The Evolution of Commercial Drones and Security

In anticipation of GSX, we sat down with presenters of upcoming sessions in order to get a better understanding of the topics at hand. This week we are featuring, “The Evolution of Commercial Drones and Security,” presented by William Edwards, CPP, PCI, PSP, President of Federal and Public Safety at Building Intelligence. Read on for what he had to say and don’t forget to register for GSX 2023!

Q: Tell us about your presentation and why should security professionals have this topic on their radar? 

A: The Evolution of Commercial Drones is an awareness and educational update on the precipitous growth of the commercial drone platform and its implications (positive and negative) on security professionals and the overall concept of security program development. Security professionals are at a point now where consideration for the “air domain” should be a major factor in their programs. Like the advent of cybersecurity and AI, commercial drones, through the lens of recent conflict zone actions has shown and proven that this technology is a security concern and creates risks that have not been addressed properly in the marketspace. The presentation will describe the short history of the commercial drone, discuss positive and negative implications for society, address what the future may hold, and recommend a simple framework to support a security professionals understanding to include easing the stress of “knowing” where to start. This presentation is a walk-through of recent time, highlighting the drone laboratory and the hundreds of experiments created in the Ukraine/Russian War surrounding the drone platform in all its different forms and capabilities. Attendees will walk away with an appreciation for the security implications and begin their journey on understanding how to mitigate the risk. Lastly, the presentation will address the current shortfalls in regulation and law surrounding drones and describe the difficulties with the counter uncrewed aerial system (CUAS) technologies and authorities implementing them.  

Q: What advice would you give security professionals interested in this topic? 

A: Understand the technology, the current mitigation options, the restraints associated with CUAS based on the lack of authorities, regulations, and law. Seriously consider the “air domain” in the overall security program.  

Q: How do you see this issue evolving in the next 2-5 years? 

A: The technology will only continue to grow, mature, and evolve. It will put a significant amount of pressure on businesses that host the public. Large mass gatherings will need to be secured and have the right authorities, training, and certifications to implement a CUAS risk mitigation plan. 

Q: Why do you attend GSX? 

 A: As an ASIS “Triple Crown” certification member, I value GSX for the exposure to technology, the education offerings, the networking, and the opportunity for new connections.