• IoT
  • Cyber Attack
  • Building Systems
  • Cybersecurity

The Role of MSIs in Promoting Cybersecurity Efforts in Smart Buildings

Rafael Go
Oct 28, 2019

Cybersecurity 2

As building owners turn to sophisticated, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled technologies to optimize building performance and enhance occupant comfort, these new advantages carry new risks. Increased reliance on smart devices heightens exposure to potential cybersecurity attacks from malicious actors. In the first half of 2019, almost 38% of computers used to control smart building automation systems were affected by cyber attacks. These attacks are damaging to a building’s operations and could compromise the integrity of sensitive data. For 40% of the buildings that experienced a cyber attack, 11% involved spyware that attempted to steal account credentials, posing a key strategic risk that threatens customer growth and retention efforts. 

Traditionally, IT and OT security efforts in buildings have been conducted disparately, each with its own set of procedures and personnel. However, as more systems carry an IT dimension, managing building security in silos only heightens the potential cybersecurity risks in buildings. It is incumbent for building managers to streamline IT and OT system management efforts to shore up potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Although convergence between a building’s IT and OT systems is often touted as a key to unlocking full strategic and operational benefits of IoT technologies, using a holistic approach to building management is also crucial from a risk management perspective. 

Enter the Master Systems Integrator 

To meet the need for comprehensive building systems integration, a new breed of service provider, the master systems integrator (MSI), has evolved. MSIs combine expertise across a wide variety of disciplines, including knowledge of IT, software engineering, cybersecurity, and traditional operational technologies such as HVAC and security systems, to provide building managers a singular platform to view building performance. Not only can MSIs ensure that all cybersecurity measures are up-to-date, but by providing a comprehensive view of all of the building’s IT systems, managers can quickly identify, assess, and contain potential cyber threats. 

Building managers rely on various types of service providersfor distinct purposes, such as electrical and mechanical contractors, IT consultants, and real-estate advisory firms. As customers seek more comprehensive building management solutions, MSIs are in a position to disrupt the building services industry, leading current service providers to expand their capabilities by growing their talent pools or acquiring expertise externally. 

To learn more about the role and capabilities of MSIs and their effect on the building services market, read the new Navigant Research, a Guidehouse company, report, Master Systems Integrators Catalyzing Intelligent Building Transformation.