corporate responsibility

Supply chain, sustainability & security are key opportunities for Australian businesses

Australian businesses are operating in a challenging and evolving macroeconomic environment. With 10 consecutive interest rate rises, ongoing supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and the need to become more secure and sustainable – businesses are working to realign and refocus.

Steve Katanas, Regional Head, Mature Markets, ANZ, Physical Access Control Solutions, HID discusses how better understanding these challenges will help security professionals be better prepared to adapt faster, deliver exceptional digital and physical experiences, and capitalise on breakthrough innovations in solutions and services.

Supply chain issues

The inaugural 2023 State of the Security Industry report by HID revealed that 74% of respondents say they were impacted by supply chain issues in 2022, although 50% are optimistic that conditions will improve in 2023.

Supply chain issues were affected by two major factors during the pandemic – the first being a reduction in logistics and freight capacity and the second, a shortage of components and chips.

Ongoing trade tensions with some of Australia’s major trading partners continue to put a strain on the region as well.

As such, global supply chains are still recovering. To maintain resiliency in 2023, there are several strategies an organisation can turn to which will help balance these issues.

From HID’s perspective, we have engaged directly with chip manufacturers and suppliers to negotiate allocations and receive what is required to keep our supply chain moving. We have had to pay higher prices at times for similar components and components we’ve used in the past, to keep the supply chain moving and keep goods moving through to our customers.

Thirdly, HID underwent significant operational changes in 2022 by removing restricted suppliers from the component supply chain and replacing them with other suppliers as well as re-designing boards to make sure that we can keep our supply chain moving.

We are mitigating the risk associated with component suppliers and altering designs to make them more flexible and increase our resiliency moving forward.

Focus on sustainability

New legislation in Australia to slash carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 and to be net-zero by 2050 has seen sustainability take centre stage in business decisions, including the security and identity industry. End users are increasingly demanding that suppliers provide footprint transparency in terms of their operations, product sourcing and research and development practices.

In the State of Security report, nearly 90% of respondents acknowledge sustainability as an important issue. Mirroring this trend, 76% said they have seen the importance of sustainability increasing for their customers. To support this growing demand, security teams are leveraging the cloud and the Internet of Things even more to optimise processes and reduce resources. Additionally, new products and solutions are being strategically developed to address sensible energy usage, waste reduction and resource optimisation.

Consumers are increasingly urging businesses to share information on sustainability metrics including energy usage and resource optimisation. To deliver, organisations must define a clear sustainability strategy to be better positioned to not only adapt to, but anticipate environmental, social and regulatory changes both in the short and long term.

Secure identification and authentication

The results are in, and hybrid work is here to stay – an overwhelming 81% of survey respondents stated they are offering a hybrid work model. Identification and authentication play a major role in this, with 67% of respondents stating that multifactor authentication and password-less authentication are most important to adapting to hybrid and remote work, while 48% point to the importance of mobile and digital IDs.

Identification and authentication are more commonly completed via mobile devices, including smartphones and wearables. The growing popularity of digital wallets from major players such as Google, Apple and Amazon is a key driver of this trend. In addition, expanded capabilities allow smartphone users, to add keys, IDs and digital documents directly in the wallet app.

Nearly 60% of respondents also see the benefit of biometrics. Biometric technologies represent a major break from more conventional means of access control. Using biometrics as an additional authenticating factor (e.g., biometric scans to verify an individual’s physical identity) can help organisations eliminate unauthorised access and fraud. The importance of this trend is exemplified in the survey data, which shows that 59% of respondents are currently using, planning to implement, or at least testing biometric technologies in the near future.

Enabling technologies

Now more than ever, Australian businesses need to adapt and leverage new technologies to remain relevant and competitive. The digital experience is an enabler in reshaping security, with interconnected devices raising the bar on what can be secured and how. The cloud will power implementations efficiently across physical and logical footprints, elevating the value of data. Big-picture social and economic trends have disrupted business-as-usual, challenging the security industry to rethink the basics down to the concept of identity.

The growing expectation is that security, like all other facets of the enterprise, can and will leverage technology to work better and smarter now and into the future.

Steve Katanas is Regional Head, Mature Markets, ANZ, Physical Access Control Solutions at HID.

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