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Cyber Security: The BeMS industry needs to quickly adapt

The rapid development of technology has made workplaces all over the UK look very different to the way they did just five years ago. The amazing rise of digital devices and the connectivity we now enjoy has changed how many businesses operate, as well as helping to boost productivity.

But with these wonderful new advancements have come a number of risks, with one standing head and shoulders above the rest. Cybercrime, of course. Like the technology it was created to protect, cyber security has come a long way in the last five years – but it’s still got a long way to go before we can say we’ve beaten the hackers and malicious cybercriminals. Let’s take a look at how security has evolved as cybercrime became a leading threat to UK businesses.

A look back…

Back in 2012, it was spyware that was at the top of the agenda for concerned businesses, along with the use of stolen credentials to access sensitive data. Moving forwards to 2013, it was ‘phishing’ and data-exporting malware that had businesses worried. 2014 remained largely the same, with hackers and malicious cybercriminals using the same methods to target businesses – but by 2015, the scene had changed entirely.

By 2015, the attacks had become more sophisticated, using new tools to infiltrate databases and extract sensitive data. This included everything from payment card records to health information and other confidential documents. 

The present day

The UK government has recently revealed that two thirds of large UK businesses were hit by some kind of cyber breach or attack in the last year – that’s an astonishing number of malicious breaches. The announcement of the National Cyber Security Centre in 2016, as well as the £1.9bn the government pledged to protect the UK’s businesses looked to be a step in the right direction – and businesses are certainly now more aware of the issue with cyber security, with many CIOs prioritising it.

BeMS and security …. oh, thats funny, tell me another one

It is disturbing to see the lack of understanding within the BeMS industry. Many of todays operational systems are utterly open to abuse; requiring nothing more than somebody taking the time to physically connect a device in order to access and control the BeMS. How big a risk is that really? Well, it can easily lead to hundreds of thousands of pounds in increased energy costs, for large estates. For me the bigger risk, is the damage in perception to our industry as a whole; as we increasingly see BeMS becoming more interconnected, if we dont step up and provide quality secure BeMS solutions for clients, we risk not being front-and-centre as digital disruption drives new requirements and behaviour for the buildings of tomorrow.  

What does the future hold?

A report by Robert Half Technology found that UK CIOs believe the top three IT risks that face businesses over the next five years will be data abuse (60%), cybercrime (45%) and spyware / ransomware (39%). But with a skill shortage in the IT sector, will we have the minds to fight back and produce solutions that will protect businesses against this constantly evolving threat? 

Industry predictions show that the IT sector will need 6m cyber security professionals – but current projections show we’ll only have 4.5m. With a shortage in cyber security experts, we’ll fall behind when it comes to developing sophisticated security solutions for our networks and databases. The answer is clear – if we are to get ahead in terms of cyber security, more specialists are needed, and industry sectors like BeMS need to quickly enhance its capabilities. At global, we now include security as a core engineering competency; with supporting training and personal development objectives

Written by Spencer on 13th April 2017

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