Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
February 23, 2021


State of Physical Access Trend Report 2024


Pandemic accelerates adoption of cloud-enabled physical security

Morphean’s CEO, Rodrigue Zbinden, considers the recent increase in cloud adoption, the benefits to customers of hosted security solutions and the implications for security installers.

Morphean-RodrigueZbinden-21The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption and many challenges for businesses around the globe. At the same time, it has accelerated a digital transformation process that was already well underway. Cloud has become a modern saviour in its ability to keep businesses operational, with many turning to hosted video conferencing platforms to replace the need to meet face-to-face as lockdowns were imposed. Physical security too is increasingly moving to the cloud, taking the form of hosted solutions and technology platforms that can provide comprehensive protection across a wide range of industries and sectors.

With cloud migration continuing to gather momentum, Morphean commissioned a survey of 1000 senior decision makers across the UK, Germany and Sweden, working in HR, facilities management, IT and security. It wanted to better understand purchasing intent around hosted security applications among a broad spectrum of buyers; the results would provide key indications around the cloud’s ability to help organisations from both a security and operations perspective.

Increasing urgency for adoption of VSaaS and ACaaS, say 70%

Results revealed 51% of senior decision makers were currently using a cloud-based video surveillance (VSaaS) and/or a door entry/access control system (ACaaS). This represents a 3% increase in comparison to responses from a 2019 survey (48%), and broadly reflects projected growth in the physical security market from USD $93.5b in 2020 to USD $120.3b by 2025 at a CAGR of 5.2%. The accelerating adoption of hosted solutions is buoyed by its low cost set up, flexible scalability and demand for real-time and remote access to security data.

When asked whether the pandemic had increased the necessity/urgency for businesses to adopt VSaaS and ACaaS, a significant 70% agreed. IT Services was the sector in which most respondents strongly or somewhat agreed (82%), followed by security (73%). The results highlight a hosted physical security market which is in a strong position for 2021. As cloud applications are proven to deliver business continuity in challenging times, so physical security utilising the cloud can unlock many security and business benefits for the modern organisation, now facing many new challenges.

Analytics and business optimisation

95% of those surveyed agree that if an existing security system could deliver insights beyond security to assist decision making it would influence adoption. It is clear that the growth in connected digital devices through the IoT is resulting in a growing appetite for physical security, such as network cameras, to enhance existing IT systems and assist business intelligence gathering. As an example, consider an office environment where access control and video data can be used to determine an employee’s movements in the event of a positive COVID-19 result, and alert others who may have made physical contact with that individual.

The benefits of VSaaS and ACaaS prompted Morphean to examine what areas of business were optimised, or in no need of improvement. 43% indicated that data/information security was the most optimised aspect of their company. The total number of respondents who indicated that physical security was already optimised had risen by 4% since our 2019 survey, to 27%. It was those working in IT who saw the greatest disparity in security related optimisation, with far fewer recognising that physical security was optimised (28%) compared with data/IT security (55%). This may point to an opportunity to increase physical security optimisation to be on par with data/IT security.


Flexible and remote working will grow

More flexibility in working locations is the benefit respondents are most likely to identify from moving business functions to the cloud (50%), followed by easier collaboration (44%); more cost-effective (44%); safer/better security (38%). 82% anticipate the levels/frequency of remote workers and flexible working in their organisations to be higher post-pandemic and in the longer term than they were pre-pandemic.

Security will need to be enhanced to facilitate greater flexibility in worker patterns. An access control solution which is linked to HR records, for example, can check the swipe of an access card against staff records. A staff member who is flagged as being on leave, absent or no longer employed will trigger an automated alert to the relevant personnel. Surveillance cameras also provide secondary authentication through visual clarification of an individual’s identity.

A business model for success

78% of the 1000 senior decision makers surveyed anticipate their organisations’ use of cloud technologies to increase in the future as a result of COVID-19. Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on premises, businesses are able to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing challenges without the need for large upfront capital investment, instead, paying for the convenience as-a-service out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost. This is the proven business model of cloud.

Yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities. This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the crisis.

From a customer perspective, such a model is also convenient. 28% of respondents highlighted cost benefits as a key factor in the move towards VSaaS/ACaaS and 19% indicated that they would expect to see all-inclusive updates/upgrades and support. VSaaS and ACaaS are supported by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades, so are always online and up to date. Additionally, functionality such as remote management allows operations to be monitored offsite via mobile device. Access from any location (32%), remote maintenance (31%), and the ability to monitor empty sites (29%) were all identified as key benefits of introducing VSaaS and ACaaS, alongside better security (40%) and better functionality (33%).

The revelation that such technology is employed by over half of organisations across a wide range of industries, and is rising, is a comforting validation of its benefits, and evidence that hosted physical security has never been more in demand. 30% of those surveyed indicated that they did not currently use such solutions, but were considering their implementation. Cloud-enabled physical security appears to sit firmly on the agenda as companies consider the evolving threat landscape and broad range of challenges that the future will bring.

Cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success.

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  • The current state of wireless access control solutions in the market
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  • The growing use of the cloud and ACaaS to manage access systems
  • How your choice of access control solution can impact sustainability

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