While cyber security issues may have grabbed the headlines through 2021, physical security remains a priority and will gain increasing importance into 2022 as businesses continue to reopen following the pandemic.
Put simply, more people accessing a building means greater risk – either from unauthorized access or human error. With many businesses adopting a hybrid working model where some employees are permanently office-based and some visit occasionally, it can be difficult to impose company-wide access policies.
That means physical security measures must be more adaptable to ensure a strong security posture while maintaining convenient access for all employees.
Looking back at some of the significant developments in 2021, it’s clear that cloud-based physical security will continue to grow in importance, particularly when used in conjunction with increased automation and adoption of management technologies.
Managing Access to Buildings
Cloud-based access systems will provide a more flexible approach to managing employee or visitor access to buildings or related areas such as car parks.
For example, security teams can provide visitors and home-based employees with temporary guest access to a building remotely without having to register at reception. By sending mobile phone based credentials, security teams can enable visitors to check in quickly and easily.
Office-based employees accessing a building regularly through a key card door lock system can use a variety of devices to present their credentials, such as smartphones, electronic key cards and key fobs, biometric techniques and Internet-enabled wearable devices such as watches. Data from the devices is managed in the cloud to grant access and maintain records for control and compliance.
Managing Internal Access
It will be important to maintain the same level and balance of convenience and security when employees and visitors are moving around the building. The same range of access techniques will be important as people move from floor to floor or enter areas such as meeting rooms, rest rooms or elevators.
By managing access to different areas of the building, physical security systems will also provide valuable data on facilities usage. This data will help companies manage their facilities more efficiently and make decisions about scaling facilities up or down as offices reopen and numbers of employees permanently on site vary.
Security cameras will remain important for managing movement around the building. This is essential for safety as well as security. While the virus remains in circulation, it will be essential to maintain a degree of social distancing and minimize the risk of overcrowding in areas such as lobbies or corridors. Security cameras can manage numbers in high-priority spaces and alert security teams to respond by closing areas or setting up diversions to alternative routes.
Adopting cloud-based access systems will continue to simplify physical security management. Cloud-based systems require no physical server infrastructure on site and can be managed from any location with an Internet connection.
Since physical security breaches can occur at any time, management is a 24×7 operation. With cloud-based systems, security teams no longer have to be on site to manage systems or respond to incidents. That makes it easier to maintain operations while giving security staff the option of flexible or hybrid working.
Businesses can also opt for managed security services, where a security specialist handles management in the cloud. Local security teams can access data and receive alerts through an Internet portal enabling them to focus on response, rather than monitoring.
Updating and Automation
Although cloud-based physical security systems will make both access and management simpler and more convenient, they also open opportunities to new and emerging forms of attack.
If hackers and other cyber criminals can gain access to cloud physical security systems remotely, they can compromise the systems and carry out other forms of attack. That makes it essential to adopt cloud-based solutions that include automated updates and alerts to protect against the latest vulnerabilities.
It will also be important to keep security credentials up to date to minimize vulnerability. With increasing adoption of hybrid working arrangements, this can be difficult. Cloud systems that incorporate higher levels of automation can manage the process and deactivate any out-of-date credentials.
Smarter Management with AI
Artificial intelligence will increasingly be recognized as a key component of optimum security analytics. AI solutions ‘learn’ patterns of behavior and can quickly recognize unusual events that may represent security risks.
By integrating AI tools with management systems, security teams can quickly analyze data and respond to real or potential incidents faster.
Convergence of Physical and Cyber Security
Although teams responsible for physical and cyber security have traditionally operated separately using different processes and technologies, 2022 is set to see greater convergence of the two disciplines.
This will be essential to meet the emergence of blended threats where criminals gain physical access by compromising cloud-based systems and then launch other attacks to steal confidential data or bring down essential systems.
By working together and sharing the latest data, security teams will be able to provide an integrated approach to total security management.
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Thanks to our friends at Openpath Access Control for the insights for this article.