16 Aug How the pandemic is skyrocketing security tech adoption
The pandemic has accelerated our understanding and adoption of new technologies. And that trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Here’s why security tech adoption is also picking up speed – and what it means for the security world at large.
Tech adoption off the charts
Adoption of tech to solve problems is not new, but according to findings published by McKinsey, Harvard Business Review, KPMG, the OECD and tech giants like IBM, the pandemic has put the pace of digital transformation on steroids.
Experts calculate that adoption of technology has been sped up by several years in a matter of months. The estimates range from “a few years” to as many as ten. But they all agree that businesses accelerated their adoption of technology in response to the challenges brought about by Covid-19 which hit businesses hard, without much warning.
There has been a great deal written about technology focussed on keeping supply chains moving, improving core business processes and automating key customer facing functions. In many cases, those technology improvements have had to be implemented within a matter of weeks. However, similarly exciting trends have been seen in the world of security.
The accelerated convergence of security tech in business
The logical impact of people working from home during the height of the pandemic has been that office buildings, warehouses and other commercial spaces have at times been empty, or have had far fewer people on-site. During this time, business decision makers have turned their attention to security matters.
Torus CEO, Trent Loebel explains …
“We’ve certainly seen over the last couple of years that there has been an acceleration in understanding and actual adoption of technology to solve the security issues. And a lot of that, I think it’s been borne out of the fact that people haven’t been present in workplaces. […] so one of the significant benefits with security technology is that it can be managed remotely. It doesn’t require people to be present to manage security.”
You would be forgiven for thinking that remote working would have led to a reduction in investment in on-premise security. But exactly the opposite has been the case. As Trent elaborates:
“It’s really just bringing forward much of what they were probably already planning to do. And I think, as they become more proactive in doing that, then their eyes are opened to new solutions, better ways of doing things that they may not have been previously aware of.”
The focus on security-tech to solve pandemic-related challenges has led to an acceleration of the pace of convergence. For the team at Torus, this has meant that people are rethinking access control, [add link] with the automation and efficiency which technology can bring coming sharply into focus.
Change has also come to organisations with a heavy people focus
What has surprised many, is that organisations which rely on significant human resource on-the-ground for security, have also rapidly integrated security tech into their way of working.
Mark Hartz is the man responsible for managing security at well over 800 courthouses across the United States of America. His organisation has traditionally relied on core security personnel at each courthouse, and still does. He notes a huge increase in the convergence of physical security with tech such as cameras, alarms and sensors. However, he is clear that this is convergence and not replacement: people will remain key.
“You still need the guards with the guns at the door, who are doing the entry screening. They are the first line of defence. They’re providing the protection that takes place during the day when the courts are occupied.”
He says that people are, and will remain, vital to the way security is delivered throughout the US court system. But it’s now about using the best technology to assist those people to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively as new challenges add to their workload. For him, it’s about supporting his significant workforce with the right security tech.
Security tech convergence in schools, hospitals and other institutions
Around the world, the pandemic forced schools to rethink how they delivered education to thousands of students. Prior to COVID19, it would have been unthinkable that school-level education could be delivered in any way other than face-to-face, in classroom. Within weeks of pandemic lockdowns, schools had transitioned to delivering lessons online, with teachers and students connecting via video for lessons which are usually delivered in person. It also drove schools to look more closely at security technology.
Kevin Coleman is on the senior leadership team at Cumberland County Schools in North Carolina. With 88 schools and over 50,000 students, security has always been a focus. But in recent years, camera technology has been crucial. Giving each Safe School Coordinator access to the right technology has been key.
“So they’re very much the preventative measurement, … they’re constantly viewing our cameras in their building, watching what happens, if they see anything that could potentially be an issue, they’re right on the scene, they’re checking it out. There’s people at the central level that have access to all cameras, for instance, on my computer, I can pull up any camera at any school and see what’s going on. … we also give access to our 911 Centre, which is, you know, our emergency centre.”
Kevin describes the accelerated convergence of technology as now being key to ensuring the safety of students and staff at schools in his district. It also means that schools can rely on support from third party agencies (such as emergency services) and allow access at any time to staff who are working remotely.
Similar transformation has taken place in hospitals, universities, government departments, local and district councils and other institutions. Whilst many functions still need to be delivered in person, many have been transitioned with clever use of technology. The pandemic has in many cases completely upended “business as usual”, which has led to decision makers rethinking core processes. But this has also naturally led them to think deeply about how they deal with security challenges.
Are we ready for the next era of technology?
As security tech adoption continues to flow through all industries and sectors, the benefits of security tech convergence are becoming clear. Decision makers are enjoying increased efficiency, return on investment, improved data flows and in many cases cost-savings. This, in turn, is leading to the question “what next”? Clearly, they want more.
Industry experts such as Siklu’s Anthony Hackett predict that security tech will become smarter, thereby enabling organisations to respond to issues and threats faster. He says that there’s a limit to the amount of inbound data an employee can process. So technology will need to “help”; with clever use of AI, such as pattern recognition across huge amounts of inbound data, some of the hard work can be done by technology, leaving people to be alerted to issues and respond faster.
At Torus, we’re focussed on the possibilities for organisations to use clever tech to automate and manage their security across a wide range of industries. The security tech landscape is changing rapidly. We’re seeing business benefit significantly from security tech convergence, sometimes in ways none of us had fully anticipated. These are exciting times indeed.
This article reflects some of the core topics discussed in Episode 1 of Security TV. Security TV is a new online series which launched recently, focussed on the world of security. There’s never been anything like it before: it promises to become a key resource for those of us thinking about security. Torus is proud to be the premier sponsor of Security TV. You can watch episodes here, or join our mailing list to receive early alerts when the Security TV team releases each new episode.