As security leaders review their programs and look for ways to improve and respond to modern threats, they can look to their peers to identify emerging security trends and mitigation strategies.

Risk management and physical security professionals share their predictions for where the industry is headed in 2023, covering technology trends, factors influencing risk management, and more.

Risk management

Societal shifts and evidence-based security decision-making, by Jerry Brennan, Chief Executive at SMR Group. 

“The areas that I feel will be a challenge for security risk management going forward are the impact to organizations as a result of growing changes in societal behavioral norms, as well as the lack of due diligence in the production of factual information for which leaders will base strategic decisions. This is not about differing political views, but how people behave and function in the execution of their roles in their organization. Ethics, trust, reliability and respect for diversity, together with intellectual curiosity, are the key cornerstones needed. I would also fully expect to see organizations experience an increase in a wide variety of criminal acts in the areas of theft, fraud, sabotage and intellectual property issues by those who have a strong affinity for domestic extremist groups. It is likely that in many cases there will also be a nexus to non-U.S. entities both public and private.”

Holistic considerations of insider risk, by Michael Gips, Principal at Global Insights in Professional Security (GIPS).

“Organizations will increasingly consider insider risk holistically, to the extent of creating specific insider threat positions and units. Instead of siloing data in HR systems, audit and finance, IT, corporate security, cybersecurity, legal, etc., they will centralize data to better predict, identify and interdict insider attacks ranging from data exfiltration to workplace violence.”

The impact of social unrest on enterprise risk, by Sally Llewellyn, Global Security Director, International SOS.

“The drivers for unrest will be numerous in 2023 and accounting for the impact of social unrest is going to be a key task for businesses in 2023. Mitigation starts with understanding the risk environments in which organizations operate, drivers of unrest and most likely impacts on employees and operations. This can also help businesses to ensure they have the right early warning systems in place, understand the potential triggers and what kind of organizational response is needed to counter any security issues. Education is also key. Employees and decision-makers need to be knowledgeable about risks and steps their organization is taking to mitigate them to keep the workforce safe.”

Business travel will continue to recover in 2023, by Lee Whiteing, Commercial Director at Global Secure Accreditation.

“Despite an uncertain economy, the expectation is that business travel will recover significantly in 2023, but it is also reasonable to assume it might never reach its previous levels. Corporations — forced to cope without travel for so long — will be more discerning when weighing up the value in a business journey. Corporate events and exhibitions have bounced back strongly, demonstrating a hunger from the business community to meet in person. I expect 2023 will see increased travel but with an emphasis on delivering real value from budgets.”


Drones as security tools, by Michael Gips, Principal at Global Insights in Professional Security (GIPS).

“Despite some bumps in the road (or in the air), organizations will continue adding unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to their security arsenals. Uses will include preliminary entry screening, identity verification, perimeter protection, counterespionage, site surveys, and crowd management. Hiccups will invariably occur, including regulatory violations, concerns about privacy, and equipment malfunctions. But these pitfalls won't halt the long-term trend.”

Securing workplaces as employees return to the office, by Mike Lahiff, CEO of ZeroEyes. 

“In 2023, I think we will see more companies investing in multi-layered security solutions to keep their employees safe. Slowly but surely, U.S. workers are returning to the office, and employers want to make sure they feel safe, especially since 30% of mass shootings happen at the workplace. In a survey of over 2,000 workers across various industries, 47% said they are more motivated to stay with an employer that genuinely cares for their safety — the top reason following competitive compensation. There is also a heightened risk of workplace violence when the economy is troubled, and companies are forced to cut their workforce.”

Technologies on the horizon, by Keith Oringer, Founder and President at Security ProAdvisors.

“On the physical side, given higher crime rates of the past few years, demand for security will unquestionably continue to increase. Cybersecurity also will remain of central importance, with greater demand for robots, remote video monitoring, access control, and alarm sensors that incorporate artificial intelligence and analytics.”

AI & robot adoption in security patrol settings, by Erik Schluntz, Co-Founder and CTO of Cobalt Robotics.

"In 2023, we'll see security robots scale up to much wider adoption, as cultural acceptance of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) increases dramatically. Everyone recognizes the importance of robots in the face of the current labor shortage, and broader trends like the popularity of AI-generated art and chatGPT are making people comfortable with AI in their everyday lives."

Counterdrone measures become necessary at outdoor events, by Mary-Lou Smulders, CMO at Dedrone.

“Drone incursions are a reality in major sports events and other open-air venues (including the NFL this season). These incursions are disruptive and have the potential to halt play, but they are yet to cause any real physical harm. We can expect the leagues and organizations to push even harder for legislation enabling use of more advanced technologies and mitigation capabilities next year. Equally important, the NFL, MLB, NCAA and NASCAR will be investing to harden their airspace security as allowed under current laws to ensure safety of players and fans.”

Security industry & leadership

Frontline security professional shortage, by Fred Burton, Executive Director at the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence. 

“There will be a substantial shortage of physical security and public safety professionals — the ‘foot soldiers’ that protect others in both the public and private sectors — leaving organizations to fill the gaps. Demand for these professionals will grow due to increasingly violent incidents, but a decline in interest in the profession will cause a serious hiring gap. Organizations must be prepared to fill the gap, both by paying higher prices for trained and qualified protection professionals, while also shifting their paradigm to address the threat using protective intelligence. Hiring of protective intelligence analysts with criminal analysis expertise, greater use of technology and early threat warning data, and deployment of plainclothes security professionals who proactively act on that information can fill the void.”

The security industry labor market, by Keith Oringer, Founder and President at Security ProAdvisors. 

“Looking at the bottom line, companies will continue to see an erosion at the gross margin level, as workers take advantage of the tight labor market to demand higher wages. Yet I have no doubt that security and safety firms will nonetheless be attractive to investors because the sector is seen as recession-resilient. But as a result, there will be continued consolidation.”

Read security professionals' predictions for cybersecurity in 2023 here.