Wherever that has an internet connection, there’s cyber risk. Buildings might not be the first thing that comes to mind as cyber-crime targets. However, today’s smart buildings are interconnected to devices, control systems, and public infrastructure. They aren’t immune.
In 2021, governments worldwide experienced an 1,885% increase in ransomware attacks while the healthcare sector encountered a 755% increase in cyberattacks. These attacks primarily cripple businesses by rendering their systems defunct until the hackers get their “ransom.”
Hence, it’s vital to understand how to have proper cyber security infrastructures that would secure our smart buildings.
Today, almost every new building (larger than 10,000 sq/m) is engineered to be a smart building. To stay competitive, buildings must be capable of running autonomously. This often involved installing building automation systems to reduce energy wastage, manage a building’s lighting, heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. All with minimal human involvement.
To achieve this, building automation systems requires the installation of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies (including sensors and internet-connected data transmitters).
Thanks to IoT, facility management systems can be accessed and controlled remotely - from anywhere in the world, bringing about a wealth of convenience to a smart building including the following:
A smart building gives visibility to systems and equipment that are inefficient and make real-time adjustments to reduce energy consumption.
A smart building can perform automatic checks for equipment and notify relevant personnel when preventive maintenance or replacement is necessary.
Smart buildings are equipped with advanced climate and lighting controls to improve indoor air quality and lighting levels. With occupancy sensors, we can accurately locate occupants and implement appropriate safe distancing measures.
However, the convergence of the physical and digital worlds calls for a different approach to risk. The same PropTech that brings great convenience to its occupants also provides the gateway for hackers. While Singapore suffered only very minor cyberattacks, other incidents around the world highlight how disastrous a lapse in a building’s cybersecurity can be.
In 2014, through Target’s smart Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system provider, hackers infiltrated the retail giant’s Point of Sale systems and uploaded data-stealing malware. This resulted in over 40 million stolen credit card information and incurred losses of up to $420 million.
Three years later, cybercriminals stole a database of high-roller gamblers from a North American casino through an Internet-connected thermostat in the aquarium lobby. These are cautionary tales that building owners should be aware of as technology and infrastructures advance.
Traditionally, we distinguish between physical and information security, business-continuity management and data protection, and in-house and external security. As the lines are blurred, these archaic segregations must be done away for a more holistic and robust cybersecurity system.
57% of IoT devices are vulnerable to medium or high-severity attacks. Many established corporations (e.g., hospitals, data centers, hotels) have fallen victim to cyberattacks. Moreover, with physical infrastructure, you’re exposed to the vulnerability of having the occupants be held hostage by malicious parties who can control the building remotely.
Thus, it calls for top of the line cybersecurity PropTech to ensure these calamities are avoided. With cybersecurity PropTech, you enjoy a variety of benefits.
Anything that can connect to the internet is at risk of a cyberattack. It’s critical to view a smart building security like an enterprise network security.
With PropTech, we can ensure that new devices undergo a stringent vetting process and are preloaded with layers of protection. For instance, a smart building’s elements (e.g., doors, alarm, printers) would be consistently monitored to ensure that it’s secure during activity and inactivity. Cybersecurity PropTech focuses on implementing a system level security across every component in a smart building.
60% of businesses go bust within six months of a data breach. Successful intrusions prevent smart buildings from operating and can lead to significant damages resulting from the following:
As technologies become more integrated and interconnected, cyber-breaching a single connected device could endanger the entire network causing disruption to the entire line. Protecting your network with ruggedized systems could prevent a class action lawsuit and a nightmare of reparations.
With an increased globalized threat of Ransomware, international bodies have placed regulations that owners must comply with and include as part of the tender specifications. There are the three international cybersecurity standards for smart buildings:
Thankfully, most cybersecurity PropTech in the market have attained more stringent requirements or the equivalent set by these regulatory bodies.
Property owners are highly encouraged to require their vendors to meet reasonable levels of security before establishing any partnership. These requirements should be reflected into their assessment criteria for suppliers to prevent a loophole for data breach.
Cybersecurity is a moving target. What’s safe today, may not be secure tomorrow. As more PropTech populates the market, we need to ensure that we can protect our smart buildings well.
At Switch Automation, we democratize the data science process and reduce the skills barrier to enable broader participation. We empower companies to execute with optimal data interpretability and accuracy across portfolios and buildings.
Talk to a smart building expert to learn more about how Switch helps portfolio managers reach their sustainability goals.
5 articles found
A good building management app helps commercial property managers streamline operations, save time and cut costs. Select the right one by following these tips.
Get to know our Switchers as we share our journeys in the smart building industry and what it’s like working at Switch!
With energy prices at a multi-decade high and increased societal pressure to lower carbon emissions, buildings must optimize their energy efficiency to stay relevant, stay profitable, and combat the global climate crisis. Can you afford the cost of inaction?
Learn how data and technology-led sustainability not only benefits the environment, but increases building resilience and profit too.
Welcome to Switch Spotlight, where we share our journeys in the smart building industry and what it’s like working at Switch!
5 key steps to futureproofing buildings with investments that will deliver value and prepare your organization for further top line growth.