Uniting the Physical and the Digital

Uniting the Physical and the Digital

Businesses are now choosing the cloud and IoT-based technologies

As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes mainstream, companies are delving into the ramifications of adoption, including its benefits, challenges, and opportunities--not least, the implications to security and cybersecurity. Many see IoT solutions as a way to increase efficiency and reduce costs while providing new avenues for development and modernization for buildings.

Therefore, many businesses are now choosing to use cloud-and IoT-based technologies throughout their properties, including building management systems which integrate data on lighting, physical security, workplace wellness, HVAC and other systems into one display, and smart devices like power quality meters, digital power meters, and smart circuit breakers.

IoT Adoption
Over the past few years, the adoption of IoT technologies has increased at a rapid pace. And rightly so: the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) estimates that with active controls and IoT-enabled technology, properties can expect a 50 percent increase in cost efficiency, including maintenance, energy, and other recurring costs. Incorporating IoT capabilities into facilities enables building managers to implement analytics and even predictive maintenance, allowing facilities to operate as efficiently as possible while also helping to reduce the overall operating expenditures and maintenance costs.

But in order to ensure that this continued growth is sustainable, facility managers and owners alike must address increasing concerns about IoT security, developing effective strategies to protect building data, collected via the IoT and connected devices, from outside threats.

As smart buildings become equipped with AI and digital IoT technologies, they are better able to identify and implement efficiencies (particularly in the areas of sustainability, energy efficiency and operating costs), extend the performance and longevity of building infrastructure assets, and improve the experience, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Smart devices allow facility teams to gain unparalleled access to the entire operating environment and allow for measuring and collecting data, as well as providing functional control. By incorporating smart devices, not only are these systems monitoring equipment performance and sharing alarms on threats to reliability or efficiency, they make it possible to measure communications and electrical data and other parameters at key points throughout a facility’s power network, from the main utility to individual plug loads.

This capability also extends to the facilities lighting and security platforms, enabling tighter integration which historically has not been possible, while also increasing security staff effectiveness through automated deterrent actions, increased situational awareness and deeper reporting capabilities.

However, breaches of building systems or sensitive data can cost millions in regulatory penalties, disrupt core business functions, and threaten business reputations to a level that could impair consumer, employee, and investor confidence. Because of this, it is critically important that the systems of today, which will carry forward for years to come, be designed and deployed with a keen eye on cybersecurity and data protection.

There are many benefits that smart buildings can provide while simultaneously mitigating cybersecurity risks. Building owners, operators and even occupiers need to understand the way smart building control systems are architected and managed from a cybersecurity perspective to capture the full benefits of intelligent buildings.

Protecting Buildings Against Digital Threats
In order to secure buildings after implementing IoT-based systems, IT teams will need to implement similarly IoT-based cybersecurity solutions in order to thwart digital attacks. Adoption can include the use of encryption and multi-step authentication to protect communications between workstations, controllers, and mobile devices.

Deploying systems which start their development cycle with a focus on securing by design and leverage the latest in encryption are important factors that today's building designers and operators should take into consideration. Designers can no longer say that the security of the technology installed is the responsibility of the network which they reside on.

The best approach is to focus on built-in security. Having a comprehensive system that has a process to design, build, manufacture, and deliver solutions that are based largely on ISO 27034 cybersecurity standards and ISO 9001:2015 is key.

These help ensure that cybersecurity is not an afterthought, but is a critical fundamental aspect of the development cycles and incorporated from the outset, then managed and measured throughout the entire product development process, from concept to decommissioning. Saying that something is designed with cybersecurity in mind is important, but it is even more crucial to have dedicated cybersecurity test labs where platforms can be thoroughly tested and even include third-party validation.

For example, a team that uses leading open source and commercial grade cybersecurity tools along with in-house technologies and techniques are able to ensure cybersecurity from a project’s start to finish. IT would also be helpful to employ independent, CREST-certified laboratories to further validate the security of the building control solutions. Furthermore, having a product that has been validated by several large global companies from diverse industries such as banking and finance, hotels, healthcare, and more could be beneficial.

Similarly, there are now new standards and protocols that are being implemented to ensure cybersecurity is maintained and managed across each system connected to mobile applications. System manufacturers increasingly provide security training to application developers in the effort to ensure that their own clients are complying with these standards.

Simultaneously, business managers incorporate extensive testing, secure code practices, threat modeling, and more to make sure their teams are following security regulations. Equipment manufacturers, in another part of this equation, provide customers and partners with thorough instructions and documentation to indicate that they are deploying their equipment securely, effectively, and efficiently. A growing number of facility managers also have begun to allocate dedicated staff to cybersecurity teams to provide support, maintenance, and installation services to incidents or vulnerabilities.

As attacks become more common and sophisticated, businesses need to keep up to date with the latest solutions as hackers continue to familiarize themselves with existing security solutions and work around them. Evolving processes and procedures with changing security needs will be vital to ensuring facility success. Network managers should also plan to continually train staff to ensure cybersecurity systems and protocols continue to evolve and are continually updated and followed across the organization.

Protecting Against Physical Threats
With the adoption of IoT comes added benefits for access control and on-site security as well. As the use of cloud and IoT-enabled devices continues to grow, it is becoming more commonplace for security personnel to have mobile devices connected to their building’s systems.

Multiple industries are integrating mobile devices into their daily workflows, giving more opportunities for the benefits of remote access to be realized. It is likely that mobile tools with remote access will become an increasingly important part of building security and management, as security teams consistently use their devices to monitor various aspects of their building to ensure their occupants’ safety.

Through remote monitoring, security professionals can access all of their building’s security systems including video monitoring, intrusion detection, and visitor management through mobile devices. Moving beyond the control room, security teams can stay visible throughout the entire facility while also monitoring real time information through devices connected to the cloud-enabled services.

Security staff can make clearer decisions and provide faster responses by accessing this information at any time, from any place. As security management tools continue to develop, building managers, end users, dealers and integrators need to be aware of how they are changing building security management, and how they will affect its future.

Future Opportunities
Building managers are not alone in the effort to ensure that IoT-enabled systems for buildings are protected. This effort is being taken seriously across the industry, and as IoT-connected building management systems become more popular, new standards and protocols are being implemented to ensure cybersecurity is maintained and managed across each system connected to mobile applications.

Looking ahead, one of the biggest advances for all of security and building automation will be with analytics tools. Analytics will be able to unite all facility systems and their resulting data and metadata and turn them into actionable insights which can be used for improvements and innovations. Using such tools will make a profound impact on the support of the building, its occupants and assets, creating a significant change in the maintenance of facilities large and small.

We see a continued increase in the adoption of cloud services due to the overall benefits, and a growth in facial detection and recognition in the area of access control. Additionally, I expect the industry will evolve integration beyond traditional security. Today’s enterprise customers are looking for integration that goes beyond cameras, intrusion sensors, and intercoms and moves into integration with lighting, building management, services, tracking and even vehicle management systems.

By providing security professionals with the tools to work from anywhere, giving them a view of all their properties—inside the network infrastructure and outside the physical walls—buildings can be more secure than ever.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Making Safety and Security Intrinsic to School Design

    Public anxieties about school safety are escalating across the country. According to a 2023 Gallup report, 44% of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2019. Unfortunately, these fears are likely to increase if the incidence of school tragedies continues to mount. As a result, school leaders are now charged with two non-negotiable responsibilities. The first, as always, is to ensure kids have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. Sadly, their second responsibility is to keep the children in their care safe from threats and physical danger. Read Now

  • The Power of a Layered Approach to Safety

    In a perfect world, every school would have an unlimited budget to help secure their schools. In reality, schools must prioritize what budget they have while navigating the complexities surrounding school security and lockdown. Read Now

  • How a Security System Can Enhance Arena Safety and the Fan Experience

    Ensuring guests have both a memorable experience and a safe one is no small feat for your physical security team. Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and other large event venues are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the fan experience and maintain a high level of security. The goal is to preserve the integrity and excitement of the event while enhancing security and remaining “behind the scenes.” Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    The latest Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform offers next-generation smart camera IoT solutions to improve safety and security across enterprises, cities and spaces. The Vision Intelligence Platform was expanded in March 2022 with the introduction of the QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC), which delivers superior artificial intelligence (AI) inferencing at the edge. 3

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3