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IT Security for Facility Managers

Why do facility managers need to take cyber threats more seriously and not leave it solely in the care of IT security providers? With IT security breaches on the rise, the facility management (FM) sector is at particular risk. This means that the ‘good enough’ approach needs to go.
While no organisation deliberately ignores security threats, relying on the security features of access points or other wireless infrastructure components is no longer sufficient, as they are incapable of detecting all types of threats across every channel.
For facility managers on a single site or managing multiple premises, with staff on-site and off-site sending confidential information over wireless infrastructure, any gap in security is a threat. Cyber security is increasingly becoming a greater threat to governments and businesses alike, with hackers becoming smarter every minute. With this in mind, the FM sector really does need to step up its game.
In 2014 alone, 42.8 million security incidents were detected globally. Security incidents are now so commonplace that, when compared with the growth of annual GDP and mobile phone growth, global security breaches are growing at double the rate at 48 percent. When considering that an estimated 71 percent of security compromises go undetected, the scale of the issue is put into sharp focus. Hacking attacks are becoming more sophisticated, security breaches and the potential damage they inflict are only getting worse and hackers are getting more confident. Now is the time for facility managers to take control before their IT systems become compromised.
 Five key IT security challenges for facility managers

  1. Multi-located workforce.FM staff are often on-site and the data they have to worry about is often their clients’ data. Therefore, ensuring data transfer over wireless networks is secure from prying eyes is essential.
  2. We often underestimate the power of people and human errors. Human errors and system problems are responsible for the vast majority of data breaches. Furthermore, FM companies often work with a vast number of clients and suppliers. It is critical that their IT systems are secure as well.
  3. Money transactions in the FM world.FM organisations often deal with contractors and pay them based on time-sheets and analysis. If that information gets corrupted, they will have major issues with employees, clients and even banks.
  4. FM businesses often have their own systems and hand-held products. If a data breach happens and affects any of these, it becomes difficult to complete a job and could result in termination of a service level agreement.
  5. Health and safety.In the FM sector many staff are dealing in hard services such as engineering, an area where safety is critical for things to keep working. As technology is becoming intrinsic to much of this work, corrupted data could cause a raft of issues. For example, if a hacked device is saying that the electricity has been turned off when it hasn’t, making it seem safe to test wires, health and safety can be severely compromised.

Security practices must keep pace with constantly-evolving threats and security requirements. More importantly, IT security needs to be higher up on the business agenda for facility managers. A key part of this is the need for a dynamic response to wireless threats. As mobile data, mobile devices and security breaches continue their stratospheric climb, the ability to immediately identify all rogue wireless activities, regardless of network type, and enforce a ‘no-wireless’ zone is critical for organisations that deal with sensitive information, such as those in the FM sector.
Excerpt from Facility Management Sept 2015