“Future-proofing” is the process of designing something to anticipate future developments, making sure that it continues to be useful even when technology changes. A future-proof physical security system is one that provides all the necessary protection and features now but is also ready to support new features and functionalities to address new vulnerabilities and challenges.
Security systems are a big investment — the longer the life of the system or device, the higher the return on investment and the easier it is to justify its purchase. Therefore, it is critical to consider the obsolescence of purchased equipment, as well as its compatibility with future technology.
While wholesale “rip and replace” upgrades for legacy systems that are well past their prime might make business sense in some scenarios, it shouldn’t be the go-to strategy for maintaining systems. It’s an unsustainable practice, not to mention the cost and effort it takes to do so. It is important to take an approach that bridges the gap between what is possible with existing systems and what is needed for future events before resorting to this strategy.
Here are questions to ask in evaluating your current systems and how to future-proof them:
1. Where is there a lack of visibility or gaps within the existing security systems?
2. Where are the redundancies across systems, teams, and processes?
3. Do existing systems have the capability to support the integration and automation necessary to address security gaps and redundancies?
4. How scalable are your current systems, and do they have the capability to adapt quickly should your security needs change?
Avoid using proprietary systems.
If existing systems can’t communicate with each other or are not compatible with any new systems you plan to implement, there will be redundancies, lag time in responses, and frustration among staff and other end users.
A lot of brands and manufacturers in the physical security industry built their business models upon proprietary technologies. One example is having security cameras that only work with the company’s own video management software. Fortunately, the trend now is for increased development of standards that enable interoperability among products and systems.
Use lifecycle planning to monitor equipment obsolescence.
Today’s pace of technological change is unprecedented and will only continue to accelerate. Increases in computing power mean that a multitude of useful features become available – and the more operations the system can perform, the higher the ROI. However, this rapid obsolescence is a very real concern.
Not all products are designed to be upgradeable, and some products have more limited upgrade capabilities than others. This is where the practice of system and product lifecycle planning comes in handy. As systems scale and grow, elements of the system can be addressed individually, depending upon their role.
As equipment nears its end of life, replace it with higher capacity equipment as needed. This practice is more cost-effective than periodic, wholesale “rip and replace” upgrades.
Collaborate with IT and take advantage of cloud-based systems.
One very significant difference between past, current, and future security technologies is the increasing level of IT and cybersecurity involvement. Security convergence, where physical and cybersecurity strategies are brought together to work in conjunction with one another, is becoming more and more prevalent. From an operational standpoint, it is typical to have the following IT functions for physical security systems: product and software configuration, data storage management, network design and transport, as well as computer and network security.
Establishing a future-proof IT and physical security system may mean taking advantage of cloud-based security technologies. While some on-premise systems support integrations and offer cloud-connection options, it’s important to understand the limitations of your systems.
Newer systems are designed to be more interconnected; data is aggregated from across different technologies, such as combining access control with video analytics, which makes for more informed decision-making and improved analytics.
Monitor trends and plan ahead.
Decisions about the future state of your physical security systems shouldn’t be based solely on keeping up with technological advancements, but also on business trends, security practice trends, and risk trends for your organization.
Implementing a plan to future-proof your physical security systems doesn’t happen overnight. It raises concerns about affordability and requires thorough, upfront planning with all stakeholders to create a realistic timeframe for preparation and deployment. Beyond that, it should also consider emerging threats and vulnerabilities and, depending on business goals, any future security needs.
For additional information on security planning and return on investment, read:
Here at Absco Solutions, our goal is to bring our clients peace of mind with a holistic security strategy that safeguards people and properties from current and emerging threats. We are your partner in life-safety and security, providing design, installation and maintenance services, and creating security integrations that will stand the test of time and provide a return on your security investments.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation on your current life-safety and security master plan with a member of our executive team. You can also contact us at email@example.com or 1-800-705-1857 for any feedback, questions, or service needs.