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4 Major Physical Security Challenges that Automation Can Solve

As the use of automation grows across departments, physical security teams are increasingly turning to automated solutions. By automating the operational management of cameras, access control panels, and other devices, these teams can enjoy the reliability and efficiency that automation can offer.

But taking a closer look, how do physical security teams differ from other departments in terms of the benefits that automation offers them and the challenges that it enables them to overcome? Beyond the general benefits of reliability and efficiency (which are far from unique to physical security), it’s important to have a clear sense of the specific benefits that automation can offer physical security teams in order to help them use automation effectively.

With that in mind, here’s a look at four of the biggest challenges that automation can help physical security teams to overcome.

Challenge #1: Coping with complexity

The fleets of physical security devices that organizations often rely on are not only large (and growing), but also varied. It’s common for physical security teams to use a range of device types including IP cameras, access control panels, and more – not to mention the various management systems that these devices depend on. And those fleets of physical security devices often include various models, which were produced by different manufacturers and run numerous firmware versions.

Considering that variety of devices, it’s not hard to see how managing them becomes such a complex project. While relying on those devices without adequately managing them is risky business, many organizations find their operational management to be too time-consuming and expensive to be feasible. Adding to that challenge, physical security devices are often spread over a large area, and in many cases deployed across multiple locations.

By automating the operational management of physical security devices, organizations can effectively eliminate this complexity. Unlike the conventional, manual approach to operationally managing those devices, an automated approach means that it doesn’t matter how varied they are. Instead, this approach lets an automated solution take care of monitoring and maintaining entire fleets of physical security devices – regardless of their type, their manufacturer, their model, and their firmware version. And if that automated solution is comprehensive, it can also keep track of related assets such as network switches and video management systems on which physical security devices rely.

Challenge #2: Scalability

As organizations grow, so do their physical security needs. And when they grow suddenly – as in the case of mergers and acquisitions – navigating the sharp jump in their physical security requirements can be exceptionally difficult.

The physical security challenges that come with M&As aren’t just a matter of suddenly having many more devices to manage. These scenarios often leave physical security teams inheriting fleets of devices from manufacturers they weren’t previously working with, supported by unfamiliar management systems. Then they are stuck with the uphill battle of juggling these new devices and systems together with their existing ones, as they work on a plan for consolidating all of those assets.

While doing all of that manually is virtually impossible, automation makes scalability simple. A comprehensively automated solution can handle the operational management of an entire fleet of physical security devices – regardless of both their number and their variety. This way, an automated approach to the operational management of physical security devices can help physical security teams minimize the growing pains that often follow mergers and acquisitions.

Challenge #3: Keeping expenses down

Just purchasing and installing 1,000 physical security devices can easily cost $2 million to $3 million, and managing those devices over time isn’t cheap. For example, the truck rolls on which many organizations rely for maintenance are expensive – while communication difficulties and a lack of information can result in unnecessary work for IT and physical security teams, adding to ongoing costs.

To keep those expenses down, organizations need enhanced communication, collaboration, and cooperation – not only between their physical security and IT teams, but also with external partners such as systems integrators. They also need a more cost-effective alternative to truck rolls.

In the face of those challenges, an automated approach to operationally managing physical security devices can make a powerful difference in lowering expenses. For starters, just by enabling organizations to restart their devices remotely, this approach eliminates the need for 70% of truck rolls. And by automatically notifying the relevant teams with the information they need when device downtime and other issues arise, an automated solution can streamline communication between physical security and IT teams. It can also help with root cause analysis – making it far faster, easier, and less expensive to diagnose and resolve issues that arise.

Challenge #4: Employee recruitment, onboarding, and retention

Today’s organizations face a serious physical security workforce shortage, while their physical security needs keep growing. To make sure their security stays reliable over time, they need to attract and retain enough professionals with the necessary skills.

Meanwhile, the workforce’s changing demographics add to the challenge. Millennials – now the largest generation in the U.S. – are especially attracted to companies that offer the latest and greatest technologies. That makes it particularly important for physical security teams to provide an environment that embraces automated tech and offers opportunities for skill development.

By tapping into the power of automation, physical security teams can make themselves more appealing to prospective new members. And by making their employees’ work more manageable, an automated solution can help minimize the chances of employee burnout and turnover. Meanwhile, by simplifying the process of addressing any issues that affect their physical security devices, automation can help physical security teams streamline the process of onboarding new talent. 

Making the most of automation

The work of physical security teams is (almost) as challenging as it is important. The need to operationally manage a wide variety of devices is a major factor in the challenges they face, and automation can empower them to address those challenges efficiently.

By keeping in mind the key physical security challenges that automation can overcome, these teams can help themselves make sure they’re taking full advantage of the benefits of automation.

Of course, for any organization looking to streamline the operational management of its physical security devices, there’s more to keep in mind than just the benefits of automation. There are plenty of challenges and nuances to tackle in order to ensure an organization can achieve the desired return on investment.

That’s why we recently published a new eBook providing a deeper dive into how physical security teams can make the most of automation. It includes a breakdown of three critical criteria to help you make sure your approach to automation is comprehensive enough to meet your needs.

For a closer look at how to help your physical security team tap into the power of automation, check out The Guide to Successfully Automating Physical Security Device Management

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