When asked about what the market should be thinking about in 2018, I am left offering an answer that serves as an urgent call to action: prepare yourself for change! The security industry is soon likely to see a dramatic shift from the traditional segmentation of commercial and residential security. Smart phones, mobile technologies, cloud computing, and having everything provided ‘as a service’ in peoples’ lives means users of buildings have a new set of expectations.

In many ways, the coming crosspollination of residential and commercial security offerings means we will have a better idea of best practices. The convenience of residential spaces will combine with the robust security of commercial facilities, for example.

But this also means a higher level of demand will be placed on security integrators, facility managers and owners. Operations groups may need to change drastically to offer new technologies. Security as a service is likely to become more common. And new technologies are emerging that will facilitate this change and require new skillsets and expertise.

So, what the market should be thinking about right now is: how do we all, collectively, keep up?

More critical is finding ways to offer or utilise new technologies and total solutions that make operations easier

Ensuring security preparedness

As it stands now, in terms of physical security for doors and openings, we are currently in a world where we can secure almost anything. Be it hospital, school, file cabinet, server rack, grain silo or barn that is off the electrical grid, we have a solution for that. So being hyper-aware of your industry, its offerings, and how the products work together is important, as it means every location that needs security can have security.

But perhaps more critical is finding ways to offer or utilise new technologies and total solutions that make operations easier, moving security components deeper into a building, facility or campus, and building and leveraging on partnerships where everyone is invested in the other’s success. Here are a few suggestions for addressing these issues.

Training in new security solutions

Perhaps the biggest change in the near term will be emerging technologies that will alter how we currently use security solutions. Be it cloud-based security, intelligent keys, new types of credentials, or simply a better software for management, the need to be well-versed on these offerings is key.

To this end, it is important to not only know what offerings exist in the security world, but also be well-trained on them. Seek out a manufacturer that is willing to offer training and education on products, strategies and solutions.

For some businesses, keeping server racks or file cabinets secure can be critical
While it is important to secure server rooms at the point of entry, it might also make sense to provide a cabinet lock with audit capabilities on the rack or cabinet itself

Identifying an end goal

Further, approach the integration and implementation of these technologies with a collaborative mindset. For dealers and integrators this means utilising new technologies to better secure a facility for a client. As a building owner or manager, it means making tenant and occupant life better while streamlining your own operations.

The ultimate goal of any new technology is to meet customer needs in the very best possible way. And that goal should trickle down from manufacturer to integrator to the facility manager and ultimately the end user. Don’t just implement technology for the sake of doing so. Do it with purpose by identifying an end goal and utilising these amazing solutions to achieve that.

Identifying an end goal also means seeking out the core requirements a building has to provide users with the expected level of security and service. This is obviously dependent on the building, and it doesn’t always mean physically moving into a building, but rather looking at ways to move further into the operations of a business.

Securing access to buildings

Government facilities are undergoing a transition to security requirements dictated by the FICAM programme

For some businesses, keeping server racks or file cabinets secure can be critical. And while it is important to secure these rooms at the point of entry, it might also make sense to provide a cabinet lock with audit capabilities on the rack or cabinet itself.

New opportunities also fall into this category. Government facilities are currently undergoing a transition to security requirements dictated by the Federal Government’s Identity, Credential, and Access Management (FICAM) programme.

FICAM sets standards for implementation of secure access to all government facilities and mandates the use of FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) for federal employees and contractors. This means that PIV enabled access points will be required on the perimeters, interiors and other openings.

Finding ways to retrofit these affordably, efficiently and effectively means offering more secure openings on what is likely to be a tight budget.

This can also apply to offsite facilities. Earlier I mentioned barns and grain silos – locations that are often left off electrical grids but can come with the need for auditing capabilities – and a solution exists for that. So, while a corporate headquarters might be under robust lock and key, it is always good to ask about other locations that could use a simple security upgrade.

FICAM sets standards for implementation of secure access to all government facilities
Personal Identity Verification-enabled access points will be required on the perimeters, interiors and other openings

Establishing security partnerships

Again, the best way to achieve readiness with this approach is to be aware of the market and its offerings, and to engage in collaborative partnerships. Collaborative partnerships are critical for everyone who is tasked with protecting the people and places that matter most. Manufacturers rely on the integrators and building supervisors to understand the new and developing needs in the industry.

Integrators then must rely on manufacturers to provide these solutions, offer education and training, and be in constant contact about the newest technologies available.

Collaborative partnerships are critical for everyone who is tasked with protecting the people and places that matter mostAnd building owners or managers must both be aware of their tenant and end user needs and demands – be it for new technologies or even seeking out sustainability solutions. In turn, they need to know they can rely on a collaborative approach from an integrator and manufacturer who is invested in their success.

Industry collaboration for a secure future

Again, the biggest thing we must all need to consider now is how to prepare for the future. Treading water is simply not enough in the security market anymore. New technologies and performance expectations are forcing us to consider ways to better serve our clients – whether we are a manufacturer, integrator or in charge of facilities.

And the best way to do this is together. We are all invested in the success of one another, and in the people who use the places we strive to keep safe. By seeking out, developing, and cultivating these partnerships in collaboration and innovation, we are able to help one another prepare for the future that is becoming more complex, intriguing and exciting every day.

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Chris Hobbs Director, Enterprise Partner Business Development, ASSA ABLOY Door Solutions

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Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

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Security technology and AI: A powerful duo in the fight against COVID-19
Security technology and AI: A powerful duo in the fight against COVID-19

A person infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infects an average of 2.5 other people within five days. You do not need to be a mathematician to realise that early detection of infected people is key to successful pandemic containment. The aim of effective containment strategies is therefore not so much to reduce the number of absolute cases as it is to extend the time frame within which they occur. Without effective containment measures, the virus spreads rapidly and is beyond the capacity of the health care system. However, if infection rates can be minimised through early detection and rapid, targeted identification of further infections, cases will continue to occur over a longer period of time and remain within the capacity of the health care system. Identifying, testing and results For example, the goal of many countries is to carry out as many Corona tests as possible to quickly identify infected people. 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Emergency response and notification systems: Crucial for improving hospital security
Emergency response and notification systems: Crucial for improving hospital security

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White, president/CEO of Protection Management, a consultant who works with hospitals to address their security needs. During the Ebola scare in 2014, however, hospitals had to re-examine their plans to ensure they were prepared to meet the challenges specific to rare and deadly disease. “Hospitals are prepared for most things, but Ebola seemed to have caught the whole world off guard, so people responded in different ways,” says White, who previously was security director of two multi-campus medical facilities before becoming a consultant. Hospital security Hospitals made adjustments to their emergency programs to determine how best to handle Ebola patients" He adds, “Hospitals made adjustments to their emergency programs to determine how best to handle Ebola patients and to protect other patients and staff. It was a new threat that healthcare organisations had not specifically addressed.” A particular concern was the possibility of an infected person walking into an emergency room and infecting other people and/or requiring facility decontamination. One role the hospital security department plays in such an emergency is to control access to the facility and to control visitors’ movements once they are inside the facility, says White. If the Ebola scare had progressed to the point that a hospital would need to screen patients, security would be positioned at the front entrance to help with that screening and, if necessary, to direct patients to a specific area for quarantine. Protective equipment Security might also need to wear protective equipment to handle a patient who is resistant to treatment, for example. There are often interactions between security personnel and the general public, a scenario that becomes more complicated if Ebola or a similar infection is likely. In general, security would be tasked with maintaining order and keeping people where they need to be, freeing up the medical professionals to do their jobs more efficiently, says White. To prepare for the impact of the Ebola scare, hospitals addressed various training and equipment needs and adjusted their disaster/emergency response plans. Read parts two and three of our heathcare mini series here and here.