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What has changed in physical security budgeting now

What has changed in physical security budgeting now
Technology and business outlook have changed the way physical security departments view budgeting. Here's what the experts have to say.
The physical security industry has undergone rapid changes in recent years as technology advances, and threats become more sophisticated. In line with this, budgeting for security has also changed, with customers increasingly aware of the various options to get better returns on their investments.
 
We can broadly classify these changes into technological and financial. On the technology side, the key factors to consider include the arrival of smart algorithms and cloud-based solutions. Factors on the financial side are more connected to the macroeconomic situation, beginning from the COVID-19 period to the post-pandemic constraints and geopolitical threats.
 
This article explores such changes in detail and how customers overcome the challenges of physical security budgeting in the current scenario.

Taking advantage of technological changes

Technology changes constantly, and security is no exception. We’ve advanced way beyond basic surveillance solutions and access control systems, gearing up to make maximum advantage of AI, analytics, and other technologies to protect and secure, increase productivity, inform the business, and reduce human effort.
 
According to Glenn Adair, A&E Development Manager at i-PRO Americas, there are so many different ways to do things that it can be overwhelming. No single technology can solve every problem.
 
“Integrators and organizations need to take the time to understand not only how new technologies work, but how they interact with people and processes before deciding to deploy them,” Adair pointed out. “What looks good on paper may not work for your specific challenges or your internal operations. Be open to new technologies, but make sure they address a specific risk you’ve identified.”
 
Newer technology in the security space has allowed systems to be better monitored and managed remotely. According to David Chauvin, Director for Professional Services at Genetec, this trend has accelerated due to the public health restrictions of the last two years. But it has also brought in several concerns.
 
“This has allowed end-users to get more insight into their systems without the need for engineers to constantly be on site, reducing both expenses and time spent on projects,” Chauvin said. “That being said, the growing trend of remote work, combined with personal devices being admitted on corporate networks, has also accelerated cyberattacks against organizations from all regions and sectors. Hence, it’s never been more important to ensure all systems are configured properly and that all risks are mitigated.”
 
AJ Frazer, Chief Revenue Officer at Irisity, pointed out that as more platforms support an automated future, customers can realign their budgets to account for additional use cases.
 
“For example, video analytics can be used to enhance security and automate risk identification, but it can also be used for training and compliance purposes,” Frazer said. “A video surveillance system may have once required a team to analyze every motion on the screens, but AI-powered solutions can now detect specific motions and automate response.”

To cloud or not to cloud

The increased interest in the cloud has had a significant impact on the way customers view security investments. This is not just because of the reduced capital expenditure. Jeff Ross, Director of Marketing at ACRE, explained that the “as-a-service” business model seeing a dramatic increase in popularity over the past few years, and it’s important for clients to understand that, unlike other traditional methods on the market, the technology requirements that come with SaaS solutions are typically met by the service provider instead of the end user.
 
“Usually, this means that SaaS solutions can make it easier to plan a security budget by eliminating the need to constantly spend on hardware upgrades by shifting the responsibility to the service provider instead,” Ross said.
 
However, not everyone is convinced that customers are more interested in a pure cloud-based solution. Robert Wall, CTO of Edge360, explained that his company sees a shift back to more traditional on-premise and hybrid approaches as customers realize the importance of factoring longevity, scalability, and modern solutions as part of the budgeting process.
 
“For years, security leaders have relied on antiquated platforms as the basis for their security programs,” Wall said. “Now, we're seeing more end users look to deploy solutions, such as video management software, that are based on modern IT practices as they look to future-proof their environments. 

Ensuring more value for investments

Historically, inflation has played a significant role in how businesses plan their budgets, and in the security industry, businesses are finding new ways to work around rising costs. Justin  Wilmas, President of Netwatch North America, pointed out that as technology progresses, business owners continually find themselves faced with more options to pick from, and the choices they make can make or break their security budget for the year.
 
“For instance, security guards may have been a cost-effective and reliable solution to address crime 20 years ago, but today, on-site personnel have become incredibly costly compared to the more recent solutions introduced to the market,” Wilmas explained. “Video monitoring services and solutions, for example, have proven to be a more cost-effective option. Modern as-a-service solutions, like proactive video monitoring, also offer the potential to offset significant repair and maintenance costs because criminal activity is thwarted before the loss can occur.”  

Conclusion

For businesses, getting more value for their money is more crucial now than ever. Fortunately, security technology is no longer about reactive cameras and recorded footage. With advanced AI-based solutions, customers in any vertical can make use of surveillance cameras to improve operational efficiency.
 
Options like cloud-based solutions, as-a-service products, and hybrid systems allow customers to achieve more flexibility with their investments as well. Depending on their financial situation and long-term goals, the customer can now decide how much to invest and still ensure complete protection.
 
But all this does not reduce the bleak outlook that the global economy is staring at. By any measure, most businesses are going to struggle. Layoffs are already a part of many large companies, and other cost-cutting measures are on the way. A funding crunch is a reality for startups. For physical security departments, ensuring a measured and careful approach to budgeting is essential.
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