Smart Building Security – Protection for ‘The Internet of Things’

‘The Internet of Things’ is not a new phenomenon. For decades people have been attaching sensors to networked intelligence systems in an attempt to create interconnected technology. ‘The Internet of Things’ in simple terms is exactly this; the act of connecting devices together over the internet and allowing them to talk to one another, communicate with the user and utilise digital applications. Efficient, intelligent and innovative, the possibilities for smart devices are extensive, but with that development comes a greater need for protection.

Smart devices for the home can include things like fridges, light and heating switches and even plant sensors. Simple additions to our lifestyle that can make a big difference to both our energy usage and general maintenance of the home. Smart buildings are a somewhat different prospect. Using monitoring sensors here can mean remote control of lifts, lighting and tracking of personnel too. Each of these devices are directed through the same servers as your databases and this is where the problem lies. A smart device may well be connected to your internet server, but it is unlikely to be protected by the firewalls you have in place.

What is crucial for buildings that utilise smart devices and unify their technology is risk mitigation. Security and privacy are key issues, as the quantity of personal data collected could prove to be incredibly valuable and damaging if made accessible to potential cyber hackers. Systems you have in place that monitor personnel for example will store data on who is located where within the building, as well as when they have left. This tracking may prove useful to managing your workforce but can also leading to a potential breach of security. From a privacy perspective documents could be accessed and from a potentially fatal perspective, lifts could be hacked, or the building a target for terrorism.

As mentioned there are endless possibilities to what and how organisations can connect their devices, from tracking and monitoring trends, to turning off switches and initiating protocol. What we are asking for is connected sensors and smart devices to think independently, making decisions without our input and to perform an action based on inputted criteria. There is a vulnerability to this in terms of hacking, as the server you use can provide access to these decisions.

Smart development is often more hardware based and therefore less likely to be protected against attack. The key signs of a cyber-attack on smart devices are often overlooked, thanks to the way that companies attempt to differentiate their online server from their machines. There are few coincidences, so if your firewall has faced attack, or several bad logins have been attempted, at the same time as a heating error occurs in your building, then there is a possibility that the two are linked and that your attacker is attempting to utilise your smart device for entry.

At Digital Pathways our Data Security Specialists, are able to assess your building continuity in terms of security, offering a unified portal for data protection, building control systems, Facilities Management and physical security monitoring that can help alleviate risks and keep all aspects of your data infrastructure secure. Allow us to provide your smart building security and we will be able to protect your personal ‘Internet of Things’. Smart devices and the evolution of interconnected technology is something to be embraced rather than feared, but must not be at the expense of protection.

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Time to start practising some Internet common sense.