The Cybersecurity for Smart Buildings Challenge

Author photo: Larry O'Brien
ByLarry O'Brien
Industry Trends

Addressing the crucial issue of cybersecurity for smart buildings is a challenge.  Like the manufacturing sector, the building automation sector is going through its own digital transformation.  End users are increasingly adopting edge to cloud computing architectures and moving away from older proprietary systems of the past.  There is a drive to deploy an increasing number of lower cost sensors, both wired and wireless, to gather as much data as possible.  At the same time, the industry has a considerable installed base of legacy building automation systems, applications, devices, and networks that must be managed, maintained, and gradually modernized.  

Digitization and IoT Present New Risks

All of these factors are creating unique challenges in the realm of cybersecurity.  The ubiquitous connectivity and remote operations promised by IoT bring with it many concerns for secure connectivity.  Legacy systems pose their own risks and vulnerabilities and are no longer the obscure systems that nobody is interested in anymore.  Attackers take advantage of known vulnerabilities in both new and existing systems to disrupt operations, steal customer data, and cause destruction. 

A Complex Installed Base of Buiding Automation Systems

The application space for building controls is also varied and complex.  ARC’s own research into building automation systems encompasses HVAC, energy management systems, lighting control systems, video surveillance systems, access control systems, elevator control systems, as well as their attached sensors and devices, from cameras to thermostats to light sensors.  Each system and device, including their multiple versions and iterations, has its own level of cybersecurity risk. 

Cybersecurity for Smart Buildings Challenge

Shrinking Resources

End users and owner/operators of today’s smart buildings are also confronted with shrinking resources and other organizational challenges such as IT/OT convergence. Having a good plan and developing the right organization is just as important as implementing the right technologies.  It helps to have access to information about the latest standards, best practices, and relevant industry groups.  For the building automation sector, many of these activities are just getting started.  

ARC Research on Cybersecurity for Smart Buildings

The cybersecurity market for the operational technology segment of the smart buildings sector is just getting started, and there are signifcant oppotrunities for cybersecurity vendors, building automation system suppliers, and service providers.  ARC recently released a study that explores current market performance, related technology and business trends, identifies leading technology suppliers, and provides five-year global forecasts for the cybersecurity for smart buildings market.  You can find out more about the study here.  

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