By Greg Schreiber
Physical security retrofit is not as simple as it used to be. With today’s health compliance mandates and growing social upheaval, physical security upgrades must transcend previous technologies which only focused on minimizing organizational risks in corporate office buildings.
In 2020, the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence surveyed 300 chief security officers (CSOs), chief legal officers (CLOs), chief compliance officers (CCOs), and physical security decision-makers at companies with more than 5000 employees in the U.S. and found most enterprise companies have a pressing need for physical security modernization, which requires increased spending on technology solutions. While the report stated what security professionals have known for years, corporate physical security still lacks to invest and adopt modern tools and technologies, especially in comparison to cybersecurity, regarding it as a cost with little revenue potential for the bottom line return on investment (ROI).
Accelerated by the pandemic and social discontent, the scenario has shifted, according to the Ontic Center’s “2021 State of Protective Intelligence Report: A Mandate for Proactive Protective Intelligence in the Era of Exponential Physical Security Threats.” The report states, “Corporate leaders face greater ﬁduciary scrutiny and personal liability for business continuity, coupled with a growing recognition their organizations are increasingly targets they must protect from harm. A proactive, always-on, data and intelligence-driven function powered by universal, accessible technology has never been more important for corporations, and a physical security digital transformation movement is underway.”
The report also adds, “Companies are experiencing a dramatic increase in physical threat activity as compared to last year, and that physical threat activity has also dramatically increased compared to the beginning of 2020. This rapid change and expansion of the physical threat landscape has created an exponential increase in data and pre-incident indicators that have become unmanageable.” Armed with these facts, 80 percent of the surveyed C-level security executives expected their company’s physical security operating budget to increase.
Evolving threats are the key motivator
The sudden enhanced desire for security upgrades and total retrofits has not been put into action yet because of concerns related to outdated technology solutions. Still, there is a higher awareness, organizational responsibility, and a renewed commitment to the “duty of care” to protect, not only people, but anything of critical importance, including digital information, and being able to respond appropriately and promptly to lockdowns, intrusions, forensic information, and any unforeseen responses.
The main motivator for security upgrades remains the evolving threat landscape. Since business operations changed because of the pandemic, the drivers which were once ample for a secure and safe facility are no longer sufficient. The pandemic increased the demand for security entrances, as organizations now seek better means to control the flow of traffic into their facilities, especially with flexible work schedules where employees work at different hours. The type of security entrance deployed varies based on whether the entrance is manned by a security personnel some or all the time, or completely unsupervised. Different categories of security entrances are available to cater to the specific needs of each entry/egress location within a facility.