In recent years, the way physical infrastructure threat management is approached has undergone a significant shift. With advances in technology and data analytics, organizations are now able to take a more proactive and holistic approach to manage risks to their assets.
Labor and technology, such as remote monitoring and access control systems, play a vital role in physical infrastructure threat management. However, the integration of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling organizations to go beyond reactive measures and identify potential threats before they occur.
In addition, converged security, which involves the integration of various cybersecurity with physical security, is also becoming increasingly popular as a way to enhance the overall effectiveness of physical infrastructure threat management.
This article will explore these trends in more detail and consider the implications for organizations seeking to protect their assets.
Labor and Technology
Labor is an indispensable element of security when it comes to effectively addressing potential threats to physical infrastructure. Without adequate labor, the ability to detect, identify and mitigate these risks is significantly reduced.
Yet, sourcing talented personnel has been a challenge in the physical security industry for some time. According to the Genetec 2022 State of Physical Security Report, 50% of physical security experts indicated that their organizations faced human resources challenges. The specific challenges ranged from staff shortages, hiring difficulties, and low employee morale.
Thinkcurity’s Physical Security report corroborates this, identifying turnover as the most pressing issue for physical security firms. Among the leaders in the field, the most popular means of retaining talented security personnel include continual training, competitive wages, advancement opportunities, and fringe incentives.
In addition, in the past months, physical security leaders have been taking a critical look at their existing technology stack, seeking out solutions that can help them better address the challenges they face in light of labor shortages. Due to the costs of hiring and re-hiring security personnel, many organizations are scaling their adoption of access control systems, robots, incident response software, video surveillance systems, and so on.
Yet, the human factor remains essential in providing a well-rounded approach to physical security that considers the unique nuances of each situation. To be effective, it is essential that physical security teams leverage the benefits of technology and also rely on their expertise and insight to identify, monitor, and address potential threats. By combining the best of both worlds, comprehensive physical security can be achieved, ensuring the safety and security of infrastructure, property, and assets.
Data Analytics in Physical Security
Organizations leverage data analytics for physical security through predictive modeling, real-time monitoring, access control, risk assessment, incident management, and more. AI-powered analytics can detect anomalies in large amounts of data quickly, allowing organizations to respond to threats in real time.
This proactive approach to security provides organizations with a greater sense of control over their security posture and helps to neutralize threats and minimize the risk of a successful attack.
As security exec, Stuart Tucker puts it, “when business leaders hesitate to adopt these crucial technologies, their organizations miss out on enhanced protection and vital insights into improved business operations.”
However, the good news is that according to the STANLEY Industry Trends Report released earlier in 2022, 45% of business leaders were interested in implementing AI and ML-driven integrated analytics in their organizations within the following 18 months. Of course, such implementation will be incomplete unless it also caters to the security needs of the organizations, including physical security.
Here are some strategic steps that an organization can take to effectively integrate data analytics into physical security:
- Identify the various data sources that can be used to gather information relevant to physical security, such as CCTV cameras, access control systems, and alarm systems.
- Automate reporting and enable AI-driven systems to take actions under the supervision of a human analyst.
- Regularly monitor and review the effectiveness of the data analytics-based physical security measures, and make any necessary adjustments.
Converged (Cyber and Physical) Security
In a world where connected devices are becoming ubiquitous, particularly in industrial settings, it is essential to recognize that physical security and cybersecurity are becoming far more closely intertwined, and both need to be managed concurrently in order to ensure the security of the entire system. Otherwise, it can be hard to anticipate and prevent threats that target both areas at the same time, as the two divisions are unable to share information and coordinate efforts.
According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, “an integrated threat management strategy reflects in-depth understanding of the cascading impacts to interconnected cyber-physical infrastructure.”
A collective approach to security is essential in order to protect an enterprise from the multiple threats that exist in both the physical and cyber realms.
A report by ASIS International indicated that only 20% of organizations in the US, Europe, and India had implemented a fully converged security model. However, that was in 2020, and much has changed since then. While the IIoT market was valued at $4.4 billion in 2021, experts estimate that its value will balloon to $22.3 billion in two years’ time.
Therefore, beginning now, organizations must intensify efforts to seamlessly integrate physical and virtual systems to see a greater level of collaboration between the two departments, resulting in increased productivity, improved communication, and enhanced operational efficiency.
By breaking down the silos that have been preventing the two departments from working together, organizations can capitalize on the potential of cyber-physical convergence, creating new opportunities for growth and success. According to Scot Sturges, a security director, this is “the natural progression of the security industry as certain valuable data is no longer stored only within the cloud or on-premises servers.”
The combination of labor and technology, data analytics and AI, and converged security can provide a new outlook in physical infrastructure threat management. By leveraging the strengths of both human workers and advanced technology, organizations can more effectively identify, assess, and mitigate risks to their physical assets.
Data analytics and AI can help to process large amounts of information and alert workers to potential threats, while converged security systems can provide a holistic approach to securing an organization’s infrastructure. Overall, this integrated approach is the best way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of physical infrastructure threat management in the coming months.
Recognizing that the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming just about everything electronic, clearly physical security systems will be part of that evolution. Plugging security devices, such as CCTV and physical access control systems into the IoT means that security – of all kinds – can be efficiently and cost-effectively managed from a single computer dashboard or a smart phone.
Paul Kirvan is an independent resilience consultant and member of the Resilience Association. www.resilienceassociation.orgRecommend0 recommendationsPublished in Physical Infrastructure
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