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Blog – Physical Access Control Trends: Innovations and the Growing Adoption of PIAM  

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Physical Access Control Systems (PACS) have come a long way from simple lock-and-key mechanisms. As technology evolves, so do the methods and systems we use to secure our premises. In recent years, several trends and innovations have shaped the access control landscape, making it more efficient and secure. This blog will delve into these trends, particularly emerging technologies, the convergence of physical and cyber security, and the growing adoption of Physical Identity and Access Management (PIAM) systems. 

Emerging Technologies in Access Control 

A first significant trend is the adoption of new authentication technologies, complementing or replacing access cards. After a slow start, the use of mobile credentials is picking up quickly. Initial BLE-based mobile credentials came with practical challenges in real-live deployments. However newer mobile credentials technologies like NFC wallet-based ones have proven to be both highly reliable and user friendly. 

Another authentication method becoming more popular is biometrics authentication, especially facial recognition. According to MarketsandMarkets, the biometric system market is projected to reach $68.6 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 14.6% from 2020 to 2025.  The main reason for the increased adoption is the improvements made in the enrolment process. Whereas early version required a very strict enrolment process leveraging dedicated enrolment stations, newer technologies leverage smart phones to capture the facial ID if a person, allowing for a more scalable and decentralized process.  

A second trend that is slowly but certainly transforming the physical access control technology landscape, is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Physical Access Control systems capture large amounts of data every single say. Swipe events, device status, and alarm & incident data. Most enterprise do little, if anything, with that data. The data volumes are too high for Security Operations Center (SOC) staff to properly work with it. AI enhances Physical Access Control by enabling real-time monitoring and analysis, quickly identifying potential threats and ensuring swift responses.  

Finally, we see a rapid adoption of the cloud. Physical security has been a lagger when it comes to cloud adoption. But more recently we have seen Cloud-based access control systems gaining popularity. They offer flexibility, scalability, and remote management capabilities that traditional on-premises systems cannot match. These systems allow for easy updates and maintenance, reducing downtime and enhancing security. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of new access control installations will be cloud-based, up from less than 20% in 2020. 

Convergence of Physical and Cyber Security 

Another major trend is the convergence of physical and cyber security. With the increasing reliance on digital systems, it’s essential to have an integrated approach to security that encompasses both physical and digital realms. This convergence helps organizations to identify and mitigate risks more effectively, ensuring a comprehensive security posture.  

Integrated security systems provide a unified view of security incidents, making it easier to detect and respond to threats. They also facilitate better compliance with regulatory requirements by providing a consolidated platform for monitoring and reporting. 

Growing Adoption of PIAM 

About 20 years ago, the first PIAM solutions saw the light of day. PIAM software automates the Physical Access Lifecycle for the people that need access to your sites. From when they start work or a visit, through to when they depart, they will have different access needs, and these should be provided efficiently and with all the compliance and safety considerations automatically accounted for. 

Until a few years ago, PIAM solutions were used only by the largest enterprises in the world. Cost and deployment time made it hard for others to adopt it. That has changed. Cloud-based PIAM solutions can be deployed within weeks, and costs have dropped significantly thanks to auromated best practice modules. 

When it comes to adopting PIAM, many organizations face the dilemma of choosing between a pure play PIAM system and a bolt-on solution from a PACS vendor. While bolt-on solutions may be fine in the Small and Medium Business space, here’s why a pure play PIAM system is the superior choice for enterprises: 

  1. PACS neutral: Pure play PIAM solutions work with PACS from multiple vendors and can run on top of multiple PACS of the same type. Bolt-on solutions from a PACS vendor lock you in to just one PACS system. That limits your flexibility over time. What if your organization would acquire another company that uses a different PACS?  
  1. Specialization and Focus: Pure play PIAM systems are designed specifically for managing identities and physical access. They offer features and functionalities often lacking in bolt-on solutions. These systems provide comprehensive identity management, access provisioning, and audit capabilities, ensuring a higher level of security and compliance. 
  1. Scalability and Flexibility: Pure play PIAM solutions are built to handle the complexities of large organizations with diverse security needs. They offer scalability to accommodate growth and flexibility to integrate with various systems and applications, unlike bolt-on solutions that may have limitations. Research by Frost & Sullivan shows that the PIAM market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.2% from 2020 to 2025, indicating the increasing demand for these specialized systems. 
  1. Enhanced Security: With a pure play PIAM, organizations can implement more stringent security measures and policies. These systems offer advanced authentication methods, detailed access control policies, and real-time monitoring, providing a robust security framework. 
  1. Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with industry regulations is critical for many organizations. Pure play PIAM systems offer better tools for ensuring compliance, with features like detailed audit trails, reporting and policy enforcement. 

In conclusion, the access control landscape is evolving rapidly, driven by advanced technologies and the need for integrated security solutions. Stay ahead of the curve by embracing these trends and investing in a robust, dedicated PIAM solution. 

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