The security industry is constantly evolving based on the introduction of new technologies and the needs of customers across industries. Even as new technologies and digital solutions transform security operations, the role of security itself is undergoing a shift. Third-party research commissioned by Johnson Controls shows how leaders think about security and what solutions they need today and tomorrow. Of these trends, there are six key shifts that, together, indicate a new security landscape.

From entry to occupancy

Security measures today tend to focus on controlling access, albeit with limitations. Many organizations, for example, know how many people have entered a secure location, but not how many have left. Imagine the power of a holistic view of a building that shows who’s inside, where they are and what they’re doing. In emergencies such as a fire, earthquake or active shooter situation, real-time headcounts with precise locations can save precious time and make a critical difference in an emergency situation.

From buildings to people

It’s no longer enough to secure only physical locations. As more people work from home or other non-company locations, today’s leaders recognize the need to protect the organization and its employees wherever they are. Security teams are increasingly mobile and may not work in the locations they secure, which makes seamless mobile access essential. There’s also a desire to simplify access without sacrificing security. Employees don’t want the hassle of carrying multiple fobs, cards and badges, which can be subject to misuse and create traffic bottlenecks. Businesses are considering solutions such as biometrics and facial recognition that grant access based on who someone is rather than what they’re carrying.

From forensics to prevention

Many companies still invest significant security resources in reacting to incidents rather than proactively mitigating risk. Relying on employee vigilance is at best imperfect and requires constant training, monitoring, auditing and re-educating. While many companies are gathering more data, they struggle to interpret it quickly enough to prevent incidents. Organizations seek easy-access solutions that guide security teams to clear action before an event occurs — for example, algorithms that provide alerts for specific locations or behaviors. 

From cutting-edge to good enough

Cutting-edge technology can be attractive, but impractical. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, some occupants are reluctant to use biometric readers that require touching — and companies are reluctant to launch new technology in lightly occupied facilities. Other solutions are too sensitive, reacting so frequently that alerts become white noise. Instead of cutting-edge, businesses are looking for what’s possible, practical and easy to implement. Leaders want scalable solutions that integrate with what they already have. They want meaningful alerts and analytics that automatically pull useful insights from piles of data. And they want upgrades that make sense as their own businesses evolve.

From stuff to service

New security options can shift the budget focus from buying products to investing in problem-solving services. Infrastructure as a service has grown in appeal in other business areas, as it typically reduces costs and frees organizations to focus on their mission. It’s also a cost-effective way to stay on top of ever-evolving hardware and software — a significant concern for security networks. However, some organizations still prefer to own their equipment, citing potential tax advantages, customization options and privacy concerns. The ideal solution may be a fluid combination of security as a service and DIY security; organizations can pick and choose what is owned and what is a service, moving seamlessly between the two options as conditions warrant. 

From independent to integrated

It’s time to move beyond the compatibility challenges of discrete solutions. Leaders want components that not only play well together, but also inform each other. Security components should integrate easily, regardless of brand, and work smoothly with non-security systems. For example, security cameras in a retail location could be used on the shop floor as learning tools. In addition to supporting fraud prevention strategies, they can offer operational views that drive process improvements, such as indicating when customers are waiting too long at checkout. Shared insights among departments could also increase organizational efficiencies and savings. 

Decision-makers say it’s a challenge to make the case that security investments drive the core business. With data and success stories from similar organizations, however, leaders can show that security is not only about reducing risk, but also about enabling growth.

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.