The modern workplace looks nothing like the offices of the past. As technology evolves, the needs of our physical spaces change. We've experienced a shift from rows of grey cubicles, to entirely open floor plans, to high-tech flexible workspaces.
As today's workplace changes, so do the potential risks, like unwanted intruders, cyber attacks, and IP theft. It's your responsibility to do everything you can to combat evolving security threats for your customers, clients, visitors, and staff.
These workplaces of the future are undergoing a transformation in how they protect their people, property, and ideas-an evolution guided by new technology, design trends, and growing dangers to workplace security.
In January 2020, we partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 U.S. IT and Security professionals who are responsible for technology impacting physical security, data, and network elements. What we learned was that the threats are real, your concerns are valid, and you're not alone. This report looks at how physical and cybersecurity affect the workplace, and does not touch on the impacts to employee health and safety.
Every workplace is different, but the threats to their security are very much the same.
1. The threats are coming from every direction.
Today's IT and Security professionals feel like they're being attacked from every angle. When evaluating on-site data security, more than 2 in 5 (44%) feel most threatened by external malicious actors, while more than half (56%) worry about internal threats such as employee negligence (28%) and accidental data slippage (28%).
This anxiety they are feeling is based on the headlines we see every day. We all know the dread of seeing something terrible in the news and wondering if it could happen to us-and IT and Security teams say the feeling is mutual. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) see headlines once a week or more that make them feel their office isn't as secure as it should be. And nearly 1 in 5 (18%) see a headline every day that makes them worry.
While more than 2 in 5 (44%) IT and Security professionals feel most threatened by external malicious actors, more than half (56%) worry about internal threats such as employee negligence (28%) and accidental data slippage (28%).
97% of those responsible for security tech say the news makes them feel less safe at work. In fact, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) IT and Security professionals see headlines once a week or more that make them feel their office isn't as secure as it should be.
How often do headlines worry IT and Security Professionals?
2. Security teams are in place, but are they doing enough? Are you?
Workplace security is so critical that 99% of IT and Security professionals have someone directly responsible for setting up the policies and tools their spaces need to keep their people, property, and data safe. This includes dedicated internal security teams, employees themselves, and outside companies. What's shocking is that over 1/3 of companies place workplace security responsibilities solely on their front desk receptionist, who may not have the training or experience required to handle these responsibilities.
Security is a big job and these teams are focusing heavily on data privacy protection and cybersecurity. Over half agree that data privacy protection (31%) and data storage security (26%) are the most important priorities for their company. The question is, are these teams doing enough to stay ahead of potential threats?
Overall, 96% of respondents are generally confident with their IT team's ability to protect them from threats, yet only half (54%) feel completely confident their team can predict and prevent security threats.
99% say someone (on either an internal or an external team) is directly responsible for workplace security at the company. 34% place workplace security responsibilities solely on their front desk receptionist.
96% are confident overall with the IT team's ability (who they rely on to protect them from threats), yet only half (~54%) feel completely confident their IT team can predict and prevent security threats.
57% Over half (57%) say data privacy protection (31%) and data storage security (26%) are their most important priorities for their company.
3. Despite employee desire for security education, resources are severely lacking
Educating yourself and your coworkers is the best way to stay on top of new dangers and emerging security technologies that could protect your office. But, despite the huge benefits of security education, many companies don't prioritize security training or the implementation of new systems, despite having discussed such topics.
The good news is that this important discussion is being had. In the past year, IT and Security professionals have discussed workplace security with management (64%) and their direct team (62%). The bad news is that only 53% have received training on workplace security and just 46% have rolled out a new workplace security solution for their company.
Only 53% received training on workplace security.
Only 46% have rolled out a new workplace security solution for their company.
IT and Security professionals are ready to put workplace security front and center
4. Workplace security begins with your visitor management system
Visitor management systems help you keep track of every person that comes through your front door, leaving a digital log of all guests authorized to be in your workplace, who they came to see, who is using your network, who signed mandatory legal documents, and who has left the building. Almost all people surveyed (98%) see some benefit in investing in a visitor management solution, the top benefit being workplace security (63%).
It's clear there is a need for visitor management; that's why 98% of respondents have some form of visitor check-in and identification system in place. What's shocking is that almost half (47%) consider a pen-and-paper logbook to be adequate. This sign-in method isn't ideal for quick audits and compliance regulations, digital sharing, or physical storage. More importantly, it poses a serious threat to your visitors' privacy and security. Pen-and-paper solutions leave visitor information out in the open, making their details visible for anybody to see.
Most IT and Security professionals understand the importance of a visitor management system. 4 out of 5 (80%) have dedicated a portion of their workplace security budget to visitor management solutions. The other 20% did not have a dedicated budget for it in 2019. But, as discussed on the next page, that is about to change.
A total of 98% of respondents see some benefit in investing in visitor management solutions.
The top benefit is workplace security at 63%.
98% of respondents have some form of visitor check-in and identification system in place.
47% of respondents require pen-and-paper visitor sign-in.
5. Trends in spending on workplace security and visitor management
Many IT and Security professionals (63%) expect to see their workplace security budget increase in 2020, by an average of 13%. The numbers also reveal that this upward trend is expected to continue over the coming years, with younger generations (millennial and gen x) putting more of an emphasis on workplace security (71%) than baby boomers (48%).
Over the next five years, almost every individual surveyed (99%) plans to increase spending on data security, data storage, visitor management, and integrated systems. While nearly 7 in 10 (69%) anticipate an increased budget strictly for visitor management systems and on-site data protection, data security (81%) and data storage (72%) are still top priorities.
Executives are especially keen to invest in visitor management solutions. The average IT and Security professional anticipates 34% of their workplace security budget will be dedicated to visitor management in 2020, but those with executive authority are especially interested. Executives anticipate dedicated 38% of their workplace budget to visitor management, compared to 27% from non-execs.
Over the next 5 years, 99% plan to increase spending on data security, data storage, visitor management systems, and integrated systems.
Executives anticipate dedicating 38% of their workplace security budget, compared to an average of 27% from non-executives.
6. What successful security looks like in the workplace of the future
When asked what was a greater vulnerability for their company, IT and Security professionals are nearly split down the middle. 57% are focused on cyber data security and 43% are concerned about on-site physical security. While workplace security strategies rightly prioritize cybersecurity, physical security is equally important to consider.
A surprising 97% agree that in order for physical security to be effective, it must be fully integrated with digital security. Not only that, 96% find it likely that their company will indeed integrate physical workplace security solutions with digital solutions in the next two years.
What's more vulnerable?
IT and Security professionals are split between cyber data security as more vulnerable (57%) than on-site physical security (43%).
97% agree that in order for physical security to be effective, it must be fully integrated with digital security.
96% find it likely that their company will indeed integrate physical workplace security solutions with digital solutions (cybersecurity) in the next 2 years.
A safe and secure workplace is just within your reach
7. IT and Security teams face barriers to implementing new technology
Despite the general consensus that visitor management solutions are worth investing in, many teams are wary of introducing them to their company. Most (85%) anticipate barriers to implementing visitor management solutions, especially getting employees to follow new procedures (48%) and skepticism around available technology solutions (47%).
While this stat may feel discouraging to those who want to introduce new security technology, it's clear these teams still plan to invest in visitor management despite these barriers.
48% Almost half (48%) view employee compliance as a barrier to implementing a visitor management solution at their company.
8. Visitor management solutions go beyond secure sign-in
Our research found that 95% of IT and Security professionals feel their company is likely (very or somewhat) to invest in new visitor management solutions over the next year. This is important for reasons that go beyond the benefits of a secure sign-in process.
Visitor management solutions contain layers of enhanced security, built on high-tech features and complex integrations. Not only do they help you securely welcome authorized visitors into your building, they also help you keep unwanted visitors out.
Visual Compliance cross-checks your visitors against third-party lists, protecting you from unwittingly hosting sex offenders and terrorists. Once the block list or Visual Compliance settings are triggered, the proper people in your organization will be notified immediately so they can take necessary action.
If an authorized visitor successfully signs-in to your workplace, a visitor badge can be printed and unique Wi-Fi credentials created. Visitor badges are a physical indication someone is supposed to be in your space. They often contain important information like their name, date, time, visitor status, legal document signing status, and Wi-Fi credentials.
Wi-Fi access is often the first thing visitors need when they enter your office, but you need to fully protect your network from potential threats. Through the use of Wi-Fi integrations, you can share unique Wi-Fi credentials with your visitors-credentials that are specific to their visit and expire after a given period of time. This guarantees your network is safe and your Wi-Fi information remains private after the visitor signs out.
Block lists and Visual Compliance integrations
The physical security of your employees and guests matters to you, which is why features like block lists and Visual Compliance integrations are critical. Block lists are built internally-a list of competitors or disgruntled employees that are not permitted to make it past your front desk.