Whitepaper looks into the benefits and challenges for smart buildings
Axis Communications has announced the release of its latest whitepaper, Smart Buildings & Smart Cities Security. Authored in association with Virtually Informed and Unified Security, the whitepaper is the third in a series looking at specific aspects of security and provides an in depth review of the topic, addresses key questions and, importantly, provides recommendations that must be considered if the smart promise is to become a reality.
Against the global backdrop of population growth, the strain on limited resources and climate change, there is a growing demand for businesses and governments around the world to deliver significant improvements in the way our cities and the buildings within them are managed. The promise of future cities and buildings built around a smart vision to reduce waste, drive efficiencies and optimise resources is a prodigious one with many inherent challenges, not least, security.
Smart technology enables the collection and analysis of data to create actionable and automated events that will streamline operations. To deliver this at far greater scale means bringing together a large number of very different systems and empowering them to communicate freely with access to important and often sensitive data.
Device interoperability will be a crucial component of its success but to have full confidence in the way that these diverse ecosystems operate together, and to ultimately cede important decision-making to them, stakeholders must be fully confident in the security of the systems.
The proliferation of IoT devices has witnessed in parallel an exponential increase in the number of threat exposures and attack vectors, that put in jeopardy the systems that our smart cities and buildings will rely on. With an ever-increasing number of cyber breaches and a common acknowledgment that ‘you are only as strong as your weakest link’, it is important that cyber security is considered and evaluated throughout the whole supply chain to protect data, maintain privacy and keep risk associated with cyber threats to a minimum. This process should always start by looking at device security and the vendors’ cyber maturity.
Managing cyber security in environments of this scale involves drawing up thorough risk assessments that go right back through the supply chain. Identifying vulnerabilities and mitigating the potential for damage that they could cause. Axis’ Smart Buildings & Smart Cities Security whitepaper topics include:
- Smart cities and why we need them - Smart cities are increasingly playing a significant role in meeting today’s resource and population challenges
- Smart and intelligent technology - Smart devices, systems, buildings and cities defined - questions and issues around existing definitions are addressed
- Roles and responsibilities - Review stakeholder roles and security risk management to better understand the security issues associated with smart building systems
- Security challenges - Threat vectors are vast and varied with increasing levels of sophistication; understand the vulnerabilities, technologies and standards to be applied
- Recommendations - Getting started; security standards and frameworks; product strategy, system and solution security; supply and purchasing; and converged operations.
The associated disruption as a result of a cyber security breach of a smart system could be catastrophic. At a minimum, it would cause system down-time and impact its ability to operate. The loss of personal data or IP may also damage reputation, impact a company’s share price or even cause actual physical harm. Ensuring that converged security becomes a vital component of this rapidly changing paradigm is of critical importance; safety and security must be at the heart of the shared ambitions for a smarter environment.
Steven Kenny, Industry Liaison, Architecture and Engineering at Axis Communications commented: “At Axis we are passionate about using technology to help create a smarter and safer world. We also believe that technology should be used in an ethical and responsible way. You might say that this whitepaper reflects the very values of our business in that, used responsibly and with security front and centre, smart technology will help us address the big challenges of our time.
"Increasing efficiencies is vital in meeting carbon reduction targets and avoiding climate catastrophe. The smart vision provides a strong basis for economic growth and improved quality of life. We greatly admire the work that Virtually Informed and Unified Security are doing to help ensure that the worlds of physical and cyber security are aligned and working together to achieve a common goal of increased safety and security for all.”
The whitepaper’s two authors have interesting credentials. James Willison is the Founder of Unified Security and one of IFSEC Global’s top 20 Security thought leaders in the world. Sarb Sembhi is the CTO and CISO at Virtually Informed and has contributed on security projects for the likes of the London Chamber of Commerce and the Internet of Things Security Foundation. Mr. Sembhi also sits on the editorial board of SC magazine.