Industry Talk

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Adoption of cloud-enabled physical security given boost by pandemic

Businesses around the globe have had to learn to deal with many obstacles and challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, a digital transformation process that was already underway has been accelerated as a result of the rapid need to embrace cloud-enabled technologies. As lockdowns were imposed, cloud afforded businesses the ability to remain operational, with many turning to hosted video conferencing platforms to replace the need to meet face-to-face.

Physical security too is increasingly moving to the cloud, taking the form of technology platforms and hosted solutions, and offering comprehensive protection across a wide range of industries and sectors. To better understand purchasing intent around hosted security applications among a broad spectrum of buyers, Morphean commissioned a survey of 1000 senior decision makers across the UK, Germany and Sweden, working in HR, facilities management, IT and security. Results would also reveal how such solutions can help organisations from a security and operations perspective.


VSaaS and ACaaS: a call for urgent adoption

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.

Furthermore, results revealed 51% of senior decision makers were already 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.


Business optimisation and operational insights

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.

95% of those surveyed agreed 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.


Growth of flexible and remote working

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.


Embracing the business model of cloud

78% of the 1000 senior decision makers surveyed anticipate their organisations’ use of cloud technologies to increase as a result of COVID-19. Cloud will enable more businesses to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing challenges, with solutions taken ‘as-a-service’ meaning a move toward an operational expenditure model. While this model will be familiar to the IT industry, the physical security sector has been slow to move away from a capital expenditure model based on large upfront investment. Yet, a downturn in revenues during the crisis prompting the freezing of budgets will have made a model based on small recurring monthly payments more appealing.

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%).

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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