Coronavirus: The security and fire sector

The impact of coronavirus can be seen across the world. At the time of writing, there has been three million confirmed cases of COVID-19, causing governments to take drastic action in the form of ‘lockdowns’ and implementing strict social distancing measures, in an effort to combat the spread and ensure their medical and emergency services are not overwhelmed. This has, inevitably, had a dramatic impact on the economy, with global markets slumping – more than eight years of gains since the last recession were wiped out in one month – to levels not seen since 2011. Every sector has been hit in different ways, and at IFSEC Global, we’ve been covering as much information as possible related to the security and fire sectors since the outbreak began. The role personnel play in these sectors is often key to ensuring safety, so particular emphasis has been put on reporting on ‘key worker’ status in the UK, but there have also been more wide-reaching ways in which the industry has played its part in responding to the threat of a global pandemic. When speaking to those at the forefront of the sector, it would appear that security services are in greater demand than ever more, as guards and technology play a role in keeping occupancy levels to required levels, temperature screen staff and customers alike, and ensure empty premises remain safe and secure.

Below, you will find links to the vast array of stories we’ve covered so far, with a few useful guides available to download, which may offer some supporting advice to the changes the sector has had to make due to the virus.

The impact of coronavirus on the security and fire sectors

‘Key’ or ‘critical’ worker status was an issue that dominated the discourse of the early weeks of lockdown in the UK. Associations from both the security and fire safety sectors made continual efforts to campaign for their members to be included in the ‘critical’ worker status guidelines issued by the Government, highlighting how important the industry is to safety and security in these challenging times. Installers, too, have been affected. Many installation companies fall under the SME category, with owners often self-employed. Due to social distancing measures and for the protection of themselves and their families, it was clear that many were having to cancel jobs unless the work was an emergency, as we asked installers and engineers how they’d been impacted and for their reactions, as well as providing advice for rethinking best practice. We also spoke to firms such as International SOS, to offer some returning to work advice for security professionals, while Peter French from SSR Personnel and Paul Ritchie from Foremost Security highlighted how roles have changed during this time. Find out all about the FireSafety-Coronavirus-20campaigns by following the links below:

Indeed, in a recent article from regular contributor, Sarb Sembhi, he highlights just how crucial professionals in the security sector are to the protection of people, businesses and assets, while also asking how COVID-19 is set to impact the industry going forward. Hunter Seymour also put together a similar piece, but focused on fire safety professionals and the impact of coronavirus.

Security and fire associations responses to COVID-19

Once again, while a little focused on the UK (only natural as IFSEC Global is based in London), it is likely the efforts shown by the various sector association were mirrored across the world. Support and advice have been abundant from all throughout the pandemic, covering everything from online training courses, through to remote audits and general messages of support for members.

The work from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), Security Industry Authority (SIA) and ASFP, alongside others, has also been covered in the key worker status stories found in the section above.

The use of surveillance in the containment of coronavirus

On a global scale, there have been numerous reports highlighting how surveillance technology has been used to contain or combat the virus. Initially most prevalent in China, where mass surveillance is already used, stories included facial recognition software and CCTV integrated with AI to track people’s movements from areas that there were known to be outbreaks from, therefore measuring the risk of the potential spread of contamination.

These reports have since seen other nations adopting similar measures, with the additional usage of thermal imaging technology. However, it does raise the question of where this will leave us in terms of privacy following the pandemic? If mass surveillance measures are introduced with the initial goal of public safety in mind, would it lead to more ‘intrusive’ measures further down the line? This debate is not new, of course, but the impact of coronavirus has reignited the discussion in the security and privacy fields, once more.

Cyber security

Coronavirus-CyberScams2-20Home or remote working has suddenly moved from the occasional to the regular for the majority who are not on the front lines. The nature of this varies from business to business, of course, with some already set up for such an event, while others were forced to change their entire working practices. Amongst other issues, cyber security is likely to be a major concern for security managers and IT departments. There has been a significant rise in cyber security scams related to the coronavirus, while protecting sensitive data and ensuring privacy laws are maintained when employees are working remotely is a much more challenging process.

Industry response to coronavirus

The response from the security and fire safety sector has been impressive, to say the least. Whether it is installers offering remote support to their customers, guards working on the front line to protect critical assets and ensure public safety, or manufacturers providing free training support and enhanced technology support, there’s been plenty of stories coming from the industry. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to cover everything, but some of these are outlined below:

VideoSurveillance-Monitoring-19

Additional stories

COVID pushes criminals away from cash and into digital banking

Dr Nicola Harding explores how the pandemic has changed criminal behaviour and its implications for the banking and finance industries.

Contact tracing and COVID-19 director’s briefing

Download our free guide to what organisations and security managers need to know when implementing track and trace controls at a venue.

University of Oxford COVID research facility protected by First Response Group

University of Oxford has bolstered its COVID-19 research protection by employing First Response Group to provide a guarding security detail.

Pandemic has “positively impacted careers of women in cyber security”

A new report from Tessian indicates that the pandemic has had a positive impact on the careers of female cyber security professionals.

“There is a big uptick in demand for deep-learning analytics”: IDIS on lasting changes in the video tech industry after COVID

IFSEC Global catches up with IDIS, discussing the lasting changes for the video surveillance industry as a result of COVID-19.

Looking for a new job in security? How to nail video interviews

We provide some advice to those looking for a new job or career in security from a recruiter’s perspective.

A ‘paradigm shift’ for women in the security industry: “A pandemic demands empathy and strength in leadership”

Francesca Boeris provides an insight into her ambitions to spearhead efforts to improve equality in the fire and security industry.

COVID-related considerations when updating fire risk assessments

As employees return to work, it is important COVID-related considerations are taken into account when updating fire risk assessments.

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Downloads

The Video Surveillance Report 2020

Vulnerable workers: A Barbour guide

EBOOK: A Brief History of Access Control Credentials

Whitepaper: Normal service resumed? How video technology supports our new reality

Barbour: Security and COVID-19 director’s briefing

The State of Physical Access Control in EMEA Businesses – 2020 Report

Fire Protection Strategy: A Barbour Director’s Briefing

A Barbour guide to business continuity