Smart buildings — those that deliver outstanding outcomes for all users, through digital technology, to exceed their evolving expectations — have the power to transform the way we live, work and communicate. With the right technology at their fingertips, landlords can equip their offices for the modern workforce that has grown accustomed to a highly tech-enabled lifestyle. Our research shows that 80% of employees want to work in a technologically advanced office, so a tech-enabled environment isn’t just a nice-to-have for the working world. It’s essential.
When implemented properly, smart technologies enable landlords and building managers to make buildings smarter by using more advanced systems such as access control, fire alarm, and compliance management. However, security does not end with fire safety and traditional barriers to the outside world. Cybercriminals have become a real threat, invading everything from nanny cameras to refrigerators. Virtually any Internet of Things (IoT) device could serve as a conduit to breach an entire network. This is such a concern that, reportedly, President Biden’s Peloton will not be allowed to enter the White House for fear of a security breach.
Using technology as a new incentive to bring the workforce back to the office requires proper thought to implement state-of-the-art technology without compromising digital or personal safety. Here are three considerations for landlords to ensure that their smart buildings remain secure.
1. Keep security in mind from day one
Smart and connected are often used interchangeably, but there is an important differentiator. While any aspect of a building could be “connected” — lights, plumbing, heating and cooling, access control, to name a few — they are not necessarily “smart.” The smarter the building, the larger the attack surface. A truly smart environment is seamlessly integrated and is purpose-built with security in mind from day one, minimizing the risk of potential threats.
2. Establish the correct protocols and standards
Cybersecurity cannot be obtained without first establishing the necessary policies, practices, and testing processes that ensure the building’s systems and data are secure. Those policies must then be adhered to in order to ensure that security is maintained. This encompasses not just the approach to securing the networks but also ensuring the building users are aware of cyber best practices and regularly follow standard procedures.
To create environments that are safe, secure and free of cyber threats that could compromise users’ privacy or security, landlords must establish protocols in their buildings to empower tenants to have safer environments for their users and their data. These can range from something as simple as ensuring that the computers used for monitoring building management systems aren’t used for sending emails or as complex as segmenting networks based on vendor usage. In doing so, landlords can minimize the risks and the potential consequences of a system failure, whether in error or through deliberate action from a malicious hacker outside of the system.
3. Focus on protecting data
Smart buildings contain a treasure trove of data that can be used to learn more about how the space is being used, how much energy is required, and how it can be customized to better suit employee needs. Given that every smart asset produces vast amounts of data, organizations need to securely collect, analyze and make smart use of it without compromising security. This means having robust data governance frameworks and physical protection of the data networks.
The office of the future is smarter and more secure
Smart technologies have transformed the way we live, work, and communicate. But without strong security, they can be at risk of becoming a hacker’s playground. By focusing on cybersecurity and data protection from day one and establishing exemplary standards and protocols, landlords can deliver smart buildings that provide users with outstanding experiences without sacrificing security.