Security Foresights for the New Year

Security Foresights for the New Year

Data is becoming more digital and systems are becoming more integrated

It is hard to type in 2-0-2-0, but the reality is 2020 is finally here. Once upon a time, this was the year when cars could fly, human immune systems healed themselves and cops could stop a crime dead in its tracks. While some of these things are still more of a dream than a reality, the last one is becoming more viable every day.

Today, we can safely say that data is becoming more digital, systems are becoming more integrated and security is becoming more predictive. So, while we may not have flying cars, we have come a long way. And we are only going to get smarter and more innovative from here. Below are the top trends we might see in 2020, and beyond.

Six Trends for 2020

Zero-trust environments converge. Cybersecurity is teaching us the enemy is most likely already inside your organization; however, physical security is just beginning our digital transformation and is steadily adopting this zero-trust mentality. The challenge: finding physical security tools that can secure your facility the same way IT secures your network. The good news is we do not have to pave a new path. Physical security can learn from mistakes witnessed in InfoSec, as well as adopt established best practices to ensure this digital transformation is simple and secure.

Risk-adaptive technologies have started to emerge in the physical security market. Access control is becoming aware of individual behavior and intelligent enough to make sure staff does not enter risky environments. Unification platforms are not just looking at camera feeds, but are integrating non-traditional information feeds, such as operational technology, network security and even social media posts. And analytics are becoming predictive rather than forensic. As technologies and methodologies converge, security postures will become more connected and proactive, making our overall society safer. Security directors – and citizens alike – can have peace of mind, even in the modern, low-trust environments of a dynamic enterprise.

Search for more meaning. Data without context is just noise. Data will continue to explode, requiring greater context and intelligence to understand, reflect and improve upon current- and -historical trends. This will be supported by increasing reliance on AI and neural networks to predict behaviors, prevent security problems, and increase efficiencies and effectiveness of physical and cybersecurity teams for higher-level problem solving and purpose.

Rather than an AI revolution, we will see an AI evolution. In the US, AI has increased worker productivity while contributing to a growing number of new job and economic growth. Together, new technologies, data, AI and robotics will work together to significantly improve our output and lifestyle by supplementing where we are weak and complementing where we are strong.

Focus on governance. Permission is one thing, governance is another. Security has relied on static-access control to ensure staff can enter the correct facilities as needed. By giving someone a credential, you are giving them your trust. But how do you verify that trust is not being abused?

The answer is new to physical security, but an accepted one in IT: governance.

Governance and compliance will soon begin creeping into physical security because of the impact of digital transformation. Regulations for handling sensitive, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data will come into focus, offering a system of checks and balances on data ownership, proper segmentation of data and safe handling of physical security data.

Conditional privacy concept. Privacy is paramount until safety is at risk. Security and privacy are two sides of the same coin. And in the past, these have been mutually exclusive - meaning that we will keep the information secured - but that data could be relevant to keeping someone physically safe. Furthermore, as a member of the SIA Data Privacy advisory board, I can assure you security practitioners keep this top of mind.

But rather than the standard privacy “or” security, can we use “and” to have our cake and eat it too? Systems that are aware of an operation’s current risk status can help eliminate this false ultimatum and better balance privacy and safety concerns based on the current environment. You can loosely think of this as ‘conditional privacy’ or ‘safety-adjusted privacy.’ This will help improve physical security, while maintaining data privacy regulations.

Increased automation. Automation can sound scary. But automated safety sounds ok, right? Robots are great at supplementing where humans are weak, and in physical security there are plenty of applications where we are physically or logically vulnerable. Physical security has lagged behind IT and the rest of the enterprise when it comes to tools, but 2020 will be the year when practitioners begin to trust some of these newer technologies that allow the automation of security monitoring, threat detection, guard tours and even incident response.

Automation will allow operators to go beyond the antiquated and reactive, “watch everything and do something” approach into a focused, analytical mindset with technology that tells operators when and where human attention is needed. Physical security will rely on automation for improved detection and better responses. We are already seeing robots used in active shooter situations to save the lives of cops, and can expect new use cases in robotics to allow us to perform higher-order work and do our jobs more strategically.

Smarter, safer cities and buildings. Cities and buildings around the world will become increasingly sophisticated, automated and coordinated through more digital transformation; enabling safer, cleaner, healthier and more environmentally efficient places to live and work. Multi-metrics to analyze all of those IoT devices and sensors will become more integrated into security systems for buildings and high-traffic areas to more intelligently protect, predict, and understand human patterns and behaviors in the environment. The use of biometrics will also increase, including more widespread adoption of facial recognition technology and other “privacy-friendly” forms data, such as gait analysis that can identify unique individuals.

Improved authorization models for zero-trust environments, physical access governance, increased intelligence and further automation are paving the future for a smarter, more private and secure society. The future in 2020 and beyond looks brighter, safer and more secure thanks to rapid advancements in technology, and our willingness to embrace the changes. The vision is clear: 2020 will be the year of proactive security postures.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Security Today.

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