Most security leaders are unlikely to have drones on the list of threats they need to defend against on the cyber or physical security front. Drones can, however, introduce new risks that organizations need to recognize and address proactively, say security experts, even if an organization isn’t using them.
A growing number of organizations have recently been deploying drones—or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—for a variety of applications. Examples include crop monitoring, surveying sites and terrain, inspecting utility infrastructure, delivering goods, and checking warehouse inventory.
Amazon has received a lot of attention for its planned Prime Air drone delivery service, but others have been quietly forging ahead with their own drone projects. Energy firm Southern Company, for instance, has been using drones for infrastructure inspections, assessing storm damage, and vegetation management. Allstate Insurance is using drones to assess property damage in multiple states. Shell conducts surveillance of its shale assets globally with drones, CVS and UPS have teamed up to offer a fast prescription medicine delivery service via drones.
Analyst firm Gartner has predicted that the productivity gains that drones enable will drive enterprise demand for the technology and push the installed base from 324,000 last year to over nine million worldwide by 2028.