We’re witnessing one of the biggest transformations of security in history.
COVID-19 has challenged us as a society to rethink how we view security. The scope and role of security have expanded from protecting physical and digital assets to promoting safer, healthier and more efficient environments. This has prompted a rapid shift from analogue and disparate to digital, touchless and highly integrated. As a result, organisations are now looking for an ecosystem of security solutions that can not only help protect their people and assets but also drive their growth.
At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated innovation and data transformation. The security industry is now three to four years ahead of where it would have been and customer expectations have evolved at a similar rate.
What does this mean for the future when it comes to security?
We’re not in the guessing game and we don’t have a crystal ball. Instead, we annually survey business decision-makers to learn more about organisations’ perceptions about, interest in and adoption of security technology. This years’ survey, conducted by B2B International on behalf of STANLEY Security, included 2,404 respondents across Benelux, France, the Nordics, United Kingdom and the ed States. Respondents represented organisations of all sizes.
Interestingly, more than half (56%) of organisations without security systems in place stated that they planned to invest in two or more security products/systems in the next 12 months, with 24-hour alarm/video monitoring services towards the top of the list.
Collating and analysing the data from the survey, several trends have emerged that we consider will be increasingly important factors in organisations’ security considerations in 2021.
Using Security to Mitigate Health & Safety Risks
The global pandemic has redefined safety in the workplace. It introduced a monumental challenge that organisations weren’t yet equipped to solve: how to identify contagious individuals and prevent the spread of illness. This led to a fundamental shift in the way organisations leverage security solutions. Now, they’re looking at how security can help them ensure the health of their people and visitors.
From health questionnaires and temperature screening to contact tracing and controlling people flow, security solutions are now serving as organisations’ first line of defence against health and safety risks. Although these have been implemented in direct response to COVID-19 workplace safety, it will no doubt have a lasting impact on the way organisations view and use security for the foreseeable future.
Solving the Threshold Management Equation
Nearly every organisation with on-site operations is tasked with managing who’s crossing their threshold, when they’re coming and going, and what risk they pose to others in the building. The balance of the focus has moved from visitor management to managing any individual crossing your organisation’s threshold, but without significantly impacting throughput and operations. We’re seeing more facilities adopting a Zero Trust approach to physical safety and security, tightening control over who has access not only to the building but to different areas within the building.
In solving this, many organisations are leveraging security solutions to mitigate those risks, which will continue to be key in 2021. This includes deploying threshold management solutions – such as health questionnaires, temperature and face mask screening systems and wellness-based credential activation – that automate processes, enforce policies and integrate with other security and business systems.
The Rise of Cloud Solutions and the XaaS Delivery Model
More organisations have come to realise that cloud solutions are a lot more resilient than an on-premises service, leading to the accelerated adoption of both cloud-hosted solutions as well as remote services. This is creating more demand for the as-a-service (XaaS) delivery model, which offers cost predictability – particularly important for small to medium-sized businesses. Controlling costs is especially critical as businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Outsourcing of Security Management
In the past, companies often used in-house staff to support their security initiatives, but as requirements change, security is becoming too big of a burden for these internal teams. Larger organisations are now looking to providers to take over the administrative and maintenance components of their security – a trend we’ve seen developing slowly over the years, but will likely be more prevalent in 2021 due to the increased complexities introduced by COVID-19.
Leveraging Security Data to Improve Operations
Security data has become an integral component of organisations’ operations.
More than ever before, organisations want access to real-time data that provides a deeper look into operations, compliance, device status, threat level and more. Not only that, but they’re looking for more ways to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract the right data, identify patterns and gain intel that can ultimately help them improve processes, increase efficiencies and make more informed business decisions. The use of Big Data is what allows organisations to adapt and stay agile, which could mean the difference between them staying in business and not, especially in today’s environment.
The Transition to Touchless
Health and safety protocols – and the new social distancing norm – has accelerated a long-overdue transition to touchless security solutions. We expect to see a surge in demand for touchless and mobile-first solutions. For many organisations, there’s an eagerness and excitement to get back on-site to collaborate. And while normalcy will look much different in today’s environment, there’s a desire to implement solutions that can help solve two challenges: preventing the spread of germs and creating a faster, more frictionless experience that still provides for safety in the workplace. As a result, touchless and mobile-first solutions – such as touchless doors, mobile credentials or NFC-powered access control, automated screening systems and more – will no doubt gain in popularity even more in 2021.
Increased Demand for Flexible, Scalable and Integrated Solutions
The unpredictability of 2020 has driven increased demand for flexible, scalable and integrated solutions that allow organisations to quickly adapt to new changes. As security solutions become central to organisations’ health and safety strategies, integration capabilities are proving to be even more important than in the past. Gone are the days of standalone security systems.
Additionally, convenience and speed of deployment have become critical – especially as organisations navigate rapidly shifting requirements.
There’s no doubt, 2020 has been a year of fundamental change impacting the lives of people around the world. Businesses and organisations have had to adapt to the ‘new norm’, that seems anything but normal. Protecting your organisation’s people and assets is all the more important as we advance into 2021 and leveraging security to assist in this has become a positive investment for many.