From mitigating risk to mission critical — how physical security has evolved

Genetec Australia Pty Ltd
By George Moawad, General Manager ANZ at Genetec
Monday, 02 May, 2022

As we emerge from the pandemic, organisations are contending with significant new undercurrents around changes to the physical dimension of work and a corresponding need to achieve operational resilience through integrated risk management.

In Australia, as organisations try to get back to some variation of business as usual, they face significant hurdles around how best to manage the often-opposing demands for remote working alongside the security risks of the offices that are evolving to become regular workplace hubs. However, that’s not the only issue for physical security professionals to navigate.

According to our recently released State of Physical Security Report, respondents identified cybersecurity vulnerabilities and outdated infrastructure, alongside remote management, as the top three challenges they need to address in order to achieve operational success through 2022.

Let’s look at the findings from Australia in more detail.

Investing to address the growing security challenges

In early 2020 as COVID-19 hit, there was rapid demand for physical security solutions that could enable organisations to manage workplace visitors, handle temperature readings, implement government mandates and improve remote monitoring and maintenance capabilities.

Initially managing employee and visitor safety were the top priorities, but this year’s report found, not surprisingly for Australian organisations, that cybersecurity has now taken over as the number one challenge, while visitor management dropped to fifth position.

One of the key reasons for this shift in focus is the rapid increase in the number of employees working remotely, specifically physical operations staff. More than 25% of physical security options staff are now set up to work remotely, which whilst offering considerable advantages, also unlocks increases in cybercrime potential.

As a result, respondents have re-prioritised budgets, with 36% of respondents increasing their investment in cybersecurity related tools for physical security and 49% planning to invest in video analytics. More than half of the State of Physical Security Report respondents noted they will at least maintain or increase their investment in physical security between 10% and 50%.

Physical security systems are mission critical

Physical security has evolved from years gone by when it was deployed as a reactionary measure to fight crime. Today physical security departments play a mission critical role in addressing new challenges faced by organisations with unified platforms helping unlock value from the data gathered across physical security systems, allowing organisations to proactively address unforeseen events and unfolding challenges.

91% of respondents now report running both video surveillance and access control in their physical security deployments, allowing them to handle visitor management solutions, capacity management and remote access. And as organisations look to strengthen their physical security infrastructure and align it with data and privacy protection policies, they are increasingly looking for unified security systems deployed through cloud-enabled services.

Driving cloud adoption

While most physical security deployments still remain on-premises thanks to cybersecurity concerns, 35% of respondents in our report noted the pandemic had either triggered or accelerated their physical security cloud strategy in the last 12 months.

All signs suggest the trend toward the cloud is set to continue, with 47% of companies who have currently less than half their physical security environment deployed to the cloud, indicating they plan to further deploy their security solution to the cloud.

Moving physical security environments to the cloud or hybrid cloud offers significant benefits including the ability to enable remote monitoring and functionality across video and camera control, recording management, system health maintenance and applying firmware updates and software patches. No matter the installation objective or size, organisations can minimise system maintenance and costs, while enhancing their cyber resilience using cloud solutions, enjoying a shared responsibility for security between the cloud provider and organisation.

By investing in a unified physical security solution, organisations can take a strong step towards adapting to their uncertain future. With benefits including ease of maintenance, enhanced visibility and data collection across systems, improved functionality and operations, physical security solutions can move beyond simply securing people and assets and into a strategic channel to optimise and enhance business operations.

Find out more by reading Genetec’s full report on the State of Physical Security and gain insights from over 2,000 global physical security professionals.

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