Evolving Threats: Planning and Investing in Physical Access Control Infrastructure

Stay Informed

For three years now, HID Global has conducted research for their annual State of Physical Access Control Report issued every January. In this article, we will review highlights from HID Global’s 2021 edition of this report. The data that HID Global gathers and reports on is gleaned from over 1,000 responses to their Access Control Systems Trends Survey, which is distributed to security professionals in small, medium and large businesses across many industries, including the education, technology, government, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.

In the 2021 report, there were some significant shifts when compared to the trends and challenges that surfaced in the 2020 report. For reference, mobile access and apps ranked as a top trend shaping the access control industry in 2020. And noted among the greatest prepandemic challenges were aging technology and an expanding, diversifying threat environment.

A Safe Return to Work Is Top of Mind

Although protecting against the rising threat of security vulnerabilities still ranked high among 2021 challenges, it was largely overshadowed by the most pressing challenge of all, which was ensuring a safe return to the workplace and managing the immediate health threat caused by COVID-19. Mitigating the risk of infection has been critical, and access control technologies offer options that can help support a safe, secure work environment.  The trend toward touchless access control has been overwhelming — and in direct response to the necessary demand for it.

New Challenges Bring New Opportunities

While ensuring a safe return to work comes with its own set of challenges, such as implementing new procedures and leveraging technology to alleviate employee concerns, it also brings a whole new range of opportunities. For security professionals looking to adopt COVID-compliant access solutions, the time to make improvements has never been better.

As the report states, “Security professionals have new opportunities to demonstrate how upgrading access control infrastructure to respond to threats nets positive return on investment while improving security, user convenience and organizational efficiency.”

Getting More From Upgrades

As HID Global’s 2021 report shows, mobile credentialing now ranks as one of the top upgrade drivers in the access control market. Specifically, the survey results show that more than 50 percent of respondents’ companies have already upgraded to mobile, are in the process of upgrading to mobile or have plans to deploy mobile access in the near future.

Upgraded systems can send credentials to any authorized device, anywhere, allowing employees and visitors to be provisioned without a face-to-face interaction. These credentials can also be used for network access to computers, releasing print jobs and paying for vending.

Making Working Together Work

As physical security and IT convergence projects increase, it makes good sense for security and IT departments to collaborate more as well. Credentialing is a prime example of how a closer alignment between security and IT teams can improve an organization’s overall systems and processes.

Committed to a Safe and Secure 2021

The trends highlighted in HID Global’s 2021 report clearly show how deeply the pandemic has impacted industries’ access control strategies. Implementing various touchless and mobile solutions will not only help ensure a safer return to work but can also deliver long-term improvements to enhance operational efficiencies.

To learn more, check out the on-demand Expert Webinar to gain more insights from the HID 2021 State of Access Control Report.

EVOLVING THREATS: Planning and Investing in Physical Access Control Infrastructure