While COVID-19 caused widespread disruption and many challenges for businesses, its sudden arrival prompted some very quick decision-making around how to maintain operations. For some businesses, cloud-based video conferencing solutions provided a welcome alternative to meeting face-to-face. A year on and it seems that this sudden and mass adoption of cloud has accelerated a digital transformation process in other departments. Physical security too is increasingly moving to the cloud in the form of hosted solutions, where Video Surveillance as-a-Service (VSaaS) is providing comprehensive protection across a range of industries and sectors.

To better understand the impact of this migration to the cloud, hosted security provider Morphean commissioned a survey of 1000 senior decision-makers across the UK, Germany, and Sweden, working in HR, facilities management, IT, and security. As well as ascertaining purchasing intent around hosted security applications among a broad spectrum of buyers, the results would provide key indications around the abilities of cloud to benefit organizations in regard to both security and business operations.

An increasing urgency around VSaaS and ACaaS adoption

Low costs, flexible scalability, demand for real-time and remote access to security data are key to the adoption of hosted solutions Survey results revealed that 51% of senior decision-makers are currently using cloud-based video surveillance (VSaaS) and/or a door entry/access control system (ACaaS). This represents a 3% increase in comparison to responses from a 2019 survey (48%), and broadly reflects projected growth in the physical security market from USD $93.5b in 2020 to USD $120.3b by 2025 at a CAGR of 5.2%. Low costs, flexible scalability, and demand for real-time and remote access to security data are key to the accelerated adoption of hosted solutions in the current climate.

A significant 70% of respondents agreed that the pandemic had actually increased the necessity/urgency for businesses to adopt VSaaS and ACaaS, with IT Services revealed as the sector with most respondents strongly or somewhat agreeing (82%), followed by Security (73%). Results highlight a hosted physical security market which is in a strong position for 2021. Physical security utilizing the cloud can unlock many security and business benefits for the modern organization as it faces many new challenges.

Business optimization and operational insights

The benefits of VSaaS and ACaaS prompted Morphean to examine what areas of the business were optimized, or in need of improvement. 43% of those surveyed stated that data/information security was the most optimized aspect of their company. The total number of respondents who indicated that physical security was already optimized had risen by 4% since our 2019 survey, to 27%. It was those working in IT who saw the greatest disparity in security-related optimization, with far fewer recognizing that physical security was optimized (28%) compared with data/IT security (55%). This may point to an opportunity to increase physical security optimization to be on par with data/IT security.

95% of those surveyed agreed that if an existing security system could deliver insights beyond security to assist decision making it would influence adoption. It is clear that the growth in connected digital devices through the IoT is resulting in a growing appetite for physical security, such as network cameras, to enhance existing IT systems and assist business intelligence gathering. As an example, consider an office environment where access control and video data can be used to determine an employee’s movements in the event of a positive COVID-19 result and alert others who may have made physical contact with that individual.

A future proof business model

Decision-makers surveyed that use of cloud technologies to increase in the future as a result of COVID-19 78% of the 1000 senior decision-makers surveyed anticipate their organizations’ use of cloud technologies to increase in the future as a result of COVID-19. Rather than being tied to fixed IT infrastructure on-premises, businesses are able to customize and scale quickly to meet ongoing challenges without the need for large upfront capital investment. The convenience of as-a-service can be paid for out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost. This is the proven business model of the cloud.

Yet the security industry has been slow to adopt it. One key challenge is the way in which the prevalent business models in the sector operate. Transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licenses rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy, but the security channel must learn how if it is to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities. This recurring revenue model will be interesting for the physical security industry who will have witnessed uncertainty and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold during the crisis.

Full support and extensive functionality

From a customer perspective, 28% of respondents highlighted cost benefits as a key factor in the move towards VSaaS/ACaaS and 19% indicated that they would expect to see all-inclusive updates/upgrades and support. VSaaS and ACaaS are supported by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades, so are always up to date. Additionally, functionality such as remote management allows operations to be monitored offsite via mobile device. Access from any location (32%), remote maintenance (31%), and the ability to monitor empty sites (29%) were all identified as key benefits of introducing VSaaS and ACaaS, alongside better security (40%) and better functionality (33%).

The revelation that such technology is employed by over half of organizations across a wide range of industries is a comforting validation of its benefits, and evidence that hosted physical security is in great demand. 30% of those surveyed indicated that they did not currently use such solutions, but were considering their implementation. Cloud’s resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide flexibility in a security and business solution that meets the demands of a rapidly evolving industry.

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