COVID-19 Is Accelerating Physical Security Upgrades, Study Finds
Physical security budgets are expected to increase in 2021, driven by the pandemic, according to the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence.
AUSTIN, Texas — Physical threats are rising and increasingly unmanageable, putting unprecedented financial, reputational and liability pressures on business leadership and security teams, according to the “2021 State of Protective Intelligence Report: A Mandate for Proactive Protective Intelligence in the Era of Exponential Physical Security Threats,” a new study commissioned by the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence.
As physical security operations budgets are expected to increase in 2021, driven and accelerated by COVID-19, the study showcases the collective perspectives of chief security officers, chief legal officers, chief compliance officers and physical security decision-makers — on their physical security operations, what keeps them up at night, challenges and opportunities they foresee in 2021, and the pressing need for physical security modernization through technology.
Business continuity is at the heart of physical security concerns and 69% of security, legal, compliance and physical security executives say their leadership would agree it will be impossible for their company to recover financially and reputation-wise were a fatality to occur as a result of missed physical threats. But the reality is they are already teetering on the brink of inadequately protecting many aspects of their businesses.
Alarmingly, 71% of respondents say in the past year the lack of unified protective intelligence has resulted in missed threats and physical harm to their company’s employees, customers and human assets.
“This study shows that every business leader should be sounding an alarm and looking to protective intelligence to truly transform their ability to proactively see around corners, to identify, assess and act on threats that can have irreparable human and business costs,” says Fred Burton, executive director of the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence. “We are at a critical inflection point, and security leaders should act judiciously, be emboldened to adopt a proactive protective intelligence strategy and help radically transform physical security — and our world — for the better.”
“We heard resoundingly from physical security decision-makers that technology to advance the effectiveness of physical security and mitigate violent threats is necessary for the future of their company,” says Lukas Quanstrom, CEO of Ontic. “When physical threats go unmanaged, it increases corporate risk, irrevocably impacting business continuity given the potential for deep financial impact. Our research shows that security, legal, compliance and risk leaders unanimously agree the time is now to invest in physical security digital transformation, and Ontic is proud to help pave the way for a new standard in protective intelligence innovation.”
Among the biggest 2021 physical security challenges:
- COVID-19 recovery, including managing permanent remote working and safety protocols (38% agree this will be a challenge)
- Data protection and privacy (36%)
- Reduced security headcount due to the economy (35%)
- Physical security threats to remote workers (34%)
- Threat data management (33%)
- Physical security threats to C-suite and company leadership (32%)
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Keeping employees safe as they work remotely (43%), identifying potential threats to reduce their company’s liabilities (43%), effectively managing the volume of threat data (43%) and identifying threats to save their company money (34%) are the top physical security concerns keeping security, legal and compliance executives up at night.
- 71% of legal and compliance leaders rank increased potential for financial losses as a top 3 compliance, risk or regulation issue impacting physical security strategy.
- 39% say COVID-19 has caused them to accelerate their timeline for physical security solutions modernization.
- 84% agree their company would be able to better avoid crises if all members of the physical security team could view threat data in a single system-of-record platform.
- 91% of respondents say — and 54% strongly agree — that physical security needs a technology-driven industry standard for actively identifying, investigating, assessing, monitoring and managing physical security threats.
- A strong majority agree (90%) — and half strongly agree (51%) — that now is the best time to invest in physical security digital transformation, and 84% agree unmanaged physical threats increase corporate risk, can be financially crippling and negatively impact business continuity.
A total of 300 respondents completed the survey, which was conducted between Oct. 13-30. These included chief security officers, chief legal officers, chief compliance officers, general counsels, corporate attorneys and physical security decision-makers at U.S. companies with more than 5,000 employees.
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