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Facility managers might not be able to turn a smart building or BAS into a Fort Knox of cybersecurity, but that doesn’t mean admitting defeat. Instead, here are some strategies to keep in mind:
1. Don’t wait until an emergency happens. Handle cybersecurity as you would your finances or your health. Just as you might ask a second financial advisor or accountant to check out your current financial planner’s work, or just as you might seek a second doctor’s medical advice, Daniel Crowley, research director of IBM X-Force Red, suggests having regular security audits and penetration tests. Hacking can take systems offline for days or longer. Don’t wait until there’s been a breach.
“Computers change. Networks change,” Crowley says. “Sometimes other things come to light over time because the technology or the bug or whatever didn’t exist.”
2. Fluency. Facility managers might also hire someone fluent in the languages of IT and building cybersecurity. These people can link the industries that must come together to provide tighter, safer building systems.
3. Interdisciplinary relationships. Use relationships to benefit from other perspectives. Many major industries are tackling issues such as human resources, team-building, and scalability by meeting with and learning from people in other industries.
4. Not a Greek drama. It need not be what a Herculean effort to bring cybersecurity to the table at the very beginning of a building project. BIM projects have shown that coordination among different disciplines at the start of a project can prevent problems.
Nichole L. Reber is a freelance writer who covers facility technology.
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