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Buildings Likely To See Increasing Cyber Threats Next Year

Buildings will likely see an increase in cyber related threats in 2020 as they become more connected, putting data, reputation and people at potentially greater risk, according to a recently study by Honeywell.

Honeywell recently released its predictions on emerging trends that will shape cybersecurity for buildings next year.

Honeywell Building Solutions’ cybersecurity professionals identified insights and expected changes resulting from more open, connected and smart building systems, and provided advice on how businesses can better safeguard valuable assets against cyber threats as their facilities digitally transform.

According to Gartner, buildings will account for 81% of all connected things in 2020. Still, connected buildings often remain a less-guarded entry point and cybersecurity has oftentimes not been a primary focus when managing Operational Technology (OT). Research from Accenture shows that online intruders are increasingly seeking to exploit this weakness, as security breaches have increased by 65% in the last five years.

Honeywell experts considered that this will continue in the years ahead, causing serious disruption.

Mirel Sehic, global director of Cybersecurity for Honeywell Building Solutions, said:  “OT systems are, in some instances, being targeted to directly manipulate operations and as a bridge to IT data. For example, attacks on OT systems sometimes occur in hospitals and can lead to ransomware incidents, where staff are locked out of their computers. This can lead to issues such as delays in accessing patient files or even admitting patients, and when it takes 23 days on average to resolve a ransomware attack, this can be catastrophic.”

Cybersecurity for OT is expected to become a key safety and security metric for many businesses in 2020 as digitization and the interconnectivity of systems potentially opens up new routes of access for cyberattacks, according to the study.

“Historically, we’ve often seen a serious lack of awareness and preparation around OT cybersecurity issues, but that’s starting to change. More attention and more budget is oftentimes being dedicated to furthering basic cyber hygiene upkeep and OT cybersecurity incident readiness – and we expect that to continue in 2020. But it’s typically not enough. Cybersecurity assessments must be carried out across a building’s OT infrastructure to identify gaps.”

According to Honeywell, 2020 will likely bring a greater focus to standardization for building cybersecurity. The company said it expects to see at least one framework emerge as a leading guide for securing a building’s OT system. “There are many different frameworks being discussed, making standardization an ambitious prospect,” Sehic added. “The move toward standardization will almost certainly gain traction globally in the year ahead. This year, Honeywell joined the Global Cybersecurity Alliance (GCA), created by the International Society of Automation (ISA), as a founding member to accelerate the development and adoption of cybersecurity standards.”

“2020 will very likely be a transformative year for building technology as businesses make bigger strides toward securing their OT systems against increased cyber threats. Having the right skillsets to combat the rise of threats is becoming increasingly more important,” he added.

Honeywell Building Technologies is a global business with more than 23,000 employees. HBT creates products, software and technologies found in more than 10 million buildings worldwide.―In-Building Tech

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