Genetec has released results of a state of the industry report based on insights from over 1000 physical security leaders that looks at how the physical security industry is reacting to the threat of COVID-19, how security professionals are coping, and how day-to-day operations and plans are affected for the coming year.

The survey reveals that COVID-19 has led to a focus on security efforts to ensure the safety of people and facilities. For the majority of security professionals, the top three challenges during the pandemic are: managing employee/visitor safety; dealing with physical security threats (vandalism, theft, break-ins, etc.); and the remote management and securing of buildings.

While the pandemic has brought on numerous new challenges, the vast majority of organizations have had to face them creatively. The survey showed that 68 per cent of respondents reported project delays/downsizing or cancellations this year, however, looking into 2021, 48 per cent expect budgets to stay flat or increase with a focus on ongoing investment in existing systems and deployment of tools to support ongoing response to the pandemic.

With pressing new requirements and more limited resources, physical security organizations are stressed but finding ways to pivot to address extraordinary circumstances. Using resourcefulness and creativity, many security professionals (48 per cent) are looking to existing systems to help them face these new challenges.

“The security industry excels at planning for the unexpected, and while the pandemic took the world by surprise, our industry has shown extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness. We have seen so many of our customers and partners quickly adapt to the new needs and challenges posed by the situation. They’ve been able to repurpose and adapt their existing security infrastructure to meet some of the new challenges created by the pandemic,” said Pervez Siddiqui, vice president of business development at Genetec.

Physical Security Behind Cloud

While 37 per cent of respondents said they were evaluating new technologies, the adoption of cloud-technology continues to be slow in the physical security industry. In stark contrast with the accelerated adoption of cloud-based solutions observed in other sectors in 2020, more than 61 per cent of security professionals reported that they had no cloud plans, often citing concerns over cost and data security, and 74 per cent indicated only a small portion of their environments (less than 25 per cent) was or would become cloud or hybrid cloud.

“The move to a predominantly remote workforce was made a lot easier for organizations that had already invested in cloud-based technologies, yet very few companies had already started that transition,” said Christian Morin, vice president of cloud services and CSO at Genetec. “As companies continue to re-evaluate how they get the work done, modern cloud-based solutions should be at the top of their list.”

Cyberattack Risks Remain

In spite of cybercrime continuing to increase, and remote work creating more technology challenges, the physical security industry remains behind in its approach to addressing cyber threats. The survey reveals that only 35 per cent of respondents took steps to improve their cybersecurity strategy as a result of the pandemic.

“This new reality has underscored the fact that the network perimeter is truly dead with the bulk of the workforce working remotely. This forces many organizations to rapidly rethink and evolve their cybersecurity strategies,” said Morin.

* Genetec Inc. surveyed physical security professionals between September 21 and October 13, 2020. 1,074 respondents were included in the sample for analysis. Survey samples were run across all regions including North America, Central America, Caribbean, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. To download a full copy of the report, please click here.

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