Before we delve into where overlap exists between physical security and IT today and where greater efficiencies could be achieved via convergence, we must first review how these functional areas have evolved within organizations.
Historically, physical security in corporations has been viewed through the lens of what many in the industry refer to as “guns, guards and gates,” which really marginalizes the valuable contributions that security personnel make to improve the bottom line of businesses. This mischaracterization of security still permeates many organizations; however, the fact is that security leaders today come from a wide range of backgrounds and business experiences and they are helping to change these outdated stereotypes.
IT professionals have typically been those responsible for implementing and maintaining all the various technology systems, such as computer networks and applications, that a business depends on to properly operate. Of course, the number of systems that IT is responsible for today has expanded well beyond desktop PCs, email services and Microsoft Office programs to include a wide range of solutions, including many security technologies that reside on the corporate network.
As their role in implementing and maintaining security systems has grown through the years, IT professionals have also been given a seat at the table when it comes to the procurement of these solutions. A study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group on behalf of Axis Communications several years back found that more than 90% of surveillance deployments involve IT departments. Additionally, 47% of IT professionals surveyed for the study indicated that their group was the most responsible for setting the organization’s surveillance strategy and making final infrastructure purchasing decisions.
IT is also being leaned on more heavily when it comes to making decisions related to buying and deploying access control technologies. A survey recently conducted by HID Global of more than 1,500 IT managers and staff as well as CIOs and CTOs found that IT is primarily responsible or has shared responsibility for access control within 55% of organizations. In addition, 76% of respondents said that IT would continue to influence technology decisions related to physical security.
Systems integrators also say that the shift of buying power to IT has had a profound impact on their businesses. According to the 2019 State of the Industry report published by Security Business magazine, 32% of integrators surveyed identified this shift as one of the biggest threats to the commercial integration market.