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INSIGHTS

How to budget for physical security in a turbulent 2023

How to budget for physical security in a turbulent 2023
Budgeting for physical security has become even more difficult in 2023 as recession fears loom.
One of the biggest challenges in ensuring effective security is obtaining the necessary funds. For many companies, physical security continues to remain an expense, despite modern AI-enabled video analytics solutions adding value to business operations. For security officers, convincing their company heads of further investment is often a difficult task.

The situation becomes more complicated in the current global economic landscape, which expects slowdowns and recessions to hurt businesses in the short term. In late 2022, the World Bank stated that it expects global growth to slow significantly in 2023 as more countries fall into recession. Other reports suggest that corporate earnings growth is expected to slow in the year ahead in many countries as higher inflation and rising interest rates take an even more significant toll, and companies brace for the likelihood of a global economic downturn.

The threat of the pandemic has also not eased completely, raising concerns, especially at public spaces like airports and border entry points. Asmag.com recently spoke to some key industry experts to understand their take on this subject and offer suggestions on security budgeting for end customers.

Predicting in an unpredictable world

Making a security budget has always been about understanding the risks an organization faces and what’s needed to mitigate them to an acceptable level cost-effectively. Glenn Adair, A&E Development Manager at i-PRO Americas, pointed out that the last few years have shown us that it’s increasingly difficult to predict what the risks will be and how to fight them.

“Factoring in flexibility, specifically, the ease of expanding or adapting a system is important,” Adair said. “Investing in technology that is open and portable rather than relying on proprietary systems helps you avoid paying for something just because it’s too expensive to abandon.”
Flexibility is the key factor here. Any investments that lock the customer into a particular ecosystem increase the risk, which is best avoided in today’s scenario.

3 decisive factors in security budgets of 2023 

David Chauvin, Director of Professional Services at Genetec, explained that there are three primary factors at play in today’s climate. They offer a combination of issues related to technology and staff for the end customers to consider.
  1. Benefits beyond security

As technology around security systems becomes more integrated, it’s important to properly understand how this investment can help solve additional business problems. This can overcome the conventional thought process that pits security as an expense.  

“Therefore, future security budgets should not only account for the upkeep and maintenance of the initial infrastructure but also be used to better understand what is possible with the current systems in place and take a more holistic view of operational deficiencies that could be solved with what is currently in place,” Chauvin said.

For instance, video analytics solutions at a retail store can help businesses gather actionable insights by detecting dwell times, heat maps, and other features. No longer will companies have to guess which products are the most popular or use ineffective measurements to calculate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Almost every industry can benefit from the use of analytics.
  1. Cybersecurity measures

Chauvin pointed out that cybersecurity is top of mind for most organizations, as shown by several surveys and studies. Over recent years, cybersecurity threats have become increasingly sophisticated. Ensuring that all systems, including those linked to physical security, are properly configured to minimize risks should be considered a top priority.

“As systems expand and multiple people access them for configuration purposes, it’s important to remember that yearly assessments of the systems in place and their configuration are one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve an organization’s cybersecurity posture,” Chauvin said.

Depending on the industry, the number of connected devices that are being used continues to rise. IoT and IIoT are becoming integral to several sectors, like smart manufacturing, which is becoming more and more aware of the benefits of using intelligent sensors and algorithms.
  1. Focus on finding the right talent

The third crucial factor has to do with people. The physical security industry has always had difficulties in finding the best people. Unlike cybersecurity and software engineering, the number of fresh graduates interested in the physical security sector is low.

“As we face challenges with the labor market, we’ve noticed more and more end-users who see staffing (both from an operational and technological standpoint) as a critical challenge in 2023,” Chauvin said. “Therefore, it’s important to seek options, whether through system integrators, consultants or manufacturers, with experts on hand who can become force multipliers and help mitigate challenges linked to talent acquisition and retention.”
 
Making this more difficult is the fact that there are very few educational institutions that offer formal courses and training in physical security. Even potential employees who may be interested in this field find it difficult to learn it.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the world is going through a difficult phase. Economic concerns stemming from the pandemic, as well as geopolitical tensions, have made things difficult for businesses across the globe. News of layoffs is becoming more and more common, creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. In fact, some reports even suggest that tech companies are now laying off more people than they did during the 2008 Great Recession.  
 
This puts end-user security departments in a tight spot as they cannot compromise on their operations but has to budget their needs strategically. Making use of the latest technologies that offer operational benefits is critical here, which could help companies ensure an overall reduction in cost. Keeping tight cybersecurity while finding the right people and making the best of the resources is also essential.  
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