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Now, more than ever, physical security is a huge issue for many organizations the world over. It’s not just in the United States, where we regularly see active shooter situations, but also internationally, where similar dangerous attacks occur. There’s a real concern when it comes to locking down and protecting a corporate campus from would-be attackers.
Unfortunately, physical security measures, strategies and tools are behind the curve — even more so in comparison to the digital technologies we have available. Many businesses are actively focused on a digital transformation, and for good reason. However, they should be just as worried about upgrading their physical security.
Imagine an intruder detection system that uses a variety of elements like facial recognition, AI scanning and advanced analytics to detect an unauthorized and potentially dangerous individual on campus.
That system could alert the appropriate security teams, ping first responders and clue them in, and also send out companywide notices to everyone on campus. Not only would this mitigate the damage done by an attacker, but it would also restrict their access considerably.
Something like this is not merely theoretical, either. Mike Howard, the former CSO of Microsoft, took to the stage at the third annual Converged Security Summit to discuss a system being developed that’s almost exactly as described above.
As part of a process that’s still actively in development, Howard described a virtual security operations center, or VSOC. It’s a comprehensive system or single-view platform that can provide security operators with a detailed and real-time view of what’s happening on a property. It can detect threats, send alerts, and help prepare the team and company personnel for potential attacks.
It’s a great example of what the physical security field needs, particularly when it comes to dealing with evolving threats in the current landscape.
It’s time for physical security to converge with digital platforms
When preparing an action plan and coming up with ways to deal with potential events, one of the first things any company must do is conduct a threat assessment. It deals specifically with understanding how and where attacks might come from, and what can be done to prevent or mitigate damage.
Is a business’s primary location a single building or facility, or is it stretched across a larger property? Do current surveillance systems cover every inch of the area, or are there blind spots? What access points are easy to breach and where is security lacking?
Consulting a professional and experienced security firm is the best way to go about handling a risk assessment. However, it’s the aftermath and resulting decisions that influence whether or not an organization and its campus are truly vulnerable.
Even with all holes and vulnerabilities patched up, a company is constantly evolving. It means fresh opportunities are always being presented, and new access points are always cropping up. That’s where digital solutions come into play. They can consistently monitor a property and all resulting data — essentially making sure security crews are always prepared and in-the-know.
A true unification of physical and cybersecurity is not only called for, but it’s also necessary for developing the kind of threat detection and reaction systems discussed here.
In a recent survey involving 200 senior physical security leaders from various industries, 83 percent anticipate spending on big data and analytics investments. Another 58 percent will spend on cloud computing and storage, and 56 percent will spend on advanced identification.
In other words, many organizations are gearing up to harness and utilize the power of data and digital technologies to bolster their physical security levels.
What does this mean for physical security?
The physical and conventional security fields are going to see a huge push toward advanced and data-centric technologies, including AI and automation. It is what can be effectively called the digital transformation of security.
Security isn’t just about protecting hardware, property and personnel from external threats. It’s about keeping business assets safe from all possible angles, including internal. Employee theft, for instance, is a huge concern for many businesses and causes significant losses.
A digital transformation is about making sure all aspects of a system or platform are on the same page. Regarding physical security, it means coming up with solutions that can actively deal with outside and internal threats simultaneously. An automated surveillance system that can detect dangerous intruders might also be able to see that an employee is up to no good, as well.
Once again, for such a thing to happen — or even become possible — all disparate systems must be synchronized and seamlessly connected. Surveillance systems must work with data reporting tools, and AI must vet and monitor all existing solutions. Proper notification functions should send the necessary alerts to security and company personnel.
It will take some time to reach the point where corporate security solutions are actively synced up, but that’s what the digital transformation is all about. We’ll get there, and that’s what matters.
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