Jim Richards is co-founder and CEO of Total Security Solutions, an industry leader in the design, fabrication, and installation of custom bulletproof barriers. Jim has nearly 30 years of experience in the bullet-resistant glass and physical security industries.
As CEO of Total Security Solutions, I have a lot of conversations with a lot of people who are taking a hard look at what it takes to keep their lives and livelihoods safe. I see patterns in what they’re worrying about, what they’re missing, and where security is headed.
Given what I, and the rest of my team, are seeing and hearing, we expect to see six trends in physical security in 2024.
Security Trend #1: Increased Focus on Active Shooter Prevention and Response
Violent crime rates have increased over the last several years. In particular, the number of active shooter incidents in the United States is on the rise. Experts expect that trend to continue in 2024. As a result, we can expect to see businesses add precautionary measures that protect from active shooters at building entrances.
In 2024, entrances will be fortified with complex systems including bullet-resistant doors and windows, secured vestibules, and barrier systems that protect receptionists and other publicly-facing staff. 2024 will also bring increased interest in secure perimeters: fencing, gates, physical intrusion detection, cameras, and systems that integrate with ballistically-rated barriers.
Your Active Shooter Precautions Should Include an Emergency Plan
If you’re planning security projects to protect from active shooters, be sure you have a comprehensive plan in place as well. Where can employees shelter in place? How do visitors know the closest place to take cover or evacuate in an emergency? Does everyone know how to quickly alert responders and what to say when they call? Are they ready to help each other until help arrives? Having the answer to these questions will help ensure your expensive barriers work as they should.
Security Trend #2: Reducing the Environmental Footprint
2024 will be the year of protecting people, the environment, and budgets. In just one year, the cost of fossil fuel for power plants jumped 34 percent. Energy costs aren’t going to decrease any time soon and security products must be able to respond to that very real need.
Windows play an enormous role in what it costs to heat and cool a building—that’s why insulated glass windows have been standard in commercial construction since the 1960s. However, bullet-resistant glass and frames were not developed with thermal performance in mind. Right now, very few glazers offer insulated ballistic glass windows. If they do, it’s usually just at the lower security levels. The need for thermally insulated ballistic materials exists—which is why we’ve worked to develop true thermal-break framing and ballistic window units.
Security Trend #3: Refocusing on Physical Security
In the past decade or so, physical security has often been overlooked in favor of cybersecurity. Businesses and organizations have been hammered by new technological threats and disruptions, including cyberattacks, hacks, ransomware, and phishing. All of that required new security measures to protect people, property, and customers.
However, as technology develops, physical security and cybersecurity become even more entwined: a ransomware attack might lock you out of your building, shut down production, or even endanger lives in a hospital. It’s no longer enough to have just cyber security or just physical security. Both are essential. In 2024, organizations will be taking a hard look at what it means to be protected—physical security included.
Security Trend #4: Flashy New Security Technologies Will Emerge (but Won’t Stick)
2024 will likely bring cutting-edge breakthroughs in nanotechnologies and other discoveries in the lab that “hold promise for next-generation ballistic materials.” Think new access control systems, cameras, and PIDs with cloud integration and mobile apps and AI enhancement and more.
I love innovation, but over the last several decades, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those exciting lab discoveries become an actual ballistic product. I’m also not enthusiastic about adding new ways for cybercriminals to disrupt my day or shut down my business.
Security Trend #5: Inflation, Energy, and Labor Will Shape Product Quality
Energy costs will continue rising, which means transportation and logistics costs are increasing as well. Meanwhile, labor costs are on the upswing. Just like you need energy to get raw materials and craft them into ballistic components, you need people to do the work.
The increasing cost of energy and labor will drive innovation in physical security in 2024. But they may also drive people to cut corners. Make sure that the “lighter, faster, quicker, cheaper” option you’re getting offered still delivers on protection and performance.
Security Trend #6: Searching for a “Magic Bullet”
The biggest trend I see continuing into 2024 is people looking for magic bullets— some product they can buy that will automatically make them safer.
In 2024, I encourage people to remember two key facts:
- Each product is just one part of your total security solution
- That solution looks different for every building
There is no “magic bullet” product out there. Not in 2024, and not after.
Real safety and security comes from a holistic approach. This starts with a professional security assessment: What are your key access points? What are the vulnerable spots? What are the areas of concern?
You can begin to address those with specific products and solutions, but those need to be reinforced with processes, procedures, and training of your staff. All of those things combine to make up your security system—and that’s going to be more effective than any “magic bullet” you might find.
TSS Is Your Trusted Security Partner in 2024 and Beyond
At TSS, we’re pleased to make free materials available to support good, comprehensive security planning. If you have any questions, or are ready to begin moving forward with a project, we’re here to help. Simply send us a message online to get started.