By Ramesh Songukrishnasamy
From the August 2022 Issue
Many things have changed since March 2020, including the collective human experience and the variety of opportunities and challenges people were called to address.
The world faced a turning point, forcing it to rapidly evolve over the past two years. Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, we are tasked with navigating a “new normal” and predicting the “next normal,” all while looking for ways to engineer a better future.
As a result of the pandemic and the rapid acceleration of technology, the security industry is witnessing profound changes. To start, digital transformation and modernization are reshaping the security and identity landscape. Here are seven trends shaping these changes, including the key enablers and disruptors underpinning them.
Trend #1: Supply Chain Issues Force The Industry To Get Creative
A global supply chain crisis has drawn widespread attention. As labor shortages and surges in demand continue, globalized supply chains are expected to experience shortages into 2023. This includes the semiconductors used across industries in nearly every product today. These integrated circuit chips form the backbone of many security and identity products, including control panels, readers, sensors, detectors, credentials, passports, and peripherals, such as printers. The ongoing shortage poses significant challenges to secure people, data, and physical assets against an expanding and ever more complex threat landscape. Vendors and security administrators will need to manage risk through a variety of strategies and approaches.
Trend #2: Sustainability Takes Center Stage In Business Decisions
There is growing consensus that governments, organizations, and individuals must take immediate action to address environmental concerns. End-users of security solutions are increasingly demanding for suppliers to provide footprint transparency in terms of their operations, product sourcing, and research and development practices. So much so, sustainability has taken center stage in business decisions. Security business leaders increasingly must consider what sustainability strategies should drive planning and what environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics come into play. Doing so will help protect buildings in a safe and sustainable way that employees can get behind.
Trend #3: SaaS-Delivered Identities Become The Expectation
Digital transformation has brought with it a move to service models supported by the power of cloud computing. This means new opportunities for security to manage access control applications, physical assets, and data across new form factors. Identity management delivered “as a service” rather than via on-premises infrastructure will expand the security perimeter and create new opportunities around identity and access management. CIOs must consider the underlying governance that accompany cloud-first mandates, including technology decision-making processes that incorporate engagement with audit, privacy, IT operations, and information security.
Trend #4: Digital IDs Finally Reach Their Tipping Point
Digital identities are an extension of physical ones: They offer a new way to securely verify who a person is so they can transact safely, work productively, and travel freely. Digital IDs include mobile IDs, which are digital IDs stored on and authenticated via a mobile device. The ubiquity of smartphones and the infrastructure to support contactless, digital transactions is leading to a push for the ability to use digital wallets for more than just payments. Corporate identities and driver’s licenses are already a reality with mobile national IDs and passports on the horizon. The security industry is readying itself for new standards, solutions, and industry guidance to ensure user authentication is secure, convenient, and fraud-free.
Trend #5: The Future Of Work Is Here
With the shift to remote work and the likelihood that hybrid work models will persist, security has evolved to focus on touchless technology, data protection, and increased convenience for users. This evolution includes leveraging integrated technologies that contribute to the health and safety of people and the security of data, no matter the location. Zero Trust strategies are cyber-hardening digital systems along with physical spaces. When accounting for every device on the network, from peripherals to access points, security implementations should include rigorous and uniform controls.
Trend #6: Contactless Biometrics Reach An Impressive Momentum
Modern iris and facial recognition are on the rise as reliable, contactless biometric modalities for both on-premises and remote authentication. Previously, challenges to widespread biometrics adoption largely centered around perception, but now consumers more widely accept biometrics as a means to secure mobile phones and the data stored within them. Today, privacy concerns are giving way to convenience. This means new considerations will begin to arise within the value chain, including how to control the environment and ensure privacy as new technologies fuel speed and performance.
Trend #7: Data Science Occupies A Central Position In Security
The security industry is in a unique position to make the world safer—and user experiences better—by applying learnings from the increasing amount of data generated across devices and access points. This includes digital information that can be used to make security operations more efficient and effective. Adoption of data science powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning make this data even more valuable to security and IT teams. Tightly integrating these capabilities into unified physical and digital security systems will ensure rapid response in threat detection and mitigation, helping organizations move from threat prevention to threat prediction, making risk management more effective and security operations more efficient.
Unifying and underlying these trends is a similar takeaway from what we all discovered during the pandemic: The need to adapt faster, deliver exceptional digital and physical experiences, and capitalize on breakthrough innovations. The digital experience will continue to reshape security, with interconnected devices raising the bar for what can be secured, and how. The cloud will power implementations efficiently across physical and logical footprints, elevating the value of data and facilitating servitization to drive specific business outcomes.
Big-picture social and economic trends have disrupted business-as-usual, challenging the security industry to rethink the basics down to the concept of identity. Against this backdrop, the growing expectation is that security, like all other facets of the enterprise, can and will leverage technology to work better, function smarter, and create a more connected world.
Songukrishnasamy is a senior vice president and the chief technology officer at HID Global where he applies his experience in aligning technology and engineering vision with business strategy. He also serves on the board of advisors of the Center for Identity at the University of Texas, Austin, and is a member of the board at AuthenticID.
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