How to enhance the smart building cybersecurity?
Smart offices, airports, hotels, and shopping malls are now commonplace. Managing a smart property saves a lot of time and facilitates the execution of tasks, while also ensuring a high level of user comfort. However, it's important not to overlook the potential threats that come with a smart building. In the present times, approximately 84% of building automation systems are connected to the internet. This provides hackers with a significant opportunity to breach the system in order to gain valuable data, extort ransoms, or create chaos. Up to 40% of smart building systems have already experienced some form of cyberattack. How can you protect your property from cybercriminals? How can you enhance the cybersecurity of a smart building? See our guidelines below.
Get to Know the Smart Building Well.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the entire smart building, from the basement to the roof. Understand the functioning of the entire IT architecture and the implemented technological solutions. Examine the network of devices connected to the smart building system. Identify the building's strengths, but also be aware of its limitations and vulnerabilities. This will make it easier for you to plan a cybersecurity strategy and react more swiftly and efficiently to any incidents.
Choose Appropriate Smart Building Solutions.
When planning the IT infrastructure of a building, including smart building solutions, opt for manufacturers and suppliers who are reputable, reliable, and well-regarded in the market, and who prioritize cybersecurity. Additionally, ensure uniformity by avoiding the integration of technologies from different manufacturers. Hackers find it much easier to breach a system where devices from various sources collaborate, as they might not always be perfectly compatible. Also, review the instructions and recommendations of each smart building component to ensure proper connectivity.
Test the Building Automation System.
Be aware that human errors often occur during system configuration. Therefore, thoroughly testing everything multiple times is crucial for the overall security of the building. Prior to implementation, examine everything for vulnerabilities, gaps, and shortcomings related to cybersecurity. Analyze whether cybersecurity considerations have been incorporated into the design phase of the IT architecture, and determine who is responsible for testing and verifying the security status of the smart building system.
Pay Attention to Passwords for the Building Automation System.
Passwords serve as an important barrier between hackers and the smart building system. Make sure this barrier is not weak and easily breakable. Therefore, right from the start, change all default usernames and passwords. Ensure password security by following good practices. Each user should set their individual passwords that are: long (composed of at least 8 characters), strong (a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters), and unique (used only in one place).
Update the Smart Building Software.
The software of the building automation system, like any other, requires regular updates. These updates patch vulnerabilities and improve the network's security level. Irregular or complete neglect of software updates opens the door wide for hackers. Cybercriminals compare two versions of software: the older and the newer. This allows them to identify changes, revealing weaknesses in the earlier version. They then know precisely where and how to strike in the case of a system that hasn't been updated promptly.
Manage Access to the Building Automation System.
Take into account the human factor, through which access credentials might leak, or someone might unintentionally or deliberately alter crucial parameters, inadvertently making the hacker's job easier. Therefore, apply the principle of least privilege, controlling access for each person to the building automation system. Many entities are involved in the creation and operation of a property. During construction, stakeholders such as investors, contractors, or system integrators deal with smart building aspects. When the building is operational, even more individuals are involved. Management staff, IT departments, technical support, administration, lower-level employees, suppliers, tenants – each group should have different access privileges. Ensure that individuals have access only to the parts of the system relevant to their job.
Monitor the Network to React to Threats Promptly.
Hackers persistently strive to acquire valuable data. They can find even the tiniest vulnerability in a well-secured smart building. Hence, consider implementing a system that continuously monitors the network for cyber threats, detects potentially risky incidents, and effectively eliminates them. This approach will allow you to rest easy and spare yourself from serious problems resulting from phishing attacks or ransomware software.
Prepare an Incident Response Plan.
In any case, accidents can happen. It's up to you how swiftly you clean up the resulting damages and minimize further losses. Develop a detailed plan for responding to various types of incidents. What to do if a hacker breaches the system and disables certain elements, such as lighting, heating, or monitoring? Who is responsible for restoring backups in the event of a ransomware attack? Whom to inform about observed attempts at data phishing? What procedures to implement in case of a data breach involving access credentials? Share the created plan with all individuals who have access to the building automation system. Conduct simulations to practice the scenarios you've developed and verify their effectiveness.
Familiarize yourself with the Expert Webinar.
How else can you enhance the security of a smart building and defend against hackers? You can find out by watching a free recording of a webinar dedicated to cybersecurity in the real estate market. Our expert describes the digital transformation of the industry and the challenges you need to be prepared for. They discuss ideas, strategies, and solutions for protecting against cybercriminals. They also address potential threats stemming from the ongoing development of smart home technologies.
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