According to Frost & Sullivan, a smart building is one that uses both technology and processes to create an environment that is safe, healthy, and comfortable and enables productivity and well-being for its occupants. However, for architects, this Brave New world opens up a series of questions about cybersecurity.
New developments like the Internet of Things (IoT) and its associated technology, Big Data, are starting to make their way into the built environment, meaning that the issue of cybersecurity will no longer just be concern for business or the IT department, but rather it will become an issue for the population at large.
SMART BUILDINGS NOW BECOMING A TARGET
As Frost & Sullivan noted in their 2015 study: ‘Cybersecurity in smart buildings inaction is not an option anymore’, “research and evaluation of the concerns cited by various stakeholders of the smart buildings industry, the systems of a smart building can undoubtedly become low-hanging fruit for motivated cyber attackers.”
And the question, says the research group, is not how, but rather, when the attacks on smart buildings will begin.
At the same time, says Frost & Sullivan, the solution “lies in recognising the scope and magnitude of cybercrimes that can impact smart buildings, understanding ICS vulnerabilities, evaluating cost of damage, devising mitigation methods, and pursuing an ongoing robust cybersecurity plan for smart buildings.”
Moreover, it says, the building automation system (BAS) or a building operating system (BOS) “has moved considerably from the physical realm to one with IT enabling all aspects of its functioning, with now a new generation of connected and intelligent buildings powered by IoT.”
The entry of technology vendors and service providers has started a completely new and transformational phase in the evolution of the smart building.
THE PRICE OF BUILDINGS-BASED CYBER SECURITY JUST WENT UP
According to Meemori Research in its 2017 report: Cyber Security in Smart Commercial Buildings 2017 to 2021, there is a growing cybersecurity market for smart buildings.
“Buildings control systems are increasingly being deployed along with embedded communications technology to provide critical services that allow a building to meet the functional and operational needs of building occupants,” notes the Meemori Research report.
“Smart buildings promise significant benefits to owners and operators in terms of efficiency, safety, comfort and functionality, but these systems also carry potential costs, as without the right levels of protection, they can act as tempting targets for would-be hackers and or malicious insiders.”
“The increased proliferation of smart devices, combined with persistent concerns over cyber-risk and data privacy and an increased incidence of cyberattacks against smart buildings will help drive a significant increase in demand for new cyber security hardware, software and services in the market,” says the Meemori study.
In this new age, a detailed knowledge and strategy of how to digitally protect our buildings will be crucial to maintaining this new ‘smart’ built environment.