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Six disruptive trends that will shape physical security in the next five years

960 640 Stuart O'Brien
Physical security is on the cusp of significant change, driven by a confluence of technological advancements and evolving threats. In the coming five years, several disruptive trends are poised to reshape how physical security is managed, offering both challenges and opportunities for businesses and security professionals. Here are the key trends and their potential impact on the UK’s physical security market, based on input from delegates at the Total Security Summit…

1. The Rise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

One of the most influential trends is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) into security systems. These technologies are transforming traditional security measures into more proactive, intelligent systems. AI and ML enable advanced analytics of surveillance footage, allowing for real-time threat detection and predictive analysis. The introduction of facial recognition technology, despite its regulatory and ethical debates, is set to enhance the capabilities of security operations, particularly in high-risk or densely populated areas. For more on this, see our Loss Prevention article here.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Security Solutions

The proliferation of IoT devices is revolutionising the physical security industry. Smart security solutions, such as connected cameras, sensors, and access controls, are becoming more commonplace. These devices provide a wealth of data that can be analysed to enhance security measures, predict potential breaches, and automate responses. However, the increased connectivity also presents new vulnerabilities and underscores the need for robust cybersecurity measures in physical security systems.

3. The Advent of Autonomous Security Robots and Drones

Emerging technologies like security robots and drones are beginning to find their place in the physical security market. Over the next five years, these technologies are expected to become more sophisticated and widespread. Drones, for example, can offer aerial surveillance that is not feasible with stationary cameras, while autonomous robots can patrol areas, providing a physical deterrent to criminal activities.

4. Increased Focus on Integrated Security Solutions

There is a growing trend towards integrated security solutions that combine physical security with cybersecurity. With the increasing convergence of physical and digital threats, an integrated approach is becoming essential. This trend is driving the development of comprehensive security platforms that seamlessly combine surveillance, access control, cybersecurity, and other security components.

5. Sustainability in Security Practices

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a consideration in physical security solutions. The next five years will likely see a greater focus on energy-efficient security systems, sustainable practices in security operations, and eco-friendly technologies. This shift not only aligns with broader environmental objectives but also caters to the growing demand for green practices in business operations.

6. The Impact of Remote Working and Flexible Workspaces

The shift towards remote working and the growing popularity of flexible workspaces are changing the dynamics of physical security. With fewer employees on-premises, there is a need for adaptive security strategies that cater to fluctuating occupancy levels. This trend will likely influence the demand for scalable and flexible security solutions that can be adjusted based on real-time needs.

The physical security market in the UK is set to undergo significant transformations in the next five years. Driven by technological innovations and changing threat landscapes, these disruptive trends will redefine the ways in which physical security is approached. Businesses and security professionals must stay abreast of these developments to ensure effective, modern, and sustainable security solutions in the face of evolving challenges.

Photo by Tuesday Temptation on Unsplash

Predicting the future evolution of physical security

960 639 Stuart O'Brien

The physical security market is undergoing a rapid transformation, driven by advancements in technology and the growing need for robust security solutions. As we look ahead, it becomes evident that the future of physical security will be shaped by emerging trends and innovations. This article explores the likely evolution of the physical security market and the key factors that will drive its growth…

  1. Convergence of Physical and Cybersecurity

One of the most significant shifts we can expect in the future is the convergence of physical and cybersecurity. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, the boundaries between physical and digital security are blurring. Integrated security systems that combine physical surveillance, access control, and cybersecurity measures will become the norm. This convergence will enable more comprehensive and holistic security solutions that address both physical and digital threats.

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will continue to play a pivotal role in the evolution of physical security. AI-powered analytics will enhance surveillance systems, enabling real-time threat detection and predictive analysis. Machine Learning algorithms will improve accuracy in facial recognition, object detection, and anomaly detection. AI-driven automation will streamline security operations, freeing up human resources for more strategic tasks.

  1. Advanced Biometric Solutions

Biometric solutions, such as fingerprint recognition and facial recognition, will witness significant advancements in the future. Improved accuracy, faster processing speeds, and better anti-spoofing techniques will make biometrics more secure and reliable. Biometric authentication will become more prevalent in access control systems, replacing traditional methods like access cards and passwords.

  1. Cloud-Based Security Systems

Cloud technology will continue to revolutionize the physical security market. Cloud-based security systems offer scalability, flexibility, and centralised management. They enable real-time monitoring, data storage, and remote access to security systems from anywhere, enhancing operational efficiency. Cloud-based solutions will also facilitate seamless integration with other technologies, such as IoT devices and data analytics platforms.

  1. Data Analytics and Predictive Insights

The future of physical security lies in harnessing the power of data analytics and predictive insights. Advanced analytics platforms will process vast amounts of data collected from various security systems, enabling proactive threat assessment and preventive actions. Predictive analytics will help identify patterns, detect anomalies, and predict potential security breaches. This proactive approach will enable organisations to stay one step ahead of threats and mitigate risks effectively.

  1. Enhanced User Experience and Integration

User experience and ease of integration will be crucial factors in the future evolution of physical security. User-friendly interfaces, mobile applications, and intuitive dashboards will empower users to manage and monitor security systems with ease. Seamless integration between different security technologies and third-party systems will enable a more comprehensive security ecosystem, fostering interoperability and maximising the effectiveness of security measures.

The future of the physical security market is poised to be transformative, with technology at its core. Convergence of physical and cybersecurity, AI-driven solutions, advanced biometrics, cloud-based systems, data analytics, and enhanced user experience will drive the evolution of physical security.

Organisations will need to embrace these emerging trends to adapt to evolving threats and safeguard their assets effectively. By embracing innovation, leveraging advanced technologies, and staying ahead of the curve, the future of physical security promises a safer and more secure environment for all.

All these trends and more will be explored at October’s Total Security Summit.

Top 10 Cyber Security Predictions for 2021

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Looking forward to 2021, Fujitsu expects challenges to persist as organisations look to ensure their remote workforces’ security and productivity. It also expects a reset in the attitudes towards risk as organisations grapple with the dilemma of tackling new challenges with lower security budgets and anticipate the increased use of new technologies to open new security vulnerabilities.

The next 12 months will undoubtedly have its challenges. Still, organisations that are aware of these risks and take steps to mitigate their impact will be well-positioned to secure future growth in what is likely to be another interesting year.

Fujitsu’s Head of Enterprise and Cyber Security, Fiona Boyd’s top 10 cyber security predictions:

1)     Working from home has increased the attack surface

The proliferation of working from home has forced many organisations to expedite their digital strategies.

Employees have been forced to change their working habits and patterns, as many people are now working from home. This increases the so-called attack surface for any company – mainly if employees use personal devices to connect to corporate resources, since these may not have an enterprise-class level of protection. Spear-phishing emails, in particular, increase the threat to organisations. These often follow traditional attack profiles in terms of initial reconnaissance via social media before any attempt is made to compromise a user’s credentials. The end state is a crafted, targeted email. Increasingly, these emails appear to be more credible.

As home working looks set to continue, organisations should make sure employees are educated and alert for phishing emails.

2)     Success requires finding the right balance between security and user experience

The global pandemic has changed user behaviour in terms of how we are communicating, working, consuming, and spending our free time. This creates new requirements for the services we use. One common theme to all these changes and new demands is that all require our digital identities.

The sophistication of how organisations use, manage, and protect identities has not yet reached the so-called new normal. For many, this means that security controls surrounding identities still have a negative impact on user experience. Users find security to be complicated, cumbersome, and time-consuming. Consequently, frustration often results in users abandoning a service or bypassing security controls. The winners in the new normal will be those able to adapt to these new requirements and provide a strong user experience in a secure and trusted way.

3)     Risk appetites must be re-evaluated

Many security teams will enter 2021 with reduced budgets due to the impact of COVID-19.

This will require careful evaluation of spending priorities and will necessitate hard choices about which investments to cut. This will mean firms cannot evolve their security posture in line with changing security threats. Consequently, they will have to accept a higher risk that complex attacks will be successful and go undetected for longer.

4)     New life for ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks are set to grow in scale and sophistication throughout the next year.

We are already seeing increasing numbers of attacks on previously untapped market sectors, such as healthcare. The nature of the damage of a ransomware attack is also changing. We see an increase in extortion in terms of the number of attackers threatening to release stolen data into the public domain (also known as Doxxing) rather than simply locking it away.

To compound these issues, we expect to see greater use of AI technology in ransomware attacks, as attackers seek to launch increasingly sophisticated, coordinated attacks to evade today’s detection measures. AI will be part of the problem. It also offers part of the solution, as it continues to develop greater capabilities to detect and flag suspicious behaviour.

5)     The age of disinformation attacks

The pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone and disrupted our social and work lives.

There has been one constant throughout: cybercriminals leveraging current topical themes, such as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, elections and COVID-19. At their core, criminals are launching social engineering attacks designed to take advantage – and even create – panic and fear. In 2021, we will see new themes used to target businesses and individuals, focusing on pandemic-related topics such as mandatory vaccines, health passports, mass testing, and lockdowns. We anticipate a lot of disinformation on these topics. With the desire of many to return to post-pandemic normality, we expect multi-vector attacks built on these themes from both criminal gangs and nation-states. Some countries are already testing the use of machine learning to defend against disinformation campaigns.

6)     Security compromised while privacy preserved

DNS over HTTPS is set to become a common attack vector.

This has become a standard feature of mainstream web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Effectively, this means security controls cannot analyse website requests. On the surface, this is a viable development in terms of user privacy. However, many cyber security attacks rely on access to an external website to retrieve malicious files as part of a multi-stage attack. DNS over HTTPS encrypts these requests, meaning that these requests are masked from security controls, and giving an attacker the upper hand before cyber defenders can react and respond.

Organisations should carefully evaluate whether to enable this feature on corporate devices and consider the new office dynamic, with an increasing number of workers connecting from home on personal devices to corporate infrastructure and services, increasing the opportunity for this attack type.

7)     5G will rapidly open more potential vulnerabilities

As 5G technology matures and telcos continue to roll out 5G networks, security concerns will also increase.

Among others, these will stem from an endless stream of insecure IoT devices that manufacturers are rushing to market, as well as the security requirements of critical national infrastructures. 5G security is and will remain a national security concern. It will increase enterprises’ need to revisit their security strategy for using public and untrusted mobile networks.

Organisations cannot ignore the opportunities that 5G provides. Nevertheless, to ensure their safety, they should adopt a secure-by-design mindset when exploring how to use 5G networks best.

8)     Security concerns for the Internet of Behaviours

As we develop new remote ways of going about our everyday business during the pandemic, the world is now connected more than ever.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has driven innovation in every area of life, including connected homes, internet-enabled and autonomous cars, health monitoring via smartwatches, and even the testing of drones to deliver our online shopping. However, the IoT exploded without a robust security framework. The proliferation of attacks meant that the privacy of CCTV cameras and some other IoT devices was compromised in huge DDoS attacks. 5G will accelerate the potential for the use of connected devices to track individuals’ everyday behaviour, observe where we go, who we see, where we shop, what we buy – and even to use facial recognition to work out our identity. 

This innovation must be coupled with robust data privacy controls, which should be evaluated up front rather than as an afterthought, so we can trust that the same data is not used nefariously and targeted by threat actors.

9)     Hitting where it hurts

Attacks that target characteristics specific to certain industries will continue to present more significant opportunities.

The number of attacks on connected cars has risen sharply in the last year, while in the manufacturing and utility sector, Operational Technology (OT) systems have seen a quadruple figure percentage increase in attacks. The targeting of these technologies is growing because they have less mature security controls. Many can directly impact an organisation’s operations. We expect this trend to continue in 2021.

On the positive side, we expect more organisations to recognise the value of cloud computing as a reliable means to deliver OT security to locations where it is not practical or feasible for a physical deployment.

10)  Cloud-centric does not equal threat free

Multi-layered cloud protection will take on new importance in 2021.

As organisations move toward a cloud-centric future, there will be continued disruption attempts for monetary, intellectual property, or political gain. In the first half of 2019, Netscout reported 4.8 million DDOS attacks. Ransomware attacks were also up 50% in Q3, according to data from Check Point. Such attacks can cripple businesses in very short timeframes, and the financial impact has seen companies willing to pay a ransom for their data or bring their services back online.

This trend is a cause for concern, and multi-layered cloud protection should be a focus area for many businesses in 2021 as they balance digitalisation and security.

Are these the key physical security trends for 2021?

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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

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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%.