2021 was a year for transitioning and adapting. The security industry had to respond quickly as other industries returned to a new normal, and people started spending less time at home. This article will summarize some of the biggest changes security guards and companies experienced in 2021, and the trends we believe will dominate in 2022.
Integrated security solutions became a must-have
With Covid restrictions and company policies changing every few weeks, more clients started looking for holistic approaches to security. Instead of hiring a guard to watch a near-empty building, or relying on just CCTV cameras, clients are really starting to understand the value of integrating security solutions. Doing this allows them to create efficiencies. Hybrid strategies also support long-term cost savings.
Using integrated solutions, clients can ask for guards when they need them the most, but can use access control systems or cameras during less critical times.
Recruitment was challenging
Trying to fill empty positions has been a struggle for several industries; security was no different. Before the pandemic, security officers remained in the background most of the time. But they suddenly became essential frontline employees. They didn’t have the option of working from home and had to interact with dozens if not hundreds of people each day. Stores needed security guards more than ever to monitor long lines and ensure people respected capacity limits. Unfortunately, this led to some guards falling ill. Others left the industry altogether.
Technology became vital to security companies
There’s been a notable increase in the reliance security companies are placing on technology and innovation to support their growth and level of service. There is now more of a desire for resources and software solutions that will enable supervisors to manage their teams remotely. Guards are also more comfortable with touchless or low contact devices, such as mobile guard tour systems. The less equipment they have to share, and the fewer surfaces they must touch, the better. Patrol Points lets guards complete tours using just a smartphone and the mobile app. They can also complete incident reports and check their schedules, all from their device.
Trends for 2022
1. Less distinction between physical security and cybersecurity
For years, cybersecurity and physical security have been siloed from each other. The strategies were different and the data was kept separate. But, people are changing the way they think, and companies are realizing that these two things are part of the same security strategy.
2. Greater emphasis on risk as opposed to security
Security is about managing and mitigating risk. But there are companies and organizations that don’t think about implementing security solutions until an incident occurs. Reacting after something has happened is costly and can threaten the safety of people, data or property. To prevent this from occurring, companies want to identify and assess potential risks first (physical, human and data), and assemble solutions to ensure they are ready to proactively respond if something goes wrong.
3. Risk analysis will become more important
This relates to trend #2. As organizations focus more on risks, security teams will need the assistance of risk analysts. Having the ability to identify risks that your clients didn’t even consider will be a major competitive advantage. Risk analysts help companies assess potential threats and determine whether there are vulnerabilities within security systems. Companies will harness the power of data to help them predict threats and the likelihood of risks.
4. Smart operations centers gain popularity
Global security operations centers (GSOCs) allow security staff to monitor camera feeds, officer schedules and other day-to-day security issues. However, as data takes a leading role in the security industry, these centers may transform. Staff will monitor and analyze risks using things like social media and other data sources. GSOCs will take a proactive approach to the reduction of risk, and will require help from security analysts.
5. Integrated security solutions are here to stay
Security guards are essential, but they can be expensive. With fees on the rise, we’re likely to see more technological security solutions controlling access, especially when foot traffic is low. Companies will still require people to protect property and patrons. People tend to feel safer when they see a human protecting the property, and only people can break up a fight or chase down a criminal. However, technology will be used to handle more grunt work.
6. The nature of training will evolve
It seems too obvious to state the importance of training employees. But some security leaders are thinking beyond standard training. Expect to see more testing in 2022. Management may try to create scenarios that mirror real security incidents. This is not just to make sure guards know how to respond, it’s to help ensure that everyone in the building or facility knows what to do in the event of an emergency.
With so many people working remotely, online training has replaced some traditional instructor-led training. Class exercises, which often require several people sitting in one room, may change as well. Educators could elect to use video games and virtual simulators so that skills can still be acquired even if large class sizes are no longer an option.
7. Access control is becoming more seamless
Access control has been changing a lot over the last decade, and improvements are expected to continue. Rather than using a badge or pass to grant access, some companies have already switched to systems that allow people to use their smartphones, and other devices, to gain access to restricted areas.
8. Drone security could make an appearance
Drones have become less expensive, and some organizations are using them for surveillance purposes. Unlike CCTV cameras, drones can move around to get any angle. Nevertheless, there are still some issues that may make companies think twice before investing in drone technology. They can be compromised by hackers or even physical attacks, and there are regulatory requirements that companies must be cautious of.
The security industry is always changing, which is one reason why it’s such an exciting field to work in. Some of the more traditional roles may become less popular as technology demonstrates its value to security guards and companies. Hybrid security strategies will be in demand. Clients will be seeking flexible solutions that align with their needs and budgets. Security companies must start thinking about how they can market themselves as risk management companies as opposed to simply security companies. Finally, the line separating physical and cybersecurity is faint; clients may request services that cater to both issues.