The Internet of Things is truly upon us and all manner of devices are being Internet-enabled. Among these developments is the appearance of the so-called ‘smart building’, with web-based interfaces being used to control heating, lighting, safety and security systems and more.
Adding Internet interfaces allows for remote management and reporting, and is enabling a push for greater efficiency. But it’s also turning these buildings into highly visible targets.
In this interview, Colin Tankard, MD of Digital Pathways explains that there’s a “disconnect between buildings being smart and how they’re being protected”.
Cost-saving, particularly through energy efficiency, is a major motivation. And, says Tankard, “buildings are complicated to look after – people need technology.”
As part of this change, we’re starting, finally, to see the convergence of physical and data security systems. But for the most part, data and building systems remain separate networks. Building systems are not as unified or standardised in regard to things like protocols, as data networking.
Convergence is therefore difficult – but it is coming.
“We’re a data security company and we’ve been working with organisations that have control room systems that unify a lot of these processes,” explains Tankard. He believes that those working on smart building solutions are moving towards a ‘manager of managers’ approach; we’re not going to get everything completely integrated and working as one system, but we can achieve a high-level view of what’s going on, and this is going to be important from a governance perspective.
Of course, by introducing new technologies, the smart building also presents a new attack surface and new vulnerabilities. Is security being thought about enough? Tankard doesn’t think so. He explains that there are lots of poorly protected web interfaces and this is going to take a long time to change. The good news is that there are tools out there that can help.