The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Chicago Chapter presented a virtual forum in April addressing Intelligent Buildings and Cybersecurity. (Learn more about Keeping Smart Buildings Safe.)
Building owners, managers, and tenants are quick to embrace the advantages of building automated systems (BAS) technology, but may be slow to protect themselves from potential vulnerabilities found in those systems.
ESD Studio Leader for Security Systems Coleman Wolf offers tips, advice, and lessons for protecting real estate assets from cyberattacks in a recent article he wrote for Building Design + Construction magazine. In “Can your intelligent building outsmart hacker?” Wolf says while some of the most exciting emerging technologies improve the operational efficiency of modern building control systems, they also come with potential cybersecurity risks. Wolf says the best defense is to foster cooperation between information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT) teams.
Wolf writes, “Where the responsibility for securing OT vs. IT systems lies is in a state of flux. Traditionally OT rested in facilities, not IT. The operations folks do not want to be burdened by IT controls. Similarly, IT folks recognized that these systems are different animals, and they do not want the responsibility of securing systems that sit outside the traditional IT framework and thus do not have various IT protections and protocols built in.”
Fortunately, Wolf says most companies are beginning to realize that both OT and IT systems need to be managed more holistically under a single umbrella of risk management. The article concludes with a number of basic steps building owners and operators can take to protect facilities from cyberattacks, including changing default passwords, documenting systems thoroughly, and engaging a third party cybersecurity expert to probe for possible vulnerabilities.
Coleman Wolf shares his knowledge from over 25 years of security management and security engineering experience to promote ESD’s mission to improve society through the built environment.
Contact ESD’s experts for more information on how ESD can help with building automation and cybersecurity.