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Are these the key physical security trends for 2021?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Innovative applications of security technology, focus on privacy, growing cybersecurity concerns, hybrid cloud adoption, and increasing scrutiny into vendors are among Genetec’s top five predictions for the physical security industry in 2021…

Innovative security solutions will help businesses thrive post pandemic
While the world remains optimistic for 2021, organizations will need to remain creative about how they use, update, and redeploy their security systems across their facilities. This will allow them to start thinking more broadly about the role of physical security and what it can do beyond traditional applications to deliver more value. We have already seen proof of this resilience and resourcefulness over the last few months with many organizations quickly adapting to the new needs and challenges posed by COVID-19, using their physical security technology as a strategic tool in the fight against the pandemic. In many ways, the extraordinary difficulties brought on by the current situation have put an increased focus on the role and importance of the physical security industry. And once the pandemic is finally in the rear-view mirror, we believe organizations will continue to look at their physical security technology and related data as both strategic and enterprise-shaping.

Businesses will focus on privacy protection
In an effort to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations rushed to implement ‘fever detection’ devices and other new sensors without necessarily having the time to consider privacy implications. Public privacy concerns related to COVID-19 contact tracing and other social challenges will continue to grow. These sensitivities will require the physical security industry to address privacy head-on and find appropriate solutions.

Rather than hindering the development of new technologies, privacy will prove to be a driving force in the pursuit of responsible and innovative design, encouraging forward-thinking, ethical developers to embrace Privacy by Design methodologies. This involves proactively embedding privacy into the design and operation of IT systems, networked infrastructure, and business practices from the first line of code to the third-party vendors selected for partnership and integration. And, in the physical security industry, building a software solution from the ground up with privacy in mind means that organizations won’t have to choose between protecting individual privacy and ensuring their physical security. Privacy should always be the default option rather than the other way round, and security technology developers who take it seriously will gain distinct advantages, notably their customers’ trust.

Cybersecurity risks will continue to rise
While cybersecurity has been an issue for some time, it will unfortunately continue to be a vital concern in 2021. From schools and hospitals to private businesses and governments, there’s been a rise in cyber-attacks over the last year. In Q3 of 2020 alone, Trend Micro reported that there were almost 4 million email threats and over 1 million hits on malicious URLs related to COVID-19. 

Much of this can be linked to the overnight shift to remote work, which left companies scrambling to keep business running while also trying to secure corporate assets. This shift highlighted the fact that the traditional IT perimeter no longer exists. Businesses, organizations, and governments will need to take decisive steps to strengthen their cyber posture, or risk undermining the safety of their intellectual property, sensitive data, and personal information. Choosing trusted vendors and deploying physical security solutions that come with layers of cyber defense is critical. Security teams understand that built-in encryption, multi-factor authentication, and password management are the first lines of defense. Beyond that, taking advantage of other features such as cybersecurity risk scoring, system vulnerability alerts, and automated reminders for firmware and hardware updates are significant advantages in this heightened risk environment. 

Greater focus on trust in the supply chain
Physical security technology has become an integral part of an organization’s IT strategy and is, thankfully, now under the same level of scrutiny as other elements of an organization’s technology stack. Some governments are already discouraging the use of certain products from security manufacturers, citing trust and security vulnerabilities. End users, especially in the enterprise space, are taking more time to scrutinize the manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors with whom they choose to work. This includes asking vendors more pointed questions about how they manage emerging threats, how forthcoming they are about product vulnerabilities and their partner ecosystem, and what their data and privacy policies are. For a physical security solution provider to be considered a reputable, reliable partner to their customers, they are going to have to meet more stringent requirements as part of the procurement process. 

Demand for hybrid cloud solutions will continue to grow
According to Forrester’s recent report, Predictions 2021: Cloud Computing Powers Pandemic Recovery, global public cloud infrastructure will grow 35% to a market value of $120 billion over the next year. As online usage and remote work spiked during the pandemic, a global shift towards digital transformation, already underway, greatly accelerated. 

In order to thrive, physical security professionals will need to follow the lead of IT departments. In the coming year, physical security leaders should let go of the either/or division between cloud and on-premises security systems and embrace a hybrid deployment model in their physical security infrastructure. This will allow them to implement specific systems or applications in the cloud while keeping existing on-premises systems. 

With a hybrid cloud approach, security directors will become more agile in making decisions about how they can enhance scalability, redundancy, and availability to suit their organization’s evolving needs. They will also be able to quickly migrate to newer technologies, minimize hardware footprint, boost cybersecurity, and reduce costs. Cloud offerings need to become an essential option to quickly adapt to changes and ensure business continuity.

Five top technology trends set to impact the security sector in 2020

960 640 Guest Blog

As existing technologies reach maturity and innovations make the leap from consumer applications to business (and vice versa), it’s imperative that we constantly seek to find those that have the potential to add value to our own business and those of our customers. As we look ahead to 2020, Johan Paulsson, CTO, Axis Communications has identified five trends that will have an impact on the physical security industry…

  1. The world on the edge
    We are seeing a growing momentum towards computing at the ‘edge’ of the network[1]. More of the devices that are connected to the network require or would benefit from the ability to analyse received data, make a decision and take appropriate action. Autonomous vehicles are an obvious example. Whether in relation to communications with the external environment or through sensors detecting risks, decisions must be processed in a split second. It is the same with video surveillance. If we are to move towards the proactive rather than reactive, more processing of data and analysis needs to take place within the camera itself.
  2. Processing power in dedicated devices
    Dedicated and optimised hardware and software, designed for the specific application, is essential with the move towards greater levels of edge computing. Connected devices will need increased computing power, and be designed for purpose from the ground up with a security first mindset. The concept of embedded AI in the form of machine and deep learning computation will also be more prevalent moving forwards.
  3. Towards the trusted edge
    Issues around personal privacy will continue to be debated around the world. While technologies such as dynamic anonymization and masking[2] can be used on the edge to protect privacy, attitudes and regulation are inconsistent across regions and countries. The need to navigate the international legal framework will be ongoing for companies in the surveillance sector. Many organizations are still failing to undertake even the most basic firmware upgrades, yet with more processing and analysis of data taking place in the device itself, cybersecurity will become ever more critical.
  4. Regulation: use cases vs technology
    Attitudes towards appropriate use technology cases and the regulations around them differ around the world. Facial recognition might be seen as harmless and even desirable. However, when used for monitoring citizens and social credit systems it is regarded as much more sinister and unwanted. The technology is exactly the same but the case is vastly different. Regulations are struggling to keep pace with advances in technology. It’s a dynamic landscape that the industry will need to navigate, and where business ethics[3]will continue to come under intense scrutiny. 
  5. Network diversity
    As a direct result of some of the regulatory complexities, privacy and cybersecurityconcerns, we’re seeing a move away from the open internet of the past two decades. While public cloud services will remain part of how we transfer, analyse and store data, hybrid and private clouds are growing in use. Openness and data sharing was regarded as being essential for AI and machine learning, yet pre-trained network models can now be tailored for specific applications with a relatively small amount of data. For instance, we’ve been involved in a recent project where a traffic monitoring model trained with only 1,000 photo examples reduced false alarms in accident detection by 95%.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_computing

[2] https://www.axis.com/blog/secure-insights/privacy-security-industry/

[3] https://www.axis.com/en-gb/newsroom/article/ethics-trust-security-value-chain