5 Security Themes For Facilities

Issues ranging from facility sustainability to workforce transformation are reshaping facility security.

By Ramesh Songukrishnasamy
From the June 2023 Issue

The security industry is witnessing profound changes as digital transformation and modernization reshape the landscape. These changes are explored in HID’s 2023 State of Security and Identity Report, which is based on a Fall 2020 survey of 2,700 end users and partners who were asked about the biggest issues they face in both sustaining and enhancing baseline operations while empowering security teams to create more value for their organization and people.

The five trending themes HID’s study surfaced were accompanied by findings about associated enablers, disruptors, and game changers. Understanding these dynamics and how they are driving the technology that fuels innovation will empower facility executives to create more value for their organizations as well as their people.

facility security technology
(Photo: Adobe Stock/Sasin Paraksa)

Five Pressing Themes

The study revealed five pressing themes that are spurring the industry to pursue collective and continuous improvement. These include sustainability, hybrid work environments, digital IDs, contactless biometrics, and supply chain issues.

Theme #1: Sustainability and its influence on suppliers and users

There is growing consensus that governments, organizations, and individuals must take more action to address environmental concerns. End users want footprint transparency from their suppliers, including information about their operations, product sourcing, and research and development practices. Sustainability has even taken center stage when it comes to deciding which products end users will purchase, and which suppliers’ integrators and installers will work with.

For example, nearly 90% of respondents in HID’s survey acknowledged that sustainability was an important issue. Notably, 87% of respondents stated that sustainability ranks as “important to extremely important.” Among integrators and installers, 76% of respondents said their customers believe sustainability is increasingly important, and 62% said it is “very important” or “extremely” important to their customers.

One way security teams have supported this growing demand is by leveraging the cloud and the Internet of Things to optimize processes and reduce resources. Additionally, suppliers are strategically developing new products and solutions specifically to address sensible energy usage, waste reduction, and resource optimization.

Theme #2: Supporting hybrid work environments through identity “as-a-service” (IDaaS) solutions

The majority (81%) of survey respondents said they are now offering a hybrid work model, and 67% cited multifactor authentication (MFA) and password-less authentication as the most important requirements for adapting to it. Mobile and digital IDs were cited by 48% of respondents, and data strategy, framework, and tools by 67%.

The survey also revealed how hybrid work environments are helping to push cloud-based access management further into the mainstream. Even before the pandemic, digital transformation and the convergence of physical and logical access moved more and more access management capabilities to the cloud. Now, with so many survey respondents offering a hybrid work model of in-office and remote work, the use of IDaaS rather than on-premises infrastructure is expected to expand.

Surprisingly, not all organizations are ready to implement a comprehensive IDaaS strategy— just over half, according to the HID survey. For those companies that have embarked on this path, though, IT and security teams must consider the underlying governance that accompanies cloud-first mandates, including technology decision-making processes that incorporate engagement with audit, privacy, IT operations, and information security. This is particularly important in smaller organizations.

AI will continue to make security systems in these environments more robust while enabling them to deliver a better user experience.

The use of AI should be noted here, as well, as it will continue to make security systems in these environments more robust while enabling them to deliver a better user experience. Today’s most comprehensive AI-based solutions are already reinforcing two of the technologies that our survey respondents identified as the most important for adapting to hybrid and remote work: MFA or password-less authentication, and Zero Trust.

An example is AI-based financial fraud-prevention solutions that combine behavioral profiling supported by behavioral biometrics and payment transaction data for real-time threat detection. Pattern recognition using machine-learning algorithms looks for payment anomalies, and the derived threat intelligence is used to combat known and unknown threats. Working together, these three AI-driven capabilities have been proven to deliver better detection performance, making security more adaptive with fewer false positives for a more seamless user experience and lower authentication costs.

Theme #3: The impact of digital IDs and mobile authentication on mobile access deployments

Digital ID adoption is accelerating more rapidly than ever. In the past, identity was tied to something physical, such as a customer presenting a driver’s license when paying for goods or services by check. In the modern world, trusted identity is increasingly a digital phenomenon, from passports to student IDs and corporate credentials. This is changing the way security operates. A digital ID is an extension of physical identity and offers a new way to securely verify who we are. Digital IDs include mobile IDs, which are digital IDs stored on and authenticated via mobile devices, including smartphones and wearables.

facility security technology
(Photo: Adobe Stock/ Prostock-studio)

Contributing to mobile ID adoption is the growing popularity of digital wallets from major players like Google, Apple, and Amazon. In this application, a mobile ID is stored on—and authenticated via— the mobile device. Mobile ID capabilities continue to expand beyond payments. Today, smartphone users now can add items like dorm or hotel room keys, employee badges, drivers’ licenses (already allowed in eight states), passports, verifiable COVID-19 vaccination information, and student IDs directly in the wallet app.

According to HID’s survey results, 47% of integrators and installers said their customers are using mobile identities for identity verification. Large commercial real estate firms are leveraging mobile access as part of their larger tenant experience apps. For example, New York City-based Silverstein Properties offers secure contactless access to its office buildings through employee badges in Apple Wallet. In addition, organizations with more than 10,000 employees have the highest use of mobile IDs—this despite the fact that implementing mobile IDs was not a top priority for healthcare companies, which made up the largest portion of this group.