The pressure of maximizing building energy and operational efficiency is driving the adoption of smart-building technology. Smart buildings can save as much as 20-50 percent in energy consumption, but this is not their only advantage.
In commercial buildings, environmental controls, video surveillance and energy conservation are driving down operating costs. Industry leaders also see smart buildings as a solution to sustainability issues such as diminishing energy resources.
Navigant Research projects 2017 will see a tipping point in investments in intelligent buildings because “the scalable, secure and open platforms of these solutions are generating cost savings, providing energy efficiency and sustainability improvements and enhancing occupant satisfaction.”
Smart lighting and HVAC systems are two major services that building owners are adopting, and ABI Research estimates that by 2021, they will account for 32 percent and 49 percent, respectively, of revenue generated by smart building services. Overall, ABI forecasts that smart building revenues will surpass $8 billion in 2021, up from $625 million in 2015.
Smart Building Security Risks
Smart buildings, however, come with risks. Like any systems built around the Internet of Things (IoT), they are highly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The recent ransomware attack at the Australian hotel Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt that locked guests out of their rooms is an example. The damage was minor — mostly inconvenience for the guests and $1,800 paid to hackers to regain control of the computers. But it’s a good lesson of how easy it is for attackers to use a phishing email or steal passwords to take control of vital building systems like power and heat.
Steps To Minimize Risks
Data breaches are not the only risks that organizations should address. While stolen data is valuable to cybercriminals, their motives for targeting organizations are evolving. Here are three tips for keeping your smart building secure.
- Start with a risk analysis. Identify all risks you face and the ones you’re willing to accept. Focus on mitigating the rest with controls that balance detection, prevention and response.
- Train all employees. Since a very large portion of breaches is the result of insider action, either by malicious actors or unwitting participants, training personnel is your first line of defense. Good cyber hygiene, including best practices for passwords, will reduce risks of simple human error. Don’t stop at the basics; educate your workforce on what kind of risks your type of sector faces and how they can identify and avoid them.
- Create an incident response plan. Breaches are inevitable, even when the best defense technology is in place. You need to plan for a breach, just like you plan for a natural disaster. If your building team has a playbook, they don’t need to make decisions in the heat of the moment. Test and update your response plan regularly, and give your response team the opportunity to practice for incidents.
Discover the Smart Cities Initiative
Interest in smart buildings will continue to grow, especially as the Smart Cities Initiative shows results. Know your risks and how to mitigate them before making the leap.
Managed security services provider and a partner of Fortinet, neteffect technologies partners with other SmartCLT innovators to address trends and challenges in the smart buildings market. Visit our website to learn more.