Exclusive: An integrated approach to post-COVID security

Francesca Boeris, Managing Director, Comelit Group UK looks at the latest key security trends as businesses plan for the future.

For security managers, COVID-19 presented new and unique challenges that put them on the front lines in protecting people, property and assets. In the 2021 Smart Security Trends Report, 75% of respondents said the “coronavirus pandemic increased the importance of physical security within their organisations.” 

Organisations that had workers on-site to perform essential services had to quickly enforce new health and safety protocols, including temperature and face mask screening and social distancing. Businesses with a new primarily remote workforce also had to monitor and manage access to empty and increasingly vulnerable buildings against common threats such as theft, vandalism and arson.

Plus there was a need to be able to constantly adapt to changing regulations and coordinate activity through extended lockdowns and short yet heavily restricted periods of openings. 

For many, this meant putting greater focus on physical security, not only to keep people out, but also increasingly to help the right people gain access and get on with their work, without significantly impacting throughput and operations. And in reality, without centralised security solutions in place, many struggled to manage day to day operations.

Integration is key

As we now work towards an end goal to ‘return to normal,’ the pandemic greatly accelerated one key digital transformation trend: security managers now recognise the need for cloud solutions. So much so, the top physical security technology goal for 2021 is better integration between security and other systems. This result highlights how security operations need to be more centralised and efficient to manage.

Of course, the move to cloud based services isn’t new, with more security devices being connected over the internet, making them part of the IoT world. In our homes, we have been fast adopting facial recognition together with Alexa and Google Home integration, including into Comelit’s own door entry functionality, to conveniently manage our day to day lives. 

Taking another step, Comelit also works hard to ensure its IP based solutions can integrate into many systems, including within the Comelit range, such as video surveillance, intruder alarms and even fire safety solutions. And in many cases, these systems can be installed on a single network to provide ultimate safety and efficient security services.

So it’s unsurprising that out-dated approaches to the day to-day business security interactions are no longer acceptable for the average employer or, indeed, employee.   Likewise, in the past, organisations may have fared well managing disparate systems with different platforms and interfaces, but today’s security challenges require a robust, integrated program backed by a holistic strategy.  

In fact, 60% of respondents to the Smart Security Trends Report said they either see a need for immediate cloud-based technology upgrades or are considering the tech in the near term.   

Additionally, 26% said such technology for enforcing contact tracing, social distancing and healthy building compliance requirements is critical for a post-pandemic response and success.

One system visibility

There is another key factor that blends with the fast paced adoption of integrated security systems and this is the advances in one system management capability to offer greater efficiencies. 

Again it is something we have become accustomed to in our home security, where, taking a mobile first app approach, such as Comelit’s home security app that is free to download, provides users with one simple and effective place to go to control their home. Gone are the days of app overload, where users need several different applications which clog their device’s storage or drain the battery.

From a business perspective, this expectation is no different to offer a seamless security solution that is easily controllable from a single management platform, accessible by authorised personnel with 24-hour coverage, without compromising on innovation or compliance to latest legislation.

Comelit is imminently launching a management integration system for intrusion, fire and video surveillance alarms, allowing users the opportunity to monitor each system from a single location and show the updated status of all devices on graphic maps, simplifying the work of dedicated staff. This includes viewing live or remotely the video recordings, allowing operators real time monitoring options of sites under observation, as well as viewing images recorded by the system.

Evolving technology

As businesses look to bounce back from the pandemic, such efficiency savings will be critical to success, allowing teams to re-evaluate where staff and resources are most needed and redeploy them accordingly to ensure a great returning customer experience.

In summary, if 2020 and the first half of 2021 has taught us anything, as we look to the future, it is to expect the unexpected. The sweeping and immediate impact of COVID-19 brought new challenges to light that exposed organisations to unfamiliar issues when it came to adapting their environment for the safety and security of staff.

As employers now benefit from the opportunity to reopen facilities beyond essential staff and welcome customers to experience new offerings in a safe and secure environment, the need to simplify ‘behind the scenes’ operations is critical to success. Here, security challenges have changed and so have the solutions organisations require.

The value of cloud-based security solutions is more apparent now than ever before. The ability to access on-site security systems remotely and rapidly respond to emerging threats or changing environments is key to ensuring an organisation’s security.

Evolving technology means that today, cloud based services can be combined with an integrated approach that will lay the foundation for a more secure future. And as organisations adapt to the changes brought forth by COVID-19, it’s critical to keep an eye toward the future when implementing and integrating new security technologies.

In considering these technologies as part of a long-term strategy, as opposed to a short-term solution, organisations can develop a more resilient and coherent security program that can propel them forward and prepare them for the future, whatever it may bring.

For more information on Comelit’s integration capability, please visit www.comelitgroup.com.

This article was originally published in the June 2021 edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital copy of the magazine, click here.