Security and Privacy – Things to Consider When Introducing IoT to Buildings

We recently wrote about how the Internet of Things can be added to any facility for more robust metrics and inventory management. The post was a great introduction to IoT from a general perspective, but to take it a step further, we will expand further to the specialized realm of Building IoT or (B-IoT).

Through the lens of Building IoT, we will explore the challenges to maintain a consistent level of privacy and security while also utilizing the technology.

Let’s dive in!

What is Building IoT?

Building IoT (B-IoT) is simply IoT but on a larger scale. It is IoT applied to the whole spectrum of commercial building operations. Instead of connecting a few devices or appliances to a central dashboard, B-IoT means structuring most of the building around options for measurability – like smart sensors in restrooms, smart heating and cooling systems, lighting control, and beyond.

IoT, at its most basic definition, is the connection of devices into a large often cloud-based network. Applied to your facilities, B-IoT means your facilities function as a miniature network of relevant building data.

With so many moving parts though, things can get complicated quickly. Those complications can leave holes in privacy and security if not properly managed.

Security and Privacy Challenges of B-IoT

Now, security and privacy challenges do not mean that you should avoid B-IoT. On the contrary! By understanding the security vulnerabilities of the systems in place, you can avoid potential problems for security and privacy.

Here are some the ways that security and privacy may be threatened when using B-IoT:

  • IoT at your facility indirectly monitors and tracks movements, restroom usage, and room occupancy based on HVAC, lighting, or other aspects of building automation. This may lead to client dissatisfaction for obvious reasons.
  • Building IoT can mean many sensors and metrics that are, by definition, hidden within your building. Occupants can interact with many measurable components without realizing it, leading to a lack of transparency.
  • Because IoT is so new and so exciting, it’s smart to stay aware that a lot of the devices are easily hackable. If you set up a large network of connected devices, you are essentially opening up multiple opportunities for attack.

Ways to Minimize Threats to Security and Privacy

For security purposes, it is always a ‘best practice’ to consult security and network experts before adopting a full scale IoT system. Starting with security in mind –first- is much safer than worrying about it later. It can also avoid data breaches.

For privacy purposes, it makes sense to set up data measurement KPIs that don’t over monitor building occupants. Apart from tracking inventory and the indirect monitoring of smart lighting and auto adjust HVAC systems, it’s important to be transparent with building occupants and wise to set up a privacy-first system.

Because occupant experience is such an essential aspect of facilities management, it makes sense to balance any data collection procedures – i.e. IoT – with transparent enough operations for the benefit of your occupants.

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Put Service by Medallion to work for you. For more information on this topic, or help with any building cleaning and operating need, contact a Service By Medallion Business Solutions Specialist at (650) 625-1010.


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