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72% of physical security professionals expect roles to change over next 2 years, finds Convergint

Image courtesy of Convergint

Convergint, a global provider of service-based systems integration, announced the results of its first annual Voice of the Customer Benchmarking Survey, which revealed that the role of physical security professionals has grown increasingly complex, now requiring intensive information technology (IT) skills in areas like cybersecurity and cloud computing.

The survey found that 72% of physical security professionals anticipate that their roles within their organizations will change in the next one to two years with an increased emphasis on emerging technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, mobile credentialing, and autonomous solutions.

The elevated status of physical security is also evident. Indeed, 35% of survey respondents noted that they report directly to the CEO or other C-level executives, demonstrating how physical and electronic security and risk management are now an organizational and strategic importance.

There’s no doubt that the role of the physical security professional is changing the traditional idea of a “security guard” is being re-defined, so as security equipment and capabilities advance, the job has become more complex and tech-centric. Business leaders must look at security and risk holistically and break down the siloes that exist between cyber and physical security systems and the teams that lead them to drive collaboration and keep their people and assets safe.

Robert Van den Heuvel, Business Intelligence manager, Convergint

Recognizing the absence of peer-to-peer benchmarking in the physical security industry, Convergint Research & Insights conducted its first Voice of the Customer Benchmarking Survey in late 2022, analyzing information from senior, global physical security professionals at the director and vice president level, at more than 70 of the largest industry leading organizations across healthcare, financial services, government, and utilities, among others. The report provides insights on staffing and organizational structure, budgeting and procurement, and trends in innovation and technological adoption.

Key survey findings revealed several areas of opportunity for security teams across all industries, including:

  • Cloud is critical: More than 51% of security respondents reported that they don’t fully understand their organization’s current cloud strategy. Cloud management must be a top priority for all security leaders, and involvement and collaboration between IT and physical security teams must be accelerated to reduce vulnerabilities from cloud devices.
  • Cybersecurity shouldn’t be limited to IT: Only 4% of physical security teams are leading cybersecurity initiatives for their respective organizations, with another 18% teaming up with IT. 63% of respondents noted that they are not involved at all in cybersecurity at their organization. Coordination between IT and physical security teams is critical to prevent attacks on cameras, sensors, and other mission-critical devices.
  • Defining ROI to demonstrate business value: 44% of survey respondents cited their innovation focus as utilizing data and technologies to reduce labor expenses and optimizing workflows and processes however, very few respondents were able to describe how they measure success for innovation projects. There is an opportunity for physical security teams to demonstrate broader business value from conversations around office and real estate footprint, to office utilization to ensuring a safe work environment.

The workplace has evolved dramatically over the last few years, resulting in a greater emphasis on health and safety. This is a watershed moment for our industry, given the advanced data that security systems can collect and analyze. Physical security is now a highly technical role, focused on managing highly complex systems. By empowering these professionals with proper training and resources and prioritizing cross-team collaboration, security systems can provide tangible business value, in the short and long term.

Van den Heuvel

Visit here to download Convergint’s Voice of the Customer Benchmarking Survey.