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Remote Service Is Nothing New for the Security Industry, but It Is Likely to Accelerate During the Coronavirus Pandemic and Beyond

Secure but remote

Remote service is nothing new for the security industry, but it is likely to accelerate during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond

Anthony Brennan, President, Chubb Fire & Security 

According to recent research from JLL*, more than three-quarters of businesses globally reported that 80% or more of their employees were working from home during April and May as they navigated lockdowns and social distancing measures in a global pandemic. The need to stay at home but maintain business continuity forced businesses to adopt remote working formats. Business leaders quickly began to understand that having sufficient remote working capability is a vital aspect of business resilience, especially during a pandemic. As a result of this shift in mindset, businesses are likely to expect the same from their service providers, demanding more remote service and support capabilities.  This is a change that is here to stay, as businesses look to new solutions for employee wellbeing and safety amid the acceleration of digital transformation in the business world. 

In the last 20 years, the industry has been developing remote capabilities, such as monitoring building status and performance, and conducting remote diagnostics. Today, in fire and security, technologies allow many services to be supported remotely for the end user. A vital part of the management of all customer facilities, whether it’s an office, logistic warehouse or data centre, is the maintenance of security and fire solutions that are essential for business continuity. The introduction of remote solutions to the problems posed by 24-hour security and fire safety provides benefits for both customers and providers. Remote service providers like Chubb can provide remote monitoring and control on security systems, remote diagnostics and remote corrective action, with most of the work able to be completed without on-site staff. 

As the world goes back to the “new normal,” businesses may try to reduce the number of on-site staff as contingency. There are various value-added services to help customers via remote monitoring centres, for example video guarding and visual verification. Technology can also be used to recover CCTV images remotely, following an event that requires further investigation. 

One of the key benefits of having the remote capabilities is the reduced disruption to critical businesses and facilities. For example, if a security system is being installed or upgraded in a hospital, traditionally installers or service providers would be onsite and causing potential disruption, however with remote capabilities on-site time and disruption could be reduced. After installing hardware on-site, it is then possible to conduct the majority of system configuration, testing and commissioning remotely, as well as adjusting access control systems to enable the smooth flow of key employees through the site with minimal fuss. This helps to speed up the work process, therefore significantly reducing on-site time. This is also crucial for the safety of our own employees, reducing exposure to risk such as during the recent pandemic, and means once equipment is installed, we can allocate our best talent to ensure a favourable outcome for all clients. 

In recent months, the conversation on sustainability is shifting as the safety of the population is the highest priority. However, businesses will continue to address sustainability and remote services can help improve a business’s carbon footprint. Increasingly, we see that responsible corporate entities are demanding environmentally sustainable solutions for every aspect of their business, whether that be a contract for fire and security monitoring or more sustainable strategies around waste and recycling. 

Cybersecurity is often referenced as one of the concerns of a remote service offering, but from experience, as long as system integrators choose products that have a sound security design and keep the system up-to-date, the customer risk exposure is mitigated. It also requires all parties of the supply chain to take responsibility for cybersecurity, with the help of dedicated procedures and technologies that continually identify risk of a cyber-attack. 

As businesses continue to innovate and adapt during these unprecedented times, the acceleration of remote working practises and solutions is likely to continue. Security providers are already well-established to handle the need for increased remote operations and are ready for a surge demand and appetite for such services, as businesses globally adapt to the “new normal.”


*Source: Global findings on workplace re-entry during COVID-19, May 2020 – JLL

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