Physical threats are rising and increasingly unmanageable, putting unprecedented financial, reputational and liability pressures on business leadership and security teams, according to the “2021 State of Protective Intelligence Report: A Mandate for Proactive Protective Intelligence in the Era of Exponential Physical Security Threats,” a new study commissioned by the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence.
As physical security operations budgets are expected to increase in 2021, driven and accelerated by COVID-19, the study showcases the collective perspectives of chief security officers, chief legal officers, chief compliance officers and physical security decisionmakers — on their physical security operations, what keeps them up at night, challenges and opportunities they foresee in 2021, and the pressing need for physical security modernization through technology.
Business continuity is at the heart of physical security concerns and 69% of security, legal, compliance and physical security executives say their leadership would agree it will be impossible for their company to recover financially and reputation-wise were a fatality to occur as a result of missed physical threats. But the reality is, they are already teetering on the brink of inadequately protecting many aspects of their businesses. Seventy-one percent of respondents say in the past year the lack of unified protective intelligence has resulted in missed threats and physical harm to their company’s employees, customers and human assets.
The top physical security concerns for security, legal and compliance executives are keeping employees safe as they work remotely (43%), identifying potential threats to reduce their company’s liabilities (43%), effectively managing the volume of threat data (43%) and identifying threats to save their company money (34%), according to the study.
“This study shows that every business leader should be sounding an alarm and looking to protective intelligence to truly transform their ability to proactively see around corners, to identify, assess and act on threats that can have irreparable human and business costs,” said Fred Burton, Executive Director of the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence. “We are at a critical inflection point, and security leaders should act judiciously, be emboldened to adopt a proactive protective intelligence strategy and help radically transform physical security — and our world — for the better.”
Security leaders responding to the survey say their biggest 2021 physical security challenges are:
- COVID-19 recovery, including managing permanent remote working and safety protocols (38% agree this will be a challenge)
- Data protection and privacy (36%)
- Reduced security headcount due to the economy (35%)
- Physical security threats to remote workers (34%)
- Threat data management (33%)
- Physical security threats to C-suite and company leadership (32%)
- 71% of legal and compliance leaders rank increased potential for financial losses as a top 3 compliance, risk or regulation issue impacting physical security strategy.
- 39% say COVID-19 has caused them to accelerate their timeline for physical security solutions modernization.
- 84% agree their company would be able to better avoid crises if all members of the physical security team could view threat data in a single system-of-record platform.
- 91% of respondents say physical security needs a technology-driven industry standard for actively identifying, investigating, assessing, monitoring and managing physical security threats.