Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
February 14, 2020

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

Industry reports

The Future of Security Report

IFSEC Global provides an exclusive report on a recent industry survey, asking professionals what the future of security looks like for the sector. 

IFSEC International, in collaboration with Tavcom Training, put together an industry survey to better understand what challenges and opportunities professionals in the security sector are currently facing.

Future_of_Security_TavcomThe ‘Future of Security Survey’ covered topics such as concerns over cyber security, the growth of smart/intelligent buildings and systems integration.

The survey received close to 1,000 responses, from a wide range of industry professionals and sectors. Nearly 20% of respondents specified themselves as an installer or integrator, close to 10% as a distributor of security/fire products and technology, while the remaining 70% were involved in various sector roles across industries, such as senior security managers, business owners or IT/telecoms experts.

The future of security: Technology

Despite the wide variety of sectors and job roles involved, there were consistent themes that were evident from the report. The growth in smart buildings and systems integration – two topics that are often closely related – is plain to see. 48% of respondents were interested in finding out more about systems integration, whilst 46% agreed that they’d like to have a greater understanding of smart/intelligent buildings. Alongside this, over a third of respondents agreed that both cyber security and video analytics were topics they’d like to see covered at future conferences.

With these four topics attracting the most interest, it is perhaps easy to understand why ‘technology’, was by far the most popular answer to the question of ‘Where do you need to strengthen your skills and knowledge?’ Over half (51%) of respondents agreed that their understanding of technology needed to be improved. Other challenges included:

  • Standards and certification (15%)
  • Regulations (14%)
  • Security disciplines like ESRM and business continuity (10%)
  • Business skills (8)

Assessing these results, it would seem the lack of understanding of new technology in the security and fire sector is part of the wider ‘skills gap’ – though it is interesting to see this is not simply localised to the installer/integrator sphere, but rather forms a wider, cross-sector concern. For instance, survey respondents believe that the biggest barrier to achieving smart buildings is end users lacking knowledge on the subject. Indeed, this very much backs up some of the conversations we’ve had with our Installer Council, who also highlighted the need to address the technological skills gap throughout the industry.

Whilst ‘technology’ is a fairly catch-all term, industry professionals are clearly keen to learn more about the latest in cyber security, AI, smart automation, integrated systems and other evolving technology-related developments.

5G, for instance, is a growing trend that security and fire professionals will need to understand, in order to take advantage of the opportunities a more sophisticated network offers to security systems.

Many respondents also perceived technology as offering opportunities for growth. This was particularly prevalent in relation to the smart home and intelligent buildings – 47% believe that fire/security products provide a useful gateway into home automation, whilst a third now agree that the smart home market is ready for take-off.

Following on from this, 53% of respondents agreed that improving security offers the most commercial opportunities in the smart home market, in comparison to cutting energy costs, predictive maintenance and comfort. This is therefore set to provide security installers, integrators and engineers with growing opportunities moving forwards if they vary their business offerings.

Cyber security concerns

Cyber security comprised a major theme of the survey – perhaps inevitably as high profile incidents continue to make it onto mainstream news websites, such as the recent Travelex cyber attack. And, with 74% of respondents interested in learning more about cybercrime, security professionals view it as increasingly important to understand the subject matter for their professional development.

Continuing down the education route, the majority of responses agreed that manufacturers should be primarily responsible for making sure products are secure ‘out of the box’, as well as doing more to educate both end users and installers. With the Secure by Default scheme having launched at IFSEC International last year by Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner, there is likely to be more to come on this subject at this year’s show.

When asked whose remit protecting organisations from cybercrime and hacks should fall under, most (66%) believed that this is the responsibility of everyone within a company.  While 26% argued that accountability should primarily be down to either IT or the CISO, it would appear that most sector professionals are of the opinion that all employees should be on alert to potential hacking attempts.

In addition, 56% agreed that cyber security and physical security teams should collaborate more closely to better protect their organisations. This consensus will prove welcome to those who have been arguing for the benefits of the integration of these two teams for many years. It is a major reason behind the Converged Security Centre being a major part of the show.

Additional insights looking ahead to the future of security industry from the survey also include:

  • 52% believe that tech firms will become end-to-end solution providers
  • 33% agreed that the professional security industry could begin to lose market share to ICT/big tech
  • 22% argue that China is better place to exploit AI due to a lack of data protection constraints
  • 20% believe AI is overhyped, or at least still a long way from being truly game-changing

The survey ran as a collaboration project between IFSEC International and Tavcom Training.

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