by: VMware Head of Physical Security and Resiliency Prasad Saranjame

With a return to the office resulting in more and more workplaces adopting hybrid working environments, physical security is transforming as well. At VMware, our Physical Security team is well on its way toward transforming from a traditional security operation into a modern, technology-enabled security ecosystem—one that prioritizes colleague privacy while also ensuring comprehensive safety—in a friendly, non-intrusive manner.

We call this initiative Physical Security 2.0.

Secure in our success so far

Building upon the success and lessons learned from last year’s Proof of Concept (PoC) project, we have now expanded our artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) deployment to security cameras located in key locations. This serves as a real-world test to demonstrate how this promising technology performs at scale.

VMware Palo Alto campus building illuminated

AI and ML are redefining physical security

Thus far, the real-time data generated by the AI solution is already providing unparalleled visibility into our risks—with a caveat. As with any Internet of Things (IoT) application deployment, our security operations team quickly ran into the ‘be careful what you wish for’ downside. So much information is generated that it can quickly overwhelm resources, both automated and human.

That is why we have put in place processes to continuously review and learn from the data generated. Now we can accurately assess identified risks to assist us in developing strategies to mitigate these risks, and continuously improve our security posture.

For the long term, we expect this technology to help us make significant improvements in our response ability, with the goal of mitigating a variety of common safety and security issues like unauthorized access without badging in (tailgating). Due to its sensitive nature, this project is being driven in close partnership with our Privacy team, since adopting ‘privacy by design’ is a key priority for all our initiatives.

Robots, badges, and a new healthy outlook

Another addition to our efforts is a prototype robot named ‘Page’ designed to serve as additional eyes and ears. While Page’s primary duties are to patrol in and around campus buildings, she also serves as a fun and interactive security reminder for colleagues as they are the ones who play key roles in maintaining a secure office environment.

Office worker with Page the security robot

Page, the robot, makes security awareness fun and enjoyable.

The team recently kicked off a global rebadging program, too. This includes moving to an industry-leading standard, refreshing the overall look and feel of our badges, integrating the VMware Workspace ONE® Intelligent Hub digital badge capability with the security ecosystem, and supporting advanced authentication for popular applications like lockers, printers, and vending machines.

We have also initiated projects to enhance colleague health and safety. Currently this includes supporting requirements (daily health attestations, vaccination verification, etc.) using Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub integrated with the access control system. Security personnel will be able to activate or deactivate badges in an automated real-time manner to ensure compliance with prevailing health guidelines.

Finally, we are collaborating with InfoSec partners to extend the VMware cyber Zero Trust initiative to physical security as well. This includes driving compliance with emerging IoT security requirements such as the new cyber executive order from the United States government—as well as expanding the rollout of an Edge management platform to seamlessly monitor and secure our diverse IoT devices at the Edge.

Regardless of the individual components, our key program goals continue to be enhanced security paired with a delightful colleague experience—supporting our motto of “consumer simple and enterprise secure.”

Stay tuned for further updates as we continue on this exciting transformation journey.

VMware on VMware blogs are written by IT subject matter experts sharing stories about our digital transformation using VMware products and services in a global production environment. Contact your sales rep or to schedule a briefing on this topic. Visit the VMware on VMware microsite and follow us on Twitter.


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