Security industry survey shows the challenges posed by Covid-19

Montreal, Canada

The State of Physical Security 2020 shows the results of the 2020 survey carried out by Genetec Inc.

Genetec recently conducted an international survey based on insights from over 1,000 physical security leaders to explore how the physical security industry is reacting to the threat of Covid-19, how security professionals are coping, and how day-to-day operations and plans are affected for the coming year.

Not surprisingly, according to Genetec, the survey reveals that Covid-19 has led to a focus on security efforts to ensure the safety of people and facilities. For the majority of security professionals, the top three challenges during the pandemic are: managing employee/visitor safety; dealing with physical security threats (e.g. vandalism, theft, break-ins, etc.); and the remote management and securing of buildings.

However, while the pandemic has brought on numerous new challenges, the vast majority of organisations have had to face them creatively. The survey showed that 68% of respondents reported project delays/downsizing or cancellations this year; however looking into 2021 48% expect budgets to stay flat or increase with a focus on ongoing investment in existing systems and deployment of tools to support ongoing response to the pandemic.

With pressing new requirements and more limited resources, physical security organisations are stressed but finding ways to pivot to address extraordinary circumstances. Using resourcefulness and creativity, many security professionals (48%) are looking to existing systems to help them face these new challenges.

"The security industry excels at planning for the unexpected, and while the pandemic took the world by surprise, our industry has shown extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness. We have seen so many of our customers and partners quickly adapt to the new needs and challenges posed by the situation. They've been able to repurpose and adapt their existing security infrastructure to meet some of the new challenges created by the pandemic," said Pervez Siddiqui, Vice President of Business Development at Genetec, Inc.

Physical security is behind in cloud adoption

While 37% of respondents said they were evaluating new technologies, the adoption of cloud-technology continues to be slow in the physical security industry. In stark contrast with the accelerated adoption of cloud-based solutions observed in other sectors in 2020, more than 61% of security professionals reported that they had no cloud plans, often citing concerns over cost and data security, and 74% indicated only a small portion of their environments (less than 25%) was or would become cloud or hybrid cloud.

"The move to a predominantly remote workforce was made a lot easier for organisations that had already invested in cloud-based technologies, yet very few companies had already started that transition," said Christian Morin, Vice President of Cloud Services and CSO at Genetec, Inc. "As companies continue to re-evaluate how they get the work done, modern cloud-based solutions should be at the top of their list."

Cyber risks remain

In spite of cyber crime continuing to increase, and remote work creating more technology challenges, the physical security industry remains behind in its approach to addressing cyber threats. The survey reveals that only 35% of respondents took steps to improve their cyber security strategy as a result of the pandemic.

"This new reality has underscored the fact that the network perimeter is truly dead with the bulk of the workforce working remotely. This forces many organisations to rapidly rethink and evolve their cyber security strategies," added Morin.

Further research in 2021

To remain abreast of the evolving market, Genetec will continue primary research into the new year. This will begin in the first quarter with a review of the EMEA physical security market and continue in other regions later in the year.


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