Comprehensive digital signage design, installation and management services.
Comprehensive digital signage design, installation and management services.

Digital signage security – how to plan for success

As Saturn’s screen enclosures specialist, I’m often asked about digital signage security. When I first saw the New York–Dublin Portal – an interactive installation created by Lithuanian artist, Benediktas Gylys, which connects people in New York City and Dublin through two 24-hour circular live streaming video screens – I was more than a little sceptical about the design. Not from a technical or aesthetic point of view, but because it didn’t look like the ‘real world’ had been factored into the design.

I’ve spent more than a decade  designing enclosures, mounts and frameworks for digital signage, and unfortunately the visibility of digital displays makes them a magnet for vandals, thieves, and anti-social behaviour so this has to factored in when designing an estate.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the security/protection of digital signage hardware and how to safeguard both outdoor and indoor displays.


The New York–Dublin Portal: A Tale of Connection and Vulnerability

The innovative digital video portal linking New York City and Dublin allows real-time video communication between two bustling cities, fostering a sense of global connectivity. After being closed down briefly, due to inappropriate behaviour from members of the public, it has just been relaunched with new security measures.

Fencing has been introduced to create a physical barrier and prevent people getting too close to the display. Motion sensors have also been introduced which blur the screen if people do manage to get too close.

So, what can we learn from this if we’re in the process of planning to purchase digital signage or if we’re experiencing issues with security?

When it comes to digital signage security, it’s always better to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Start by considering what the risks are likely to be and look for the most cost-effective ways to mitigate them before you start buying or installing anything.

Consider what level of supervision your displays will have. The better supervised they are, the fewer protective measures you’re likely to need. The less supervised and more accessible to the general public they are, the more you’ll need to step up your security measures.

Security for supervised digital displays

For displays in supervised areas, with staff and/or monitored security cameras nearby, the risk of vandalism or theft is lower but still significant. Staff working in areas with digital signage usually have multiple responsibilities and distractions. Their personal safety should also be paramount too, so it’s best to take proactive measures so they don’t need to tackle thieves and vandals head on.

The most obvious and cheapest way to make displays safer is to put them in a place that is visible, but not easily accessible. A physical barrier isn’t a perfect solution but will in most cases remove the temptation to attack, interfere with, or steal displays.

If appropriate, position displays high on a wall so a person of average height wouldn’t be able to reach up and touch them, and use a secure mount that’s not easily tampered with. Alternatively, they could be positioned behind a counter so there’s a physical barrier in the way.

It’s not always appropriate to position displays so they’re out of reach especially in smaller spaces like corridors. However, it is possible to use special recessed enclosures for displays (available from Saturn). These are positioned within a wall cavity/stud wall and project just two centimetres out of it and are covered with a protective glass finish. They make the displays hard to access/steal and are less likely to get damaged when people brush past them by accident.

If you are using touchscreen displays, putting them out of reach obviously isn’t an option, so an enclosure needs to be used to make sure the screen is suitably protected. These enclosures can be wall mounted or freestanding and whilst they aren’t indestructible, they’ll make it more difficult to damage or steal the screen.

Security for unsupervised digital displays (In High Traffic Areas)

As you can imagine, displays in high traffic areas, especially those unsupervised and out of doors, are at a much higher risk. However, the methods used to protect displays in low-risk situations (i.e. putting them out of reach and using protective enclosures) are generally the same in principle.

One of the most common (and most expensive) types of outdoor display, that are usually unsupervised, are LED walls. These cannot be put in enclosures for protection so their first and only line of defence is to be positioned well. That means high enough that they can’t be reached – even with a stick (or traffic cone) attached to an outstretched arm.

If they’re at road height to target passing footfall/motorists, ideally they should be positioned high up and at least three metres behind a solid, high fence (not railings) so it’s visible but very difficult to throw objects at it.

For smaller unsupervised displays, your best defence is an extra-robust enclosure. Don’t be tempted to skimp on these as, whatever you save on the enclosure, you’re likely to spend to at more than double on the cost of replacing your screen through vandalism.

Surprisingly, extra-robust enclosures aren’t necessarily designed to withstand kicks and bricks being thrown at it – although the good ones will. They’re meant to make it as difficult as possible to steal or damage the screen contained inside, as these are more expensive to replace than the glass doors on the enclosure.

What we tend to find with extra-robust enclosures is that, even the most determined of vandals are often so tired by the effort required to break the reinforced glass, that they lose interest in breaking the more expensive screen behind it.

When shopping for robust enclosures, you can buy them off-the-shelf or have custom ones designed and built for you. Whichever you buy, always make sure that they’re designed to avoid overheating and moisture getting inside them.


Digital signage is a valuable tool for businesses, but it’s important to take steps to protect your investment. By following the tips in this blog post, you can make your digital signage is as safe and secure as it can be.

Always take advice from a reputable digital signage consultancy on hardware purchase and positioning, as they’ll be able to offer guidance on what security measures are appropriate in each site-specific situation. To learn more about the enclosures and services Saturn offers for digital signage hardware protection, please get in touch.


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