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Companies begin outsourcing physical security, study says

Physical security initiatives are often among the top priorities for businesses today as crime rates continue to soar due to ongoing macroeconomic conditions. In many cases, companies are outsourcing security responsibilities to third parties in an effort to relieve internal pressure and cut expenses without jeopardizing the efficiency of physical security solutions.

A recent report by the Freedonia Group highlighted this trend, noting that the revenue for private contracted security services is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 5 percent through 2016, at which point it will reach $64.5 billion, according to SecurityInfoWatch. These services include a number of tasks, such as the installation of surveillance cameras and other systems, as well as general alarm monitoring.

"[The market for private contracted security services] is going to grow real well because there is going to be a lot of building rehab coming out of the building market downturn, so you're going to get a lot more systems being installed and put together," said David Petina, an analyst at the Freedonia Group, according to SecurityInfoWatch.

Petina said older surveillance, access control and other physical defensive solutions are also beginning to show signs of age and will need to be replaced by advanced integrated security systems, in particular, that combine multiple tools together into a single interface, increasing capabilities and the number of functions.

Reasons behind the growing market
The Freedonia Group noted that while the recession is a major contributor to the trend of outsourcing security functions, it is not the only reason. The recovery of the housing and construction markets, which are beginning to make their way back to prosperity, is also encouraging decision-makers to outsource security processes, SecurityInfoWatch reported.

Additionally, the opportunity to combine digital and physical security solutions is causing some companies to turn to third parties. Petina said many physical security solutions are making their way to the information technology realm because corporate decision-makers are often more inclined to outsource IT than physical security applications.

A separate report by Government Security News also highlighted the growing importance of merging physical and digital security systems together.

"As long as organizations treat their physical and cyber domains as separate, there is little hope of securing either one," said Scott Borg, the director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, according to Government Security News. "The convergence of cyber and physical security has already occurred at the technical level. It is long overdue at the organizational level."

The problem with non-interoperable systems
Government Security News said companies not using integrated security systems have a higher risk of falling victim to theft and have a poorer ability to monitor internal and external criminal instances. Since each department is responsible for maintaining its own authorization database, there is no single network to confirm a person's identity.

Disparate security programs also create more headache for executives, as decision-makers are forced to develop multiple policies and requirements regarding a specific solution's use. If everything were integrated and monitored under a single umbrella, this process would be much more efficient and convenient.

As cybersecurity and physical crime rates continue to increase throughout the private sector, decision-makers need to begin thinking outside the box and consider outsourcing security functions to trusted third parties. In doing so, businesses can save money and relieve internal pressure, all while keeping physical and digital assets protected from malicious individuals.

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