COVID-19 drastically changed most business practices, and security is not an exception. With the global pandemic forcing many businesses to normalise remote work, there is a need to adapt quickly. For the security industry, the impetus to evolve is even stronger as remote operations become more of a necessity than an attractive option to obtain a complete picture of events happening at the workplace.
What challenges does the security industry face to move forward in a world with COVID-19? What potential benefits do security professionals stand to reap from this forced evolution? All projections point to a technological solution for remote security operations. This article will discuss a paradigm shift brought about by a global pandemic, how it is changing the security industry, and the necessary steps to evolve through technology.
What Does Remote Work Look Like In The Security Industry?
The security industry adapted to COVID-19 in the same way as most businesses: reduce the number of on-site employees to limit vectors for infection. However, because patrol guards need to be on-site, companies are exploring remote operations that are facilitated by technology.
Security management software enables security professionals to bridge the communication gap created by remote operations. Managers can assign new routes to guards, manage multiple sites, review reports, and check visitor information while having a full view of operations while on the go.
The technology has existed for a while now, but the pandemic is pushing security companies to adopt technology. This trend toward contactless operations is a necessary step to keep security personnel as safe as possible in their roles as frontrunners.
COVID-19’s Impact on Work: The Rise of WFH
The pandemic forced many businesses to allow their employees to work from home (WFH). Some countries even passed on-site staff restrictions onto law to prevent transmission.
Being such a big departure from a typical office setup, WFH culture comes with a period of adjustment. The company is usually responsible for ensuring that the employees have the resources to work at home, for instance. Many businesses need to change protocols to secure office information that was either logged using pen and paper or kept in an internal network. WFH culture leverages technology heavily to facilitate communications and other transactions that were previously made in person.
The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Security Industry
The security industry is not exempt from the need to adapt. As security services are considered essential, there is a need to adapt and explore new opportunities so that personnel and clients are safe from the new risk vectors that the pandemic introduced.
Heightened safety standards have an impact on security operations. Security officers must also be trained in new processes such as visitor management, where operating thermometers and documenting the health status of the people accessing the sites have become crucial for contact tracing and accountability.
Finally, physical operations must be minimised. Supervisors and managers should learn how to oversee personnel remotely and use the appropriate tools. Ultimately, the crisis has forced the industry to shift towards remote security operations.
Pros and Cons of Remote Security Operations
The minimisation of COVID-19 spread should be seen as the main reason to push for remote security operations. However, on top of COVID-19 prevention, going remote also offers other long-term benefits:
- Employee accountability will be enhanced via cloud-based information storage and security automation tools. Cloud-based security automation tools make it easier for security guards to create detailed incident reports that are faster to review, and painless to retrieve from anywhere and at any time. This speeds up the reporting process, reduces errors, and enhances the guards’ capability.
- Companies can expect increased efficiency as having incident reports and similar details saved in the cloud cuts time and effort wasted on filing and retrieving physical documents. Said resources will need to be reallocated to implementing necessary protocols for containing COVID-19, such as monitoring and sanitation. This shift, specifically, is an evolution that has been available for a while, but was widely seen to be optional before the crisis. Now, remote capabilities have become a necessity because of the pandemic.
- Personnel monitoring will ensure that the security guards stick to their routes, avoid loitering, and do their jobs. Additionally, real-time tracking gives personnel additional security; their superiors will be alerted if an incident would divert a security officer from their route and send a response team to react to the emergency. This benefit circles back to ensuring the safety of the officer. By providing the security supervisor with clear channels of communication, the officers themselves will have better protection.
Of course, making the move towards remote security operations will present a fresh set of challenges that need to be anticipated and addressed:
- Additional training will be needed. Security officers have varying levels of tech-savviness, literacy, and numeracy. Thus, they need to be trained to use the technology. A solution would be an accessible platform that security officers can grasp easily, one that is specifically designed for remote security operations, easy to use, and feature-rich in order to help guards adapt to change. Generic documentation and monitoring solutions might not suffice due to the broad variation of tech literacy among security guards. Solutions that use graphical icons, for example, will help ease the transition for those with low literacy.
- Low-bandwidth areas present a problem for a tech-based solution that relies on internet connectivity. Many assets are located in places that simply aren’t conducive to a stable connection to the internet. Some businesses even operate in countries with poor connectivity. A means to relay information through the weakest connections is necessary for remote security operations to be possible under these conditions.
- The added expense of providing technological solutions in terms of software and infrastructure might be a challenge to some companies. However, a software as a service (SaaS) option eliminates the need to purchase hardware to maintain the data and kick-start the process, as everything is stored in the cloud. Another way to keep costs manageable is to use a platform that can be used with earlier smartphone models. These phones can usually be acquired cheaper in bulk and are easier to replace in the event of loss or damage.
COVID-19 forced businesses to restructure, specifically because security personnel are in the frontlines and thus require adequate resources to ensure their safety. Remote security operations provide a measure of this safety, as well as other benefits that help streamline business operations as a whole.
The changes that the crisis has forced upon security companies can be managed by finding a platform that addresses the critical factors that make the difference in the very health and well-being of its employees. Learn more about how Security Risk can benefit your transition to remote security operations.