10 Myths about Technology Adoption in Physical Security

By Daniel Young, Michael J. Martin | April 5, 2023 | 5 min read

Technology has come a long way in a few short years, changing many industries for the better. Today’s tech makes companies more efficient, more agile, and better able to achieve business goals. Not everyone has signed up for the digital revolution, however. The physical security industry is notoriously slow to change, especially when it comes to adopting new technology.

Misunderstandings about technology adoption and mistrust about new ways of doing things play a role when it comes to our industry’s reluctance to change. However, many reasons a company might be slow to try out a promising new technology are based on myths.

The reverse is also true: every once in a while we see someone who is excited to adopt new technology, but doesn’t understand what it cannot (or should not) do.

Because misunderstandings are themselves a risk, we’re taking aim at 10 myths about new technology that we’ve seen in the security industry.

1. ‘It’s never happened before, so we don’t need technology to deal with it.’

Security can be a reactive industry. In many cases, companies that are adopting new technology are doing so because an incident has occurred and they want to prevent it from happening again. It may have been foreseeable, but because it never happened before, the risk was not prepared for.

This sort of knee-jerk reaction can lead to a number of security problems. The organization might be overprotecting and wasting money, or they might be underprotecting and putting themselves at risk for another incident. Without being proactive and performing a risk analysis, the company can’t truly know.

2. Just throwing technology at a problem will fix it.

For people who are eager to adopt, they may feel that a new solution will solve their problems all by itself. That’s not true; technology doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It needs to be supported by people, policies, culture, and practices.

For example, some organizations have rules preventing their sites from using specific controls, and some municipalities won’t allow certain technology.

3. The buzziest technology is the best new technology.

You might have heard a colleague sing the praises of a specific technology. You might have read articles and watched videos about it. Although the solution might be excellent, it also might not be the answer to the problem you’re trying to solve.

It’s tempting to invest in the first solution you see, or the one your friends are talking about, but it’s worth your while to do your research. Technology is changing so quickly that there may be a better solution you’re not aware of yet. Be willing to explore and investigate.

4. Digital solutions aren’t safe unless they have every cybersecurity certification.

When purchasing software-based solutions, physical security professionals are (rightly) concerned about data security. However, many have often fallen victim to cybersecurity buzz about certifications. For example, many security professionals insist on SOC II Type 2 compliance for all new platforms. What they don’t realize is that many solutions don’t require it. Before making decisions, talk to your IT department and understand what they require for security. In many cases, the requirement might just include a questionnaire and a conversation with the vendor.

5. ‘What if the startup fails?’

The startup world is responsible for many new technologies entering the market, but startups also get a bad rap as being unreliable and liable to fail. That’s not true of all startups. Do your due diligence when considering buying from a startup, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

6. ‘Technology is going to take our jobs.’

Being automated out of a job is a common fear, but although technology may create efficiencies, you will always need a human analyst or technologist to work with the solution. In this case, technology is creating better jobs, freeing up humans for higher-order tasks.

Additionally, you can’t simply use a technology solution on its own in many security use cases; there should be layers of redundancy. For example, you can’t just use a kiosk check-in system in a lobby; there should also be a camera and two-way communication device in case the kiosk fails. Failing that, there should be a way to send an officer to the site to handle check-ins manually.

7. ‘Technology creates more liability for us.’

Some companies are concerned that technology means they’ll be aware of issues on site, and that those safety issues will be documented, thus causing more liabilities for the organization. This isn’t true; the safety issues alone represent a liability. Technology simply helps you track and remediate those issues.

8. ‘It’s more secure to have paper reports.’

Many people are under the impression that paper reports are more secure than the cloud. If you make a copy of a report, you know where it is and can control it, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. While there are controls on the cloud, there aren’t often any controls around paper documents. What’s more vulnerable, for example, than a visitor log book sitting unattended in your lobby?

9. ‘My older workers won’t be able to understand new tech.’

When it comes to technology, age really isn’t anything but a number. While, yes, many boomers do have trouble with technology, there are many others who adapt to technology well. Conversely, younger workers are not always proficient with new technology at work - for one thing, they may not understand the task being replaced by the technology. Everyone on your staff needs the same support and the same training.

10. The technology is static and you’re stuck with it.

Buyers often wrongly think digital solutions are like an off-the-shelf product at a store. You buy it and that’s it: it’s going to be the same product the entire time. What they don’t understand is that technology changes. It’s updated regularly, and you’re able to work with the vendor to make recommendations. In fact, the sooner you get in on a new tech, the more influence you’re going to have on the direction of that technology.

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