It’s 2023. For many in physical security, a new year brings new information that shows how much has changed in the industry. This info gives us a look into a world where the pandemic is behind us, and people have returned to offices, classrooms, stores, hotels, stadiums, and restaurants. Things like traffic, travel, and crowd size have all increased, and so has the need for security.
A new year also brings with it new challenges facing the private security industry. Industry surveys tell us that in 2023, security professionals are concerned with higher crime rates and increased threats of violence in the workplace. Criminals are getting better at exploiting businesses’ security vulnerabilities, and private contract security firms are struggling to meet staffing requirements.
Innovative and automated surveillance and communication technologies are needed to augment the guard workforce and reduce stress levels on overburdened employees. This article examines several key physical security challenges facing the private security industry in 2023, and how new physical security technology can be used to overcome them.
- Security Challenge: Higher Crime Rates
- Security Challenge: Mass Violence & Workplace Safety
- Security Challenge: Digital Vulnerabilities Leading to Physical Attacks
- Security Challenge: Labor Shortages
Security Challenge: Higher Crime Rates
Inflation has boosted the value of stolen goods and criminals are well-aware that most police forces can’t respond to events or emergencies in a timely manner. This has led to increased criminal activity across all economic sectors. Higher crime rates will continue being one of the major challenges facing the security industry. In fact, 28% of survey respondents saw an increase in physical security incidents in 2022, and 91% believe the number of physical security incidents will increase or stay the same in 2023. One leading-edge security technology solution that can help understaffed security firms address higher crime rates is drones.
The latest security camera technology, aerial drones are multi-use security tools that give authorities an eye in the sky to monitor large areas and events for suspicious activity with minimal manpower. Drones provide expanded video surveillance beyond typical sight lines and help with perimeter security, crowd monitoring, and search and rescue operations.
Drone operators can quickly direct officers to where they’re needed most, enhancing protection efforts and response times for short-staffed security teams. One of the new trends in security technology that has lasting power, drones are great for:
- Recording events in real-time
- Pre-event site surveys
- Helping design emergency evacuation routes
- Tracking subjects on the move
Useful for perimeter security on the ground and in the air, drones can also be used to prevent unauthorized drones from entering the airspace over private properties and outdoor events.
Security Challenge: Mass Violence & Workplace Safety
Unfortunately, mass violence remains one of the challenges facing private security personnel. Every day, it seems like there’s another mass shooting reported in the news. This is a big factor adding to the security officer shortage – fewer people are willing to risk their lives protecting others from random gun violence.
And as employees return to work, there are additional safety considerations. With events like layoffs comes concern about increased workplace violence by disgruntled former employees. Businesses need to proactively prevent incidents of mass violence and improve worker safety without turning corporate offices, distribution centers, and factories into intimidating environments. Well-paced physical security technology can add layers of unassuming protection that blend into the structure yet complement personnel capabilities.
Modernized access control systems (ACS) are the latest security technology tools that automate or eliminate the need for in-person approvals or entry for authorized personnel and help overcome the front-line security staff shortage. Research indicates that 67% of organizations are planning to invest in modernized ACS in the workplace in 2023 as employees and visitors return to the office. It’s important and needed, with 30% of mass shootings happening in the workplace.
Examples of modern ACS include:
- Fob- or keycard-controlled entryways
- Anti-climb doors
- One-way turnstiles
- Magnetized emergency exit doors
- Remote-controlled vehicle barricades and bollards
- Smart combination locks
- Biometric identification systems
- Motion detectors
- Cloud-connected devices
Video surveillance is another great tool to manage staffing shortages. Properly positioned cameras can keep officers stationed at central spots while monitoring other site areas for suspicious activity.
Intelligent Video Capture (IVC)
The latest technology in security cameras, Intelligent Video Capture (IVC) takes video surveillance to the next level. It uses smart heat- and motion-sensing cameras to alert guards to any suspicious activity they might otherwise miss. When applied to A.I, systems, IVC supports applications beyond human capabilities such as license plate scanning in parking lots, crowd-specific facial recognition for wanted individuals, airports and train stations, or the ability to quickly search through gigabytes of security footage for specific markers missed real-time or post-event investigation.
Soon, A.I.-enhanced IVC will be able to identify a wide range of activities and learn the difference between situations that do and don’t need attention. For example, recognizing a friendly embrace of two individuals versus aggressive behavior allows officers to focus on the most pressing issues.
Security Challenge: Digital Vulnerabilities Leading to Physical Attacks
Many criminals will choose to take the path of least resistance. They know most businesses cannot afford around-the-clock manned guarding services and will exploit areas lacking additional defenses.
Before even looking for the open door or unguarded trailer on site, many criminals will try to expose digital vulnerabilities remotely through phishing attacks and malware to access passwords, accounts, and customer data that could do more damage to the business than equipment theft – or use that information to follow up with a targeted physical attack to steal assets identified digitally. In response, a survey found 36% of IT and security professionals are looking to invest in cybersecurity-related tools to improve their physical security capabilities in 2023.
The following are two examples of how physical security technology can help overcome existing digital vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity and Physical Security Integration
Integrated security technologies is one of the most popular new trends in security technology for good reason. Compensate for the lack of around-the-clock physical security by integrating cybersecurity tools such as remote video monitoring systems, robust access control measures as discussed above, alarm systems, and robotic patrols. Security integration technology solutions like tying video monitoring to artificial intelligence and analytics (IVC) can enhance security effectiveness and responsiveness to threats without human intervention.
Providing officers with cloud-connected equipment that supports edge computing while on patrol enhances security over large areas, events, and campuses that normally present communication challenges. With A.I. becoming increasingly popular in security applications, it’s necessary for the tools and devices used by security personnel to be connected to the cloud. This helps with activities like ticket scanning and facial recognition and enables real-time secure communications among team members that are stationed far apart.
Security Challenge: Labor Shortages
Despite the fact that there are plenty of job openings, the public perception of being a security officer – low pay, long hours, solitary patrols, intensive training, and personal risk – shrinks the candidate hiring pool. Add high burnout and turnover rates and it’s clear that the other challenges facing the private security industry today stem from the root cause of labor shortages.
Asking employees to monitor assets and deter theft while on shift is much harder now. Pair that with the national police shortage most major cities are facing and it’s no wonder criminals are taking advantage. Cities are reporting longer response times to calls, fewer crimes solved, and higher crime rates.
As a result, businesses have turned to private security firms to help. While that’s great news for the industry, unfortunately, the same staffing issues affecting businesses and police departments have also impacted private security firms.
It’s hard to find enough qualified people, and even harder to retain them. There just aren’t enough hands and eyes to monitor every entrance, watch every customer, guard every asset, or track every vehicle. In fact, 50% of survey respondents said their physical security team experienced human resource challenges in 2022. That’s why security firms need to leverage innovative and integrated security technologies to address labor shortages.
Unified Security Solutions
Implementing unified software solutions optimized for security workforce management – like TrackTik’s talent management software – can streamline recruiting, hiring, and scheduling tasks, automate processes, and enhance overall team efficiency. The TrackTik Guarding Suite is another solution that can unify security operations, with features like real-time insight into checkpoint tour progress, dynamic location tracking, incident reporting, and more.
Automation and Analytics
We’re all being asked to do more with less, which only highlights the need for automation and analytics to meet security SLA commitments. Security technology trends like smart equipment (listed below) can take the stress off understaffed security teams:
- Facial recognition
- Robotic patrols
- Access control
- Automated alerts
Smart equipment can inform command center personnel of an impending hardware failure before it occurs. This allows security staff to focus on tasks that require critical thinking and judgment.
Leverage Technology to Meet the Private Security Challenges of 2023
There’s so much that we can learn about the state of the security market from 2022 data, and one thing is clear – the future of security is a combination of human and fully connected technology assets.
Security firms can use data and A.I. to enhance physical security, create safer environments, and develop a more skilled workforce. Combined, leveraging these emerging security technology solutions can help drive your firm forward. TrackTik can help you face the security challenges of 2023 with confidence.
Learn more about how the added value of TrackTik’s workforce management software can help you overcome 2023’s security challenges.