Security & Identity Trends Series Part 1: The New Security Technology Landscape

Earlier this year, we released our 2022 Security & Identity Trends report detailing important changes taking place across the security and identity industry. Key drivers include advancements in security technology, new forms of service delivery and fundamental shifts in how we view and authenticate identity.

This blog is the first in a companion series that examines the most important points from the report. To start, we’ll first cover the enablers, disruptors and game changers impacting the security and technology landscape today. In subsequent posts, we’ll cover each of the seven trends in more detail, so be sure to check back each week for a new post on security and identity trends.

Industry Disruptors and Security Technology Implications

The last few years have challenged the status quo more than any other time in recent history. The pandemic influenced nearly every aspect of our world, including the need to quickly adapt to a touchless and socially distanced environment. This new landscape introduced an interesting paradigm — on one hand, there was an increased demand for new technologies to support remote working at scale, while on the other hand, the same demand created shortages for the very technologies needed to address these challenges. Let’s break it down one factor at a time:

Remote Working at Scale — The Changing Nature of the Office
When did we start working in the office anyway? In the United States, some of the very first offices were the “counting houses” in Manhattan. These commercial offices powered the new shipping companies taking root during the nineteenth century. Shortly after, the Industrial Revolution and the principles of Taylorism changed the nature of work and the nature of the workplace. Physical work locations — and their design — were considered critical to productivity.

COVID-19 triggered a nearly overnight shift away from this centuries-old notion. Employers and employees chose safety, utilizing technology to let many work remotely while simultaneously creating the safest environment for frontline employees required to be on-site. According to Cushman & Wakefield’s 2020 survey, less than a third of organizations had remote or hybrid working arrangements pre-pandemic. The report predicts that today, hybrid models are likely to more than double as organizations focus on health, safety, flexibility and employee experience.

User Expectations and Experience — Technically Speaking
We mentioned above that employee experience is driving changes in the workplace. Outside of the workplace, user expectations for touchless and seamless experiences have also become a disruptive force in the security and identity industry. Organizations now must look at how technology and security intersect with these expectations and make decisions to improve the user experience — whether that’s in the office, the airport, the bank or a retail store.

Mobile devices enable contactless interactions from provisioning to authentication. Apps such as Apple Wallet enable users to store everything from credit and debit cards to driver’s licenses, hotel keys, corporate badges, tickets and boarding passes. We know, too, that users are rarely without their smartphones, which are devices natively secured with authentication features like thumbprints and passwords.

But mobile represents just one aspect of user experience. Functionality such as passwordless authentication can authorize users to access business networks and services without a password while maintaining high levels of protection. Converging physical and logical access enables secure and fast data transmission for a variety of applications, like cashless vending. Biometrics have the ability to enhance user experience while improving operations in the retail sector and offer secure customer-first experiences in banking. The bottom line is that user experience has major implications for the security and identity market.

Supply Chain Shortages — The Chips Are Down
There is a common experience across nearly every sector of the economy, and that’s supply chain shortages. The list of goods affected goes on for pages. While some of those constraints have eased, such as lumber, others have emerged or persisted. Integrated circuit chips — sometimes referred to as ICs or semiconductors — are products that remain in short supply.

Although the semiconductor shortage is expected to improve by early 2023, it remains a challenge many industries must navigate. Semiconductors are used in a huge variety of goods, including cars, toys, smartphones and computers. If it’s electronic, it probably has an IC chip and this includes security and identity products. In fact, the shortage was so widespread that the U.S. saw bipartisan support to subsidize additional chip production with the CHIPS Act.

With Disruption Comes Opportunity Through Enablers and Game Changers

Although disruption can sometimes be a destructive force, there are also positive outcomes. Disruption forces us to change the way we think, behave and approach business. By its very nature, disruption drives creativity and innovation. What do those opportunities look like in the security and identity industry? In a word — digital. Let’s take a closer look.

Game Changers in Security Technology
While the pandemic may have been a tipping point, we continue to live through a pivotal era in world history. The shift to digital began with the Third Industrial Revolution in the 1970s when we saw partial automation using memory-programmable computers. In the 50 years since, we’ve experienced a massive acceleration and proliferation of technology that automates entire processes without human assistance.

The security and identity industry is experiencing a new age of digital transformation and it is driving other game-changing concepts. Servitization — the idea of moving from product-centric to service-centric models—is one such example. As organizations embrace the digital revolution, new paths open for new service models and service-led growth. Against this backdrop, security is enabled to deliver added value and drive specific outcomes.

Digital transformation is also redefining how we perceive and define identity. Not only is there a push toward digital IDs, there is a larger push for identities that aren’t siloed and tethered to the issuing institution. In other words, we are moving toward a self-sovereign identity. Individuals want the ability to interact in the digital world with the same freedom and capacity for trust as they do in the offline world. And they want it with more autonomy. In theory and in practice, this creates a fluid perimeter where, truly, identity is the only boundary. The security and identity industry must then recognize that these shifts have privacy implications that should be recognized and addressed.

Enablers for Security Transformation
Although security has long been a critical aspect of operations, enablers are emerging that have a massive impact on capabilities and efficiency. The cloud, and subsequently, the Internet of Things (IoT) and interconnected devices are creating new opportunities for security applications both in logical and physical security settings. The nearly limitless computing power, storage and scalability of the cloud introduces the ability to implement powerful solutions, such as SaaS-delivered identities.

Perhaps most importantly, all these interconnected devices produce data. The ability to ingest, manage and analyze data is a major enabler, which heightens the need for analytics capabilities. The galaxy of security technology producing data means that with the right lens, organizations can detect patterns, spot trends, enable automated applications and take proactive action when adverse circumstances arise. The problem that many organizations face now is how to process that mountain of data and what to do with it. That’s why data science, particularly its methods and processes for extracting knowledge from data, is quickly becoming a foundational need as organizations look to apply actionable insights across security applications.

Next Up — Deep Dives Into the 2022 Security and Identity Trends

What does all of this mean for security teams and the security technologies they utilize? It means organizations must look at security and identity programs holistically, redefine what the workplace looks like and embrace the accelerating use of digital solutions to meet these challenges. Verifying and authenticating the trusted identities of people, places and things in today’s environment means exploring new strategies and taking advantage of the enablers and game changers in the industry.

Over this trends blog series, we’ll dive into the seven security and identity trends we see as key forces shaping the security landscape now and in the near future, laying out their likely impact on the security industry.

Kym Elizondo-Cowley is the Senior Manager of Content Strategy with HID Global who brings more than 20 years of experience in writing and content marketing to the security industry. Before joining HID Global in 2018, Kym served as a content strategist, blogger, writer and marketer for organizations in the B2B and B2C SaaS and technology sectors, including roles at Blucora and Microsoft. She is based in Austin, Texas.