SRI examines impact of advanced technologies on physical security solutions

The Security Research Initiative (SRI) has just published its latest report entitled ‘The Evolution of Physical Security Measures: Assessing the Benefits and Implications’. The aim of the work was to develop a better understanding of the ways in which physical security measures are being enhanced by Internet-enabled technologies (referenced as ‘advanced technologies’) and the implications this has on security practice.

While there are many potential benefits to advanced technology, to date there has been less focus on whether and how those benefits are realised.

The final report is based on a survey of security professionals as well as a series of in-depth interviews with both security professionals and offenders involved in a variety of acquisitive crimes. It demonstrates that many of the traditional elements of good security are still important today, and perhaps all the more so because of technological advancements. These include good products where security is designed-in, a good security strategy guided by the broader needs of the business, recognition of the potential barriers to implementation and the need to chart a path for circumventing those barriers, effective implementation and management, ‘savvy’ security staff with skills in both security and business and, last but not least, good user engagement with programmes.

The report demonstrates how offenders adapt quickly to circumvent advanced technology and find ways to exploit it to their benefit, highlighting the fallibility of even the most advanced systems and most especially when they’re not designed, installed and managed effectively.

Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI

Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI

Speaking about the SRI’s latest report, Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI, director of Perpetuity Research and the leader on this study, noted: “Speaking to both offenders and security professionals, it’s significant that, while advances in technology can make offending harder by presenting new challenges to overcome and can enable a more informed and efficient response, those advances can also present new opportunities to offenders, not least the ability to be anonymous by offending remotely. Notably, people remain crucial – to implement and use technology effectively and to respond effectively to the incidents that technology can identify.”

Gill – who co-authored the 85-page report with Charlotte Howell, Caitlyn McGeer and Jospehine Ramm – continued: “Offenders are used to having to adapt and will learn how to overcome the problem of security or find an alternative method or target. This research is a timely reminder that advanced technology, while undoubtedly holding a number of benefits for physical security, is not a panacea.”

*A copy of ‘The Evolution of Physical Security Measures: Assessing the Benefits and Implications’ is downloadable from the website 

**The Security Research Initiative is sponsored by the security sector (ie buyers and suppliers) and involves an annual study. The reports are made available free of charge in order to provide a more informed information base about the workings of the security sector

***The SRI members that sponsored this piece of research were ICTS (UK and Ireland), Interr, Kings Secure Technologies, KPMG, M&S, Mitie, OCS, PwC, Securitas, the Security Industry Authority, Sodexo, Ultimate Security Services and VSG

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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