The Impact of COVID-19 on the Security Industry
Whether you fear the Corona-virus or you consider it a hoax or overstated event, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on our world. Most businesses continue to suffer from the lock-down and social distancing measures. Some may flourish. But it is clear that all industries, including the security industry are affected. Besides the economic impact, it is also evident that the pandemic will be of significant influence on actual security-related topics and the consequential propositions from the major vendors. Let’s review some of these recent developments.
Security risk mitigation is all about understanding business continuity risks and the likelihood that these risks actually occur. Pandemics have been talked about for decades. But most of us will not have believed that a worldwide pandemic would actually manifest itself quite like the Corona pandemic. And it is also clear that the consequential damage was greatly underestimated.
Security managers never again will underestimate the chances related to pandemics occurring and the impact that they can have on business continuity.
Social distancing measures quickly resulted in closing down office spaces and people working from home. Remote working has been advocated by many people for decades, but not since this pandemic has it been so widely embraced. It has made clear that IT managers will need to think about remote working functionality and capacity. But also about ways to work remotely in a secure way. Both technical and organisational policies may need some enhancement. Cyber security and physical security must go hand-in-hand.
Agile security management and access control
People expect to be able to perform their job anywhere, anytime. Modern professionals do not expect to be tied to one office, but are willing to work from home and in various office spaces. Enterprises often span offices across multiple countries. Traditional office hours are often no longer acceptable for professionals that see the distinction between their professional and private lives vanish more and more.
The Corona pandemic has made it more clear than ever that access control systems need to be facilitate these new ways of working. Security policies may change overnight. Groups of professionals may need to be accommodated in other locations. Access control systems need to be multi-site and centrally managed to accommodate these scenario’s. This may be an additional argument to consider cloud based security systems like our vendor EasySecure is offering.
To enable social distancing, many offices and other estates have maximized their allowed occupancy rate. To monitor presence and to enforce a maximum occupancy, the security systems will need to be zoned properly and must be able to provide a real-time presence list.
In case of detected infections, it may be needed to trace back the whereabouts of staff and understand how the virus may have spread. Various vendors, like Gallagher and Johnson Controls (CEM Systems), have released software features that help organisations deal with COVID-19 related challenges.
Hygiene has always been a topic when reviewing various identification technologies (like RFID and biometrics). Recently it seems that the Corona pandemic has increased the popularity of mobile access control because of its long range capabilities (BLE) and flexibility.
Other long range identification technologies also may become more relevant to security managers when they plan their modernized access control systems. Please remember that, in order to build modern best-of-breed security systems, it helps to embrace standards like OSDP. It may also be smart to consider that access control not only applies to people, but also to vehicles when they enter the corporate site or parking facility.
Facial recognition and video surveillance with temperature screening
Facial recognition also is an increasingly popular hands-free identification technology. Many security vendors have released facial recognition terminals, devices or software with mask detection and/or temperature screening into their portfolio to answer to market demands: FaceMe, Vanderbilt, Akuvox, Suprema, etc.
Video surveillance vendors like D-Link now offer the ability to screen temperature of mutliple people as part of video surveillance activities.
It seems that the debate about facial recognition and privacy seems a bit less relevant at this point in time. The discussion will however most likely re-emerge when the largest COVID-19 threats are behind us.
Travel risk management
Pandemics by definition spread across our globe. Business travel volume has greatly decreased in the past months, but it is clear that business travel will remain to be an important aspect of our global economy. SecIndGroup.com vendor Safeture is helping us keep track of the local current situation related to COVID-19 in almost all countries. Maybe the pandemic has made us aware that our responsibility for staff health and safety does not only apply to the corporate estate, but also when our values employees are travelling. Travel risk management probably should be a topic for any risk management exercise.
COVID-19 has highlighted that people remain vulnerable creatures. But people also are the the most valuable asset in any organisation. Let’s keep them safe and secure!