As buildings become increasingly connected, the risk of a cyberattack to building systems increases exponentially, as noted in a report from McKinsey & Company that found ransomware attacks have doubled each year since 2019. These security breaches can result in the shutdown of a facility, threatening occupant safety and property damage and leading to tenant claims for business disruption. Facility management professionals must protect against these threats and their associated liability by assessing vulnerabilities and protecting their IT/OT systems.
But few organizations in the OT space have the specialized cybersecurity resources or expertise in house.
To help remedy the problem, the non-profit organization Building Cyber Security (BCS) has partnered with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) to offer members resources, training, and tools to mitigate cyber risk in facility operations. BSC has a mission to enhance global safety through the development of cybersecurity protections for intelligent buildings and communities. Through this partnership, facility managers now have access to leading industry standards and capabilities designed specifically for the protection of tenants and facilities in the commercial real estate ecosystem.
Modernizing Approach to Building Security
The legacy approach to building safety and security must be updated to account for the sophistication and impact of cyber threats. In today’s interconnected world, physical security and cybersecurity in the built environment are inextricably linked. Experts from all disciplines must come together to create a comprehensive and coordinated approach to safety. IFMA’s collaboration with BCS will offer FMs the tools and training to better communicate, coordinate and collaborate with IT and OT cybersecurity professionals for a safer, efficient, and more sustainable built environment.
“Integrating physical and cyber security procedures has risen in criticality. Whether leading or supporting these efforts, facility management professionals are integral to ensuring the safety of people and organizational assets. By partnering with Building Cyber Security, we can provide crucial information and upskilling on cybersecurity technology, processes and BCS' cyber-physical framework to our members,” said IFMA President and CEO Don Gilpin in a press release.
BCS CEO Lucian Niemeyer added, “The wide-spread adoption of smart buildings and PropTech, aimed at enhancing both operating efficiencies and tenant experiences in commercial properties, also raises fresh cybersecurity challenges and hazards for property owners, asset operators and CEOs that can rapidly devalue an asset. Our BCS team has pioneered an easy-to-use performance framework, based on universally accepted industry benchmarks, for facility managers to recognize and evaluate cyber risks in building systems and technology. We also offer facility assessment and certifications to mitigate risk from cyber threats.”