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4 Major Physical Security Challenges that Automation Can Solve

Physical security teams increasingly turn to automated solutions as automation grows across departments. By automating the operational management of cameras, access control panels, and other devices, these teams can enjoy the reliability and efficiency of automation.

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

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

Challenge #1: Coping with complexity

The fleets of physical security devices that organizations often rely on are large (and growing) and 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. Those fleets of physical security devices often include various models produced by different manufacturers and run numerous firmware versions.

Considering the 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 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.

Organizations can effectively eliminate this complexity by automating the operational management of physical security devices. Unlike the conventional, manual approach to operationally managing those devices, an automated approach doesn’t matter how varied they are. Instead, this approach lets an automated solution monitor and maintain entire fleets of physical security devices – regardless of their type, manufacturer, model, and firmware version. 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 managing many more devices. 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 with their existing ones as they work on a plan to consolidate all of those assets.

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

Challenge #3: Keeping expenses down

The financial burden is one of the most pressing physical security challenges. 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 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, enabling organizations to restart their devices remotely eliminates the need for 70% of truck rolls. An automated solution can streamline communication between physical security and IT teams by automatically notifying the relevant teams with the information they need when device downtime and other issues arise. 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. They must attract and retain enough professionals with the necessary skills to ensure their security stays reliable.

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. An automated solution can also help minimize the chances of employee burnout and turnover by making their employees’ work more manageable. Meanwhile, by simplifying the process of addressing any issues affecting their physical security devices, automation can help physical security teams streamline onboarding new talent. 

Making the most of automation

Physical security teams’ work is (almost) as challenging as it is important. The need to operationally manage various devices is a major factor in their challenges, and automation can empower them to address those challenges efficiently.

Understanding and addressing physical security challenges is crucial for any organization. By considering the key physical security challenges that automation can overcome, these teams can help themselves ensure they’re taking full advantage of automation’s benefits.

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

That’s why we recently published a new eBook that provides 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 ensure that 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.



What are the top physical security challenges faced by organizations today?

Organizations face various physical security challenges, including managing complex and diverse device fleets, scaling security measures with business growth, controlling escalating expenses, and attracting and retaining skilled security professionals.

How can automation address the physical security challenges related to device management?

Automation streamlines the management of diverse physical security devices, regardless of type, manufacturer, or firmware version. This reduces complexity and ensures consistent monitoring and maintenance of all devices, including network switches and video management systems.

In what ways can automation help overcome the physical security challenges associated with mergers and acquisitions?

Automation simplifies scalability during mergers and acquisitions by efficiently managing a sudden increase in devices and integrating new systems, regardless of their number or variety. This minimizes disruption and ensures continuous security during organizational transitions.

How does automation contribute to overcoming the financial physical security challenges organizations face?

Automation significantly reduces expenses by minimizing the need for costly truck rolls, streamlining communication between IT and security teams, and enabling faster root cause analysis for issue resolution. This leads to a more efficient and cost-effective approach to physical security management.

What role does automation play in addressing the workforce-related physical security challenges?

Automation helps attract and retain skilled security professionals by offering a modern, technology-driven work environment with opportunities for skill development. It also simplifies onboarding processes and reduces employee burnout by making tasks more manageable, thus enhancing overall workforce efficiency.

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