Smart building technology is growing ever more popular as owners and operators grow more interested in the significant savings these solutions have to offer when it comes to energy and operating costs. A properly-equipped smart building can consume as much as fifty percent less energy than a similar structure without smart technology – but this is not the only benefit available.

Better energy conservation, environmental controls, and surveillance equipment are all reducing the cost of operating commercial buildings. The energy savings that smart technologies have to offer are also well worth considering in a world where the price of energy is likely to continue rising.

2017 is likely to be a major tipping point in intelligent building investment. According to Navigant Research, smart building platforms have become secure, scalable, and safe enough for use in every industry. They increase energy efficiency, make buildings more sustainable, and help increase occupant satisfaction.

Two of the most popular smart systems gaining traction today are smart HVAC systems and smart lighting. According to ABI Research, by 2021 these technologies will respectively account for 49 and 32 percent of the revenue generated by smart building technology. ABI’s overall forecast for the smart building industry predicts revenues rising to $8 billion in 2021. In contrast, the industry’s revenue in 2015 was $625 million.

Security Risks In Smart Buildings

Not all of the news related to smart buildings is positive. Tying important building systems into the Internet of Things (IoT) creates a whole new field of security issues that have to be addressed.

There are already real-world examples of the pitfalls awaiting the insecure smart building: Ransomware was used recently to lock guests of the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt in Austria out of their rooms. Hackers extorted a relatively minor $1,800 from the hotel in order to end the guests’ inconvenience and surrender control of the hotel’s computers. This incident does paint a vivid picture of the real risks posed by malicious hackers attempting to gain unauthorized access to building systems. Check out this post from Anderselite for more changes.

Minimizing Smart Building Risks

The rise of smart buildings expands the range of cyber-security concerns all types of organizations need to address. Besides protecting data, now organizations need to safeguard network access to their facilities in the same way. These are sound basic steps to take to maximize smart building security.

1) Analyze Risks. A realistic analysis of the risks facing your organization will clarify your security challenges. Mitigate risks wherever possible using active controls and sound contingency planning.

2) Train All Employees. An overwhelming majority of cyber-security breaches involve some form of human error inadvertently exposing sensitive information to malicious actors. Train all the members of your team in effective security precautions, with particular attention on password security. Make an extra effort to tie your training to the specific risks you uncovered in the previous step.

3) Build An Effective Response Plan. Even the best security measures can be overcome, making security breaches inevitable on a long enough timeline. Data breaches should be planned for just like natural disasters. Having a concrete plan in place will save your team from making ill-considered decisions in the heat of the moment. Keep your response plan updated and practice it regularly with your response team.

The Smart Cities Initiative

As interest in smart buildings spreads further and further, the Smart Cities Initiative will deliver more useful results. Take a moment to assess the risks that face your organization and take steps to mitigate them before you take the plunge into smart building technology.