency’s function.

  1. The physical facilities that house an agency’s physical resources and assets must be sufficient to afford the level of protection those resources or assets require, in line with the agency’s risk assessments and security plans. To reduce the likelihood that an agency’s resources or assets are compromised or harmed, agencies must incorporate protective security into all processes for planning, selecting, or designing new facilities as well as refurbishment or modification of existing facilities.
  2. Protective security considerations for an agency’s facilities should consider:
    1. the location and size of the site
    2. ownership or tenancy of the site (e.g. sole occupancy, shared tenancy, multiple entities)
    3. collateral exposure (e.g. proximity to other categories of physical assets)
    4. access needs to the site (e.g. authorised personnel only, public access)
    5. security classification of information, activities, and assets (including ICT assets) to be stored, handled or processed in the facility, or parts of the facility
    6. the categories of other assets stored on site
    7. periods of greatest or increase risk (e.g. business hours or out-of-hours)

    Site selection

  3. It is recommended that the ASE and security advisers are involved in assessing:
    1. the suitability of the physical security environment of a proposed site for agency facilities
    2. if the facility can be constructed or modified to incorporate the security measures that will provide the required level of protection. [4]
  4. Table 3 outlines the site selection factors agencies may need to consider.
  5. Table 3 – Site selection factors

    Neighbourhood The neighbourhood may present security-related issues, such as local crime activity or risks from neighbouring entities or businesses.
    Standoff perimeter Standoff distance is how much distance can be placed between a facility and an identified threat, such as hostile persons or a vehicle-borne attack. In urban areas, it may be difficult to achieve an effective standoff distance for some threats. It is recommended agencies seek advice where specific or known threats have been identified.
    Site access and parking The ability and need to control access to pedestrians and vehicles to the site, including the facility itself, parking, and any standoff perimeter.
    Building access point The ability or need to secure all building access points, including entries and exits, emergency exits, air intakes and outlets and service ducts.
    Security zones

    Establishing security zones based upon:

    1. agency risk assessments
    2. business impact levels
    3. security-in-depth at the site.
    Environmental risks The risk of natural disasters and potential mitigation strategies

Designing and modifying facilities

  1. The design, or modifications to, and agency's facilities must  meet the minimum requirements to protect the highest identified risk to the agency's resources.
  2. The protection of people, information and assets is achieved via a combination of procedural and physical security measures to prevent or mitigate threats or risks. Table 4 contains the relevant security outcomes that can be achieved by different security measures. It is recommended that agencies seek to design or modify faciltiies with successive layers of physical security which achieve multiple security outcomes.

Table 4 - Outcomes of different security measures

Deter measures that are significantly difficult to overcome or require specialist knowledge and tools for adversaries to defeat
Detect measures that identify unauthorised access or actions, either in real time or on review
Delay measures that impede an adversary during attempted entry or attack, or slow the progress of a detrimental event to allow a response
Respond measures that prevent, resist, or mitigate an attack or event when it is detected
Recover measures that help restore operations to normal levels (as soon as possible), or recover lost or stolen resources, following an event.

Facility Security Risk Assessment

  1. Agencies must, at the earliest point in the design or modification process, identify the protective security requirements [5] of that facility based upon the function and outcomes of a security risk assessment, to enable protective security to be addressed in an effective and efficient manner. When conducting a facility security risk assessment, agencies must consult with Police Security Services Branch (PSSB)’s Security Support Section where the asset is designated Critical Infrastructure-High Risk (see below).
  2. Where a security risk assessment identifies a facility as High Risk, the agency must consult with PSSB to determine the appropriate risk treatments to be applied including whether the facility should be recommended for designation as Critical Infrastructure-High Risk (CI-HR) (see Critical Infrastructure and High-Risk assets).

[4] Physical security measures are designed to reduce the likelihood of security events, the site and design must also accommodate normal business.

[5] This is included in all relevant ASIO Technical Notes, in particular ASIO Technical Note 1/15 Physical Security of Zones, which is available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

  1. Once the business impact is assessed, the agency must implement physical security measures that are commensurate to the risk identified. Ideally, physical security measures would be capable of achieving all, or at least a combination of, the outcomes listed in Table 4.

  1. Security zones provide a methodology for scaling physical security measures based upon an agency’s security risk assessments. There are five security zones, numbered one to five (1-5) with increasing restrictions and access controls as the zones progress.
  2. The physical security measures [6] detailed for each zone are designed to protect sensitive and security classified information and security classified assets from compromise, either accidentally, or maliciously. [7]
  3. Agencies must consider the sensitivity or security classification of information or assets to be stored or maintained within their facilities to determine the minimum and maximum zone requirements. This process should be informed by SAPSF policies Security planning and Protecting official information. Annex Table 1 provides a broad description of each security zone, including examples of how the zone might be used, and any security clearance requirements. Agencies must observe the storage requirements for sensitive and security classified information as described in SAPSF policy Protecting official information.


  1. It is recommended that agencies apply the ‘security-in-depth’ principle to layer their security zones, working in front Zone One public access areas and increasing the levels of protection with each new zone. Multiple layers are a ‘delay’ design feature to enable more time to detect unauthorised entry and increase the opportunity to respond and prevent compromise or harm. Figure 1 - Indicative layering of security zones in Annex B demonstrates indicative layering of zones. In some circumstances, it may not be possible to for higher zones to be fully located within lower zones, and controls may need to be increased.

[6] As detailed in the applicable ASIO Technical Notes

[7] In addition to zoning, agencies may need to consider further physical security measures to protect against blast, ballistic and forced entry in addition to compliance with the Building Code of Australia. See relevant ASIO Technical Notes or more detail.

  1. The control elements for each security zone are used to achieve the required level of protection. Implementing the control elements provides a level of assurance against:
    1. the compromise, loss of integrity or unavailability of sensitive or security classified information
    2. the compromise, loss, or damage of sensitive or security classified assets.
  2. The control elements are based on the ASIO Technical Notes2 for the minimum requirements to protect sensitive and security classified information and assets. Annex Table 2 provides the individual control elements required in each zone.

Use of Security Construction Equipment Committee approved products

  1. The Security Construction and Equipment Committee (SCEC) is responsible for evaluating security equipment and it determines which product will be evaluated, and the priority of that evaluation.
  2. Evaluated products are assigned an increasing security level (SL) rating between 1 and 4 based upon the level of security it has been assessed to provide. SL1 products provide the lowest acceptable level of security for government use.
  3. Approved products are listed in the SCEC Security Equipment Evaluated Product List (SEEPL) which is available to government users via the GovTeams Protective Security Policy community. [8]
  4. It is recommended for agencies to use SCEC-approved equipment even where it is not mandated. Alternatively, agencies can use suitable commercial equipment that complies with the identified security related Australian and International Standards for the protection of people, information, and assets. [9]

Security containers and cabinets

  1. Agencies must identify the need for, and appropriate type of, security cabinets or containers they require to secure information, valuable assets and potentially money. It is recommended agencies consider:
    1. the category of asset (see Table 1)
    2. the quantity or size of information or assets
    3. the location and security zone for the information or physical assets within agency facilities
    4. the structure and location of the facility
    5. the access control systems
    6. other physical protection measures (e.g. locks, alarm systems).
  2. It is recommended that sensitive and security classified information and assets are stored in security containers and cabinets separately to physical assets as this can lower the risk of multiple compromises if valuable and/or attractive assets are stolen, while enabling security investigations to be more thorough.

Managing security containers and cabinets

  1. Security containers and cabinets can be a security risk if not managed appropriately over their lifetime. It is recommended that keys and combinations are kept securely within an agency’s perimeter and where possible, in the security zone where the containers and cabinets are located.
  2. For containers or cabinets secured with a combination setting, it is recommended that the combination is changed:
    1. every six months
    2. following repairs
    3. following change of employees
    4. when there is reason to believe there has been, or may have been, a compromise.

Key cabinets

  1. Manual and electronic key cabinets are used to secure keys (e.g. keys for Class C containers or internal offices) and should be located within the security zone or in close proximity to the zone where the locks are located. Electronic key cabinets may have automated audit capacity that negates the need to maintain a key register. Electronic key cabinets may also be integrated into the Electronic Access Control System (EACS).
  2. The SCEC approved Class B key cabinets provide the same level of protection as SCEC-approved Class B cabinets. SCEC-approved electronic Class C and B key containers are recommended to store keys for security zones four, five and Class C containers. [10] Commercial grade key cabinets vary in quality and provide very little protection against forced or covert access.

SCEC-approved security containers

  1. SCEC-approved security containers are for the storage of sensitive and security classified information and assets and not for the storage or valuable, important, attractive, significant, or dangerous assets. The design of these containers provides a high-level of tamper evidence from covert attack, and significantly delay surreptitious attack.
  2. There are three levels of SCEC-approved containers:
    1. Class A – protects information that has an extreme or catastrophic business impact level in situations assessed as high risk. These containers can be extremely heavy and may not be suitable in some facilities with limited floor loadings.
    2. Class B – protects information that has an extreme or catastrophic business impact level in situations assessed as low risk. They are also used for information that has a high or extreme business impact in situations assessed as higher risk. These containers are robust filing cabinets or compactuses fitted with combination locks. Class B containers size and weight needs to be considered when selecting a location. There are broadly two types of Class B container:
      1. heavy constructed models that are suitable for use where there are minimal other physical controls
      2. lighter constructed models that are suitable for use where there are other physical security measures
    3. Class C – protects information up to an extreme business impact level in situations assessed as low risk. They are also used for information that has a medium business impact in situations assessed as higher risk by the agency. These containers are fitted with a SCEC-approved restricted keyed lock and are of similar construction to the lighter Class B containers. See Annex Table 4 of SAPSF policy Protecting official information for guidance on the minimum use and storage requirements for sensitive and security classified information.

Commercial safes and vaults

  1. Commercial safes and vaults provide a level of protection against forced entry. A vault is a secure space that is generally built in place and normally larger than a safe. A safe is normally smaller and may be portable or movable. The effectiveness of a safe or vault depends on its construction, use and location.
  2. Safes and vaults can be fire resistant (for document or data protection), burglar resistant or a combination of the two. It is recommended that agencies seek advice from qualified locksmiths or manufacturers when deciding the criteria to apply to select an appropriate commercial safe or vault. [11] Annex Table 3 provides the minimum commercial safe and vault requirements in the applicable zones, based upon the business impact level.

Vehicle safes

  1. Agencies may consider fitting vehicles with field safes to carry valuable assets and official information. Vehicle safes provide some level of protection against opportunistic theft, but only when vehicles are also fitted with other anti-theft controls.

[8] The SCEC evaluated product list is available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

[9] Annex A to PSPF policy Entity Facilities contains a Security Equipment Guide developed by ASIO-T4 to assist agencies select security equipment not tested by SCEC.

[10] For advice refer to ASIO SEG-013 Electronic Key Cabinets available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

[11] Further guidance can be found in Australian Standard 3809 Safes and strongrooms and ASIO-T4 Security Equipment Guide SEG-022 Safes-Protection of Assets, which is available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

  1. Secure rooms and strongrooms may be used instead of containers to secure large quantities of official information, classified assets and valuable assets, where the compromise or harm would have a high business impact level.
  2. Secure rooms are designed to protect its contents from a covert attack and have some degree of fire protection of the contents, if constructed properly. Secure rooms are suitable for open storage of large quantities of official information and classified assets, while maintaining the levels of protection provided by a Class A, B or C container. [12]

[12] Advice on construction specification for secure and strongrooms is detailed in the ASIO Technical notes 7-06 Class A Secure Room, 8-06 Class B Secure Room and 9-06 Class C Secure Room available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

  1. Advice on magazines, armouries and explosive storehouses is available from the Department of Defence, South Australia Police (SAPOL) Firearms Branch or SafeWork SA’s Chemical Hazards & Explosive Materials Team.

  1. In areas where sensitive or security classified discussions or meetings are held, it is recommended agencies implement audio security measures to prevent deliberate or accidental overhearing.
  2. Meeting rooms or areas that might be expected to hold such discussions should be acoustically treated so that any sound created within the space is unintelligible to a person or device outside that area. Appropriate and effective sound insulation is critical to achieving the required level of security for sensitive and security classified discussions.
  3. Consistent with the requirements of this policy, agencies must consider the need for sensitive and security classified discussions throughout the processes or planning, selecting, designing, and modifying agency facilities. [13]
  4. If sensitive or security classified discussions need to be held in unsecured or untreated areas, agencies are recommended to take all available steps to reduce the likelihood that those conversations are overheard, including moving away from public spaces and/or work areas.

[13] ASIO Technical Note 1/15 – Physical Security of Zones, Section 16: Audio Security is available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

[14] PSSB SAS monitoring services comprises the centralised monitoring of SAS including:

  1. duress
  2. intruder
  3. critical systems failure.

  1. Security Alarm Systems (SAS) provide detection or unauthorised access to an agency’s facilities. SAS are only effective, however, if used in conjunction with other measures designed to delay or respond to that unauthorised access.
  2. All South Australian Government agencies must obtain SAS monitoring services [14] through Police Security Services Branch (PSSB). Client Connection Forms and processes for alarm connections and modifications can be obtained by emailing SAPOLPSSBControlCentre@police.sa.gov.au.
  3. It is recommended that SAS are configured to monitor high-risk areas (e.g., infrequently accessed, roof spaces, inspection hatches and underfloor cavities).
  4. Agencies must undertake periodic maintenance and testing on SAS from an authorised service provider. It is recommended that maintenance and testing occur at least every two years to ensure all systems are operational.
  5. SAS can be broadly divided into two types:
    1. perimeter (external) intrusion detection systems (PIDS) or alarms
    2. internal security alarm systems

Perimeter alarms

  1. PIDS may be of value to agencies that have facilities enclosed within a perimeter fence or for facilities located on a large land holding. PIDS provide detection of unauthorised breaches of the perimeter. Agencies are recommended to seek specialist advice when installing PIDS. The SEEPL contains suitable and approved external alarm components.

Internal alarms

  1. It is recommended that a combination of commercial and SCEC-approved SAS be used to protect an agency’s facilities, after consideration of the zone requirements and the agency’s risks assessment.
  2. SAS canbe single sector or sectionalised to give coverage to specific areas of risk. Sectionalised SAS allow greater flexibility as highly sensitive areas can remain secured when not in use, but other parts of the facility are open.
  3. SAS in zones Three, Four and Five must be sectionalised, unless the agency opts to use separate SAS across each different security zone.

Zones Four and Five

  1. If an agency determines it has need for a Zone Four or Zone Five area, they must use:
    1. a SCEC-approved Type 1A or Type 1 SAS in accordance with the Type 1A SAS transition policy [15] with SCEC-approved detection devices
    2. SCEC-endorsed Security Zone Consultant [16] to design and commission the SCEC-approved Type 1A alarm system.

Commercial alarm systems

  1. Commercial alarm systems are graded on the level of protection they provide. The AS/NZS 2201.1 levels of security alarm systems include:
    1. Class 1 or 2 are only suitable for domestic use
    2. Class 3 or 4 are suitable for the protection of normal business operations in most agencies
    3. Class 5 is suitable for protection of information and physical assets up to an extreme business impact level.
  2. Agencies must only use commercial alarm systems up to Zone Three. It is recommended that agencies consider and determine:
    1. whether a commercial alarm system is appropriate for agency facilities (including temporary sites)
    2. the SAS specifications required.
  3. Agencies should have procedures in place for the use, management, monitoring and response arrangements of commercial alarm systems. It is recommended that agencies adopt the administration and management principles set out in the Type 1 security alarm system Implementation and Operation Guide.
  4. It is recommended that agencies seek to integrate any SAS with other building management systems, such as duress, intruder and critical systems failure alarms, closed-circuit television (CCTV) and electronic access control systems, to reduce the vulnerabilities of unauthorised access and tampering.

[14] PSSB SAS monitoring services comprises the centralised monitoring of SAS including:

  • duress
  • intruder
  • critical systems failure.

[15] The transition policy is available via GovTeams. Users will be required to register and request access to the Protective Security Policy community.

[16] The SCEC Security Zone Consultant Register on the SCEC website lists SCEC-endorsed Security Zone Consultants by state and territory. SCEC-endorsed Security Zone Consultants are endorsed to provide physical security advice at the request of government agencies regarding:

  • design, acceptance testing and commissioning of Type 1A SAS
  • design and construction of security zones as defined in the SAPSF and ASIO-T4 Technical Notes.

  1. Security guards can provide a both a physical presence at agency facilities and a rapid response to security incidents. Stationary guards or guard patrols may be useful, either separately or in conjunction with other security measures. It is recommended that security guard response time be less than the delay given by the total of all other individual control elements, especially if guards are off-site.
  2. In considering the use of security guards, it is recommended that agencies consider:
    1. the level of threat and/or risk identified
    2. whether guards need to be on-site or off-site (on-site provides higher level of assurance)
    3. any security clearance requirements based on the security zone requirements and frequency of access [17]
    4. ensuring guards hired are licenced in South Australia.

Critical Infrastructure and High-Risk assets

  1. Critical infrastructure assets are physical facilities, supply chains, information technologies and communications networks which, if destroyed, disrupted, degraded, or rendered unavailable for an extended period will significantly impact on the social or economic well-being of the State, or affect the State’s contribution to National security or defence.
  2. Critical Infrastructure-High Risk (CI-HR) assets are designated by Cabinet following the endorsement of a recommendation made to the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) following a security risk assessment conducted by PSSB and the relevant agency(ies). These assets are those which if destroyed, disrupted, degraded, harmed or rendered unavailable would significantly affect the reputation of the State or significantly reduce community confidence in the Government’s ability to effectively conduct business.
  3. A recommendation to designate an asset as CI-HR is undertaken by the relevant agency(ies) through the following process:
  • Consult with PSSB to determine the appropriateness of designation
  • Undertake or validate an existing security risk assessment of the asset
  • Identify appropriate risk treatments aligned with the security risk assessment, including the need for deployment of Police Security Officers (PSOs)
  • Prepare a report for SEMC with a recommendation for designation, including resource and funding implications for the agency
  1. SEMC will consider the report and recommendation made by the agency. If endorsed, the report will be returned to the agency who will be responsible for drafting a Cabinet Submission. Cabinet will consider the proposal and recommendation for designation of the asset as CI-HR. The Commissioner of Police (delegated to PSSB) will maintain a secure register of designated CI-HR assets.
  2. Agencies must conduct security risk assessments and site reviews of any designated CI-HR asset in consultation with PSSB. It is recommended that reviews are undertaken every 2-3 years. Where any changes are proposed to the designation of a CI-HR asset, the relevant agency is to prepare a report for consideration by SEMC. A copy of each risk assessment and site review must be provided to PSSB.
  3. Following designation, the agency(ies) responsible for the CI-HR asset must obtain protective security services from PSSB, comprised of:
    1. monitoring of electronic security devices such as closed-circuit television (CCTV)
    2. physical security services including: security advice, support and training, mobile and static security, and alarm response services provided by PSOs.
  4. PSOs are employees of and remain under the operational management of SAPOL. PSOs will be deployed and subject to the conditions of contractual agreements between SAPOL and the relevant agency. PSOs are deployed to agencies on a cost recovery basis which will be outlined in the relevant contract.
  5. Agencies may obtain protective security services from PSSB relating to assets not designated CI-HR.

[17] See SAPSF policy Accessing official information for more guidance.

  1. Information regarding determinations by the Minister that specified persons, places or vehicles are in need of protective security can be found under Section 63B(1)(b) of the Police Act 1998 (SA) should be sought from PSSB.
  2. Following a designation of CI-HR by Cabinet, the agency responsible for the asset must make application to the Minister for Police to declare the site a ‘protected place’ under the Act.

  1. It is recommended that agencies install security signage that supports physical security and mayact as to deter intruders or adversaries where:
    1. CCTV is installed
    2. required pursuant to the Police Act 1998 (SA) relative to protected persons, places and/or vehicles deemed in need of protection by the Minister [18]

[18]  PSSB can provide signage to an agency or advise on the required wording where an agency wishes to design its own.

  1. Access control systems are measures that allow authorised personnel, vehicles, and equipment to pass through protective barriers while preventing unauthorised access. Forms of access control can be:
    1. security guards located at entry and exit points
    2. security guards located at central points who monitor and control entry and exit points using intercoms, videophones and CCTV
    3. mechanical locking devices operated by keys or codes
    4. electronic access control systems
    5. psychological or symbolic barriers [19] (e.g., signage or crime prevention through environmental design).

Authorised personnel access

  1. Access to Zones Two to Five must be restricted to authorised personnel. This includes:
    1. agency employees (including those on contract or seconded staff) who require access to agency facilities, information or assets (see SAPSF policy Recruiting employees)
    2. personnel engaged by contracted service providers who need access to agency facilities, information or assets as covered by the terms of the contract (see SAPSF policy Managing the security of contractors and service providers)
    3. personnel who, due to business need (although not directly engaged by the agency or contracted service provider) require ongoing access that is authorised by the accountable authority (e.g., Senior Executives or personnel from another portfolio agency who require regular, unescorted access to attend meetings etc.).
  2. The accountable authority (or Agency Security Executive (ASE)) is responsible for authorising ongoing (or regular) access for people who are not directly engaged or covered by the terms of a contract or agreement. The accountable authority (or ASE) must ensure:
    1. the person has the required level of security clearance required for the respective security zones they may need to access
    2. the appropriate business need (e.g., a documented business case and risk assessment).

Electronic access control systems (EACS)

  1. EACS must be used for Zones Three to Five where there are no other suitable identity verification and access control measures in place. Zones Three to Five must:
    1. have sectionalised access control systems and full audit
    2. be regularly reviewed for unusual or prohibited activity or access.
  2. It is recommended that agencies:
    1. seek specialist advice when selecting and designing EACS
    2. use an appropriate installer recommended by the manufacturer to install and commission the systems
    3. regularly audit all EACS across all agency security zones in accordance with their risk assessments and security plan and identify and remove personnel no longer requiring ongoing access.

Identity cards

  1. Identity cards allow recognition of personnel across agency facilities. Agencies must use identity cards with personal identity verification in Zones Three to Five, however, it is recommended that agencies use identity cards across all facilities, regardless of the level of security zone.
  2. Identity cards should only be issued to employees or people who have had their identity established as per the requirements of SAPSF policy Recruiting employees. It is recommended that agencies use the National Identity Proofing Guidelines to at least Level 3 for personnel not covered by the SAPSF policies (such as contracted service providers). It is also recommended agencies consider implementing this standard in Zones One and Two also.
  3. Identity cards should be:
    1. uniquely identifiable
    2. worn and clearly displayed by authorised personnel while on agency premises
    3. regularly audited in accordance with the agency’s risk assessments and security plan.
  4. Identity card making equipment and spare, blank, or returned cards, should be secured within a Zone Two or higher zone, based on the security risk assessment.

Authentication factors

  1. There are three authentication factors that can be used to validate identity:
    1. What you have (e.g., keys, identity cards, passes)
    2. What you know (e.g., pin numbers, passwords)
    3. What you are (e.g., visual recognitions, biometrics)
  2. It is strongly recommended agencies implement dual factor authentication within all agency facilities (e.g., factors from two different categories above). Agencies must use dual factor authentication for access to Zone Five areas.

Visitor controls

  1. A visitor is any person who does not have authorised ongoing access to all or part of an agency’s facilities. Visitor control is an administrative process but can be supported by EACS.
  2. Agencies must control access to Zones Three to Five, which should include recording visitor details and issuing visitor passes. Visitor registers should record name, agency, or entity they represent, purpose of visit, person responsible for the visit, and date and time of entry and exit. It is recommended visitor access processes are also implemented for Zone Two areas.
  3. Visitor passes should be:
    1. visible at all times
    2. collected and disabled at the end of the visit
    3. audited regularly (e.g., daily)
    4. if EACS is available, visitor passes should be enabled only for the areas the visitor requires access to.
  4. It is recommended that specific or sensitive areas have separate visitor registers and processes in place at the entry.
  5. Visitors must be escorted at all times in Zones Three to Five, and it is recommended visitors are also escorted in Zone Two areas, unless unescorted access is approved.
  6. Regardless of the entry control method or other controls in place, it is recommended that unescorted access only be given if the person:
    1. has a legitimate need for unescorted access to the area
    2. has the appropriate level security clearance (if required)
    3. is able to show a suitable form of identification.

Perimeter access control

  1. Perimeter access control may be required for agencies with larger, multi-building facilities. Perimeter control can increase the level of deterrence, detection, and delay. Some types of perimeter control include:
    1. fences and walls to define the perimeter [20]
    2. pedestrian barriers and/or entry/exit points
    3. vehicle security barriers.
  2. The level of protection provided by a fence or wall depends on the height, construction, materials, access controls and any other features to increase its performance or effectiveness (e.g., lighting, signage, SAS). It is recommended that entry and exit points are at least as strong as the fence or wall used. The SEEPL contains details on perimeter intrusion detection devices.

[19] May be used for deterrence but are not recommended as an effective access control measure.

[20]  Refer to the ASIO-T4 Security Equipment Guide SEG-003 Perimeter Security Fences and SEG-024 Access Control Portals and Turnstiles, available for authorised security personnel only from the Protective Security Policy community on Govdex. Related Australian Standards:

  1. AS 1725–Chain-link fabric security fencing and gates
  2. AS/NZS 3016–Electrical installations–Electric security fences.

  1. Locks can deter or delay unauthorised access to information and physical assets. It is recommended that all access points are secured, including doors and windows, using commercial-grade or SCEC-approved locks and hardware. Agencies must use SCEC-approved locks and hardware in Zones Three to Five.
  2. Locks may be electronic, combination or keyed, and all combinations, keys and electronic tokens should be assigned the same classification as the highest classification of information or asset secured by that lock.
  3. All agencies are recommended to consider the level of protection required by doors frames when selecting locks, as they are only as strong as their fittings or hardware. It is also recommended that agencies:
    1. Use SCEC-endorsed locksmiths when using SCEC-approved locks (list available from ASIO-T4 and SCEC)
    2. use doors that provide a similar level of protection to the locks and hardware fitted; refer to Australian Standard AS 3555.1–Building elements–Testing and rating for intruder resistance–Intruder-resistant panels. [21]

Keying systems

  1. Restricted keying systems provide a level of assurance to agencies that unauthorised duplicate keys have not been made. Controls for keying systemsinclude:
    1. legal controls (e.g., registered designs and patents)
    2. level of difficulty in obtaining or manufacturing key blanks and the machinery used to cut duplicate keys
    3. levels of protection against compromise techniques, such as picking, impressioning and decoding.
  2. It is recommended that when selecting keying systems, agencies evaluate:
    1. the level of protection provided against common forms of compromise
    2. the extent of legal protection offered by the manufacturer
    3. supplier protection of agency keying data within their facilities
    4. the transferability of the system and any associated costs
    5. commissioning and ongoing maintenance costs.
  3. The number of master keys should be strictly limited as the loss of a master key may result in the need to re-key all the locks under that master. Key control measures should include regular auditing of key registers to confirm the location of all keys in accordance with the agency’s risk assessments and security plan.
  4. Key cabinets should be located within a facility’s secure perimeter and, where possible, within the perimeter of the zone where the locks are located.

[21] This standard is now expired and has not yet been superceded. Advice from Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department is that the guidance in the standard remains correct until a new standard has been issued.

  1. TSCMs are implemented to protect security classified discussion from technical compromise. It is recommended that agencies undertake TSCM inspections to assist in identifying any technical weaknesses or vulnerabilities within agency facilities that may be used for security classified discussions.
  2. TSCM inspections should be carried out:
    1. at the conclusion of initial construction, room renovations or alterations to fittings (e.g., lighting and furnishings)
    2. as a part of programmed technical security inspections undertaken at random intervals
    3. before an event (e.g., where visitors may enter the area)
    4. following a security breach (e.g., unauthorised disclosure of a sensitive discussion).
  3. Agencies seeking advice on TSCM inspections can contact ASIO-T4 for more information and assistance. Requests can be made in accordance with the Protective Security Circular No 165 Facilitating TSCM inspections in Australia, available for authorised security personnel only from the Protective Security Policy community on GovTeams.

  1. CCTV may be used as a visual deterrent to unauthorised access, theft or violence and can assist in post-incident investigations and alarm activation investigations. CCTV must not be used as a substitute for physical barriers.
  2. For CCTV to be effective, agencies should install a sufficient number of cameras to monitor:
    1. the entire perimeter of the tenanted area or building, particularly publicly accessible areas such as reception, lobby, or entry points
    2. all facility access points, including car park entrances
    3. public access hallways, stairwells, and lift lobbies
    4. inside loading docks
    5. public area boundaries (e.g., the delineation between public areas and security zones).
  3. CCTV images from security incidents to be used in investigations should be security stored in an appropriate security container to protect the evidentiary integrity.

  1. Internal and external lighting is an important contributor to physical security. It can act as a deterrent to intruders, illuminate areas to meet requirements for CCTV, assist response teams when responding to security incidents and provide safety lighting for personnel in car parks and building entrances. Motion-detecting devices may be useful to activate additional lighting as a further deterrent.

ICT equipment

  1. ICT equipment facilitates the electronic processing, storage, and transfer of agency information. The equipment itself must be protected due to:
    1. the classification or business impact of the information held on the asset, or the classification of the asset itself
    2. the criticality of integrity or availability of the information held or processed on the asset
    3. the potential attractiveness of either the information held of the asset itself
    4. the aggregation of information, which may increase the business impact level of the asset’s compromise.
  2. ICT equipment includes:
    1. movable physical assets (e.g., computers, photocopiers, multi-function devices, mobile phones, storage media etc.)
    2. system equipment (e.g., hardware and software)
    3. building management systems and security systems.
  3. ICT system equipment is generally operational 24-hours a day, which may include:
    1. servers
    2. communication network devices (e.g., PABX systems)
    3. supporting network infrastructure (e.g., cabling)
    4. gateway devices (e.g., routers, network access devices.
  4. To identify the appropriate physical security measures to protect ICT assets or the information held or communicated on them, it is recommended that the protections align with the highest business impact level of that information.
  5. Additional physical security measures for specific types of ICT equipment are contained in Annex Table 4.

ICT facilities

  1. An ICT facility is a designated space or floor of an agency’s building used to house the agency’s ICT systems, components of the ICT systems or ICT equipment. These facilities include:
    1. server and gateway rooms
    2. datacentres
    3. backup repositories
    4. storage areas for ICT equipment that hold official information
    5. communication and patch rooms.
  2. All agencies must certify [22] and accredit any security zone that is to hold sensitive or security classified information. [23] It is recommended that agencies locate ICT facilities in security zones that are specific to the facility and are separate to other agency functions.
  3. The physical security of containers or rooms housing ICT equipment in an ICT facility may sometimes be lowered if the ICT facility is a separate security zone within an existing security zone suitable for the information held. This process is consistent with the ‘security-in-depth principle (See Annex Table 5 for more detail).

Access control to ICT facilities and equipment

  1. If the business impact is lower than catastrophic, agencies may consider the following control to limit access to ICT facilities:
    1. a dedicated section of the SAS, or an EACS
    2. personnel at the entrance administering access to authorised people
  2. It is also recommended that agencies seal access to ICT equipment within ICT facilities by using SCEC-approved tamper-evident wafer seals suitable for application to hard surfaces. These seals give a visual indication of unauthorised access to equipment if the seals are removed or broken. See the SEEPL for SCEC-approved seals.

Securing ICT equipment when not in use

  1. ICT equipment not in use of unattended must be secured commensurate with the classification or business impact level of the information held or the asset itself. It is recommended that any movable equipment is secured in an appropriate security zone and that out-of-hours, all security containers, and the ICT facility itself are secured from unauthorised access.
  2. For ICT equipment that cannot be secured in ICT facilities, security containers or secure rooms when not in use, it is recommended that agencies:
    1. remove non-volatile media (hard drives) and, if possible, store in an appropriate container
    2. store ICT equipment where the non-volatile media cannot be removed in an appropriate security zone (see Annex Table 1)
    3. seek advice from the ASD about additional logical or technological solutions that may be available to lower the risk of compromise.

[22] Compartments within the Zone Five may be certified by the ASE or delegated security adviser.

[23] Agencies must ensure any TOP SECRET information ICT facilities are in compartments with a Zone Five area accredited by ASIO-T4 and comply with all applicable ASIO Technical Notes. Agencies must also obtain ASIO-T4 physical security certification for outsourced ICT facilities to hold information that, if compromised, would have a catastrophic business impact level. See ASIO Protective Security Circular PSV 149 Physical Security Certification of Outsourced ICT facilities for more detail.

  1. Certification and accreditation are measures to increase the level of confidence in the ability of an agency to share, access and protect information according to the required protections. As such, agencies are required to certify and accredit their security zones in accordance with the requirements of the SAPSF and relevant ASIO Technical Notes.


  1. Certification of security zones establishes each zone’s compliance with the minimum physical security requirements to the satisfaction of the relevant certification authority. For Zones One to Four, the ASE (or delegated security adviser) may certify that the control elements have been implemented and are operating effectively.20 Annex Table 6 summarises the certification authorities for the relevant control measures.


  1. Accreditation of security zones involved compiling and reviewing all applicable certifications and other deliverables for the zone to determine and accept the residual security risks. Approval for the security zone to operate at the desired level is granted for a specified time. For Zones One to Five, the ASE (or delegated security adviser) is the accrediting authority when the controls are certified as meeting the requirements of Annex Table 6. [22]

Recertification and reaccreditation

  1. Security zone certification is time-limited and compliance is based upon the facility and the assets contained at the time of certification. As such, facilities must be recertified and reaccredited by circumstances including:
    1. expiry of the certification due to the passage of time
      1. 10 years for Zone Two
      2. 5 years for Zones Three to Five
    2. changes in the assessed business impact level associated with the sensitive or security classified information or assets handled or stored with in the zone
    3. significant changes to the architecture of the facility or the physical security controls used
    4. any other conditions stipulated by the accreditation authority, such as changes to the threat level or other environmental factors of concern.

[24] The Australian Signals Directorate must accredit Zone Five facilities used to secure and access sensitive compartmented information and sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIF). ASD is responsible for management of all SCIFs in Australia. Recertification and reaccreditation of Zone Fives and SCIFs, it is recommended to seek advice from ASIO-T4.

  1. An agency’s physical resources may need to be disposed of due to a number of factors (e.g. advances in technology, end of life cycle, changes to business requirements). All agencies must ensure disposal of physical assets is secure and minimises risk to the South Australian Government.
  2. Prior to decommissioning or disposing of physical assets, such as security containers, cabinets, vaults, strongrooms, and secure rooms, it is recommended that agencies:
    1. reset combination locks (electronic and mechanical) to factory settings
    2. visually inspect and remove all contents from the physical assets.
  3. Secure disposal of ICT equipment may be achieved through sanitisation, in accordance with the Australian Government Information Security Manual (ISM). In some circumstances, ICT equipment cannot be sanitised and will required destruction.
  4. See SAPSF policy Protecting official information for advice on appropriate methods of destruction for South Australian Government information and resources.

  1. Agencies must consider the security measures required to enable employees to work securely away from the office, while managing any security risks that arise (e.g. the environment where the work is being undertaken, the type or sensitivity of the work being undertaken etc.)

Mobile computing and communications

  1. Mobile computing and communication involved creating access to agency systems and information from locations outside of the agency’s control using portable devices. Most areas being used for mobile work arrangements are public areas with few, or no, protective security measures in place, and would therefore be rated no greater than a Zone One security area. As such, it is recommended that agencies implement mobile computing and communications controls to minimise any residual risk, such as requiring that all employees and personnel maintain positive control (not left unattended) at any time.
  2. As it may not be possible to implement appropriate zoning requirements away from the office, agencies should consider ICT logical security controls to protect their information and assets. Advice on suitable logical controls can be found in the ISM.


  1. Teleworking allows employees and other personnel to undertake work away from the office from alternate locations. Examples of teleworking include:
    1. working from personal residences on a regular basis
    2. working from an alternate office space:
      1. within agency facilities in another location (e.g. regional sites)
      2. in another Australian, state or territory government’s facilities
      3. in another location where the agency has some ability to apply protective security (e.g. contracted service provider’s premises)
  2. Most teleworking locations will not be greater than a Zone Two security zone, and agencies must consider appropriate security measures to minimise any residual risk.

Protecting resources while working away from the office

  1. Agencies must maintain the protections of their resources commensurate with the assessed business impact level of compromise. Where possible, agencies should accredit proposed work sites outside of the office in line with the type of work expected to be undertaken. In determining the viability of work away from the office, agencies must consider:
    1. if sensitive or security classified information can be appropriately secured [25]
    2. if the workspace can be independently secured
    3. if the workspace can be protected from oversight or overhearing by other people
    4. if the ICT equipment being used can be secured or segregated from the agency’s ICT system.
  2. An agency’s physical assets are vulnerable to loss or compromise outside of government facilities. It is recommended that agencies consider:
    1. asset control procedures
    2. limiting the removal of agency assets from the office to only those absolutely necessary
    3. the need for portable alarm systems in private residences. [26]

Security of resources in facilities not managed by the agency

  1. It may be difficult to secure an agency’s information that is being held in facilities or areas not controlled by the originating agency. These areas could include commercial facilities, private residences, or a service provider’s premises. It is recommended that agencies consider all areas outside of the agency’s control as Zone One, unless it is able to confirm and certify any security measures in place that would indicate otherwise.

[25] The minimum protections of SAPSF policy Protecting official information for sensitive and security classified information must be maintained. ASIO-T4 certification must also be sought for any areas used to store TOP SECRET information.

[26] Refer to ASIO-T4 Protective Security Circular 162 Private residence security assessment, available for authorised security personnel only from the Protective Security Policy community on Govdex.

Approved by: Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Date of first approval: 20 April 2020

Revision number: 2.0Date of review: 26 October 2022
Next review date: December 2024Contact: sapsf@sa.gov.au

Change log

Version Date Changes
1.020/04/2020First issue of policy

Definition of ‘personnel’ updated

Definition of ‘visitor’ added


Updated guidance added to Facility Security Risk Assessments (para 17)

Updated guidance added to Security Alarm Systems (para 48)

Updated guidance added to Critical Infrastructure High and-Risk Assets (paras 64-70)

Guidance added to Protected persons, places and vehicles (paras 70-71)

Guidance added to Security Signage (para 73)