Cybersecurity and Commercial Real Estate – A Growing Industry Concern
Cybersecurity breaches are making headlines almost on a daily basis. The last 18 months have brought attention to major brands such as Target, Sony, Home Depot, and Anthem Blue Cross, but these are only the tip of the iceberg—the problem is getting more pervasive every day.
This is a widespread issue with many aspects to consider and, ultimately, defenses to be built. In our industry, where buildings are the center of our business, we have even greater challenges, including both cyber and physical security issues to contend with. These challenges include:
1) Traditional cybersecurity involving networks and other general information systems such as e-mail, social media, mobile platforms, cloud infrastructure, file storage and general business applications.
2) Cybersecurity as it relates to real estate-specific information systems such as property management, lease administration, finance, treasury and other tenant related activities. These information systems contain personal information on tenants and could prove to be a target. These systems also manage cash applications that could prove to be vulnerable. For example, is there a protocol in place that deletes direct deposit bank accounts for terminated employees?
3) Smart, ‘connected’ buildings are an additional potential threat for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. From mischievous behavior such as ‘turning out the lights’ to serious physical damage and potential threat to human life, building systems need to be locked down.
4) Physical security involving next generation facial recognition, wireless activity umbrellas, advanced sensor threat detection and other emerging technologies that provide security but require a fair amount of knowledge and sophistication to implement and maintain.
As you begin to compile the list of considerations, ranging from policies for ‘thumb drives found in the parking lot’ to cybersecurity governance procedures of vendors utilizing a cloud architecture, the list is long.
That leads to the question: “Is my organization capable of delivering the level of cybersecurity that executive leaders and boards are demanding?” With many firms unable to afford a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), organizations are looking for options such as consultants and outsourcing firms. The difficulty in that collaborative situation is that the cybersecurity requirements for a real estate organization are so broad that it might require multiple organizations, creating coordination and overlap issues. Outsourcing costs also begin to mount, thus putting pressure on budgets that were prepared prior to these demands.
Planning a defensive strategy requires staying one step ahead of the villain. Who are the potential perpetrators? What are the different types of cybersecurity threats they might pose? A former employee who has been held in high trust for a number of years needs to be considered in the same way a terrorist from half way around the world would be. Understanding the motivation, potential threat exposure and response is critical. This matrix becomes more complex if you begin to question the trustworthiness of all human relationships, including employees, business partners and tenants.
Given that we are just beginning to explore the potential of the cyber and physical security threats to our industry and that technology is getting more powerful and sophisticated, it is safe to say that this topic requires assessment and a vigilant plan. At a time when we don’t know what we don’t know, discussion, debate, research and collaboration are our best tools of defense. Securing the entire technical infrastructure of a commercial real estate organization is a daunting task; leveraging knowledge and experience of those with legitimate domain experience is critical.
Given the high demand for information on this topic, Realcomm | IBcon will be hosting a Cybersecurity Forum for Commercial and Corporate Real Estate during our annual convention on June 8th in San Antonio, Texas. This preconference event will include executives from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, leading technology providers, industry thought leaders and more.
This Week’s Sponsor
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SAVE THE DATE!
June 8 - Pre-conference events | Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
June 9-10 - Realcomm & IBcon conference | Marriott Rivercenter | San Antonio, TX
Realcomm & IBcon Conference Highlights
* Decision-Makers Representing 35+ Billion SF of Commercial & Corporate Space
* Three Days of World Class Education and Networking
* 1,400+ Professionals in One Location
* Leading-Edge Educational Program Featuring Over 75 Sessions and 150 Speakers
* Demonstrations of Emerging Technologies
* Smart Building Best Practices Showcase Featuring Over 50 of the World's Smartest Next Generation Buildings
* CIO Roundtable
* COO, CFO & CAO Innovation Summit
* Investment Managers Technology Track
* Sustainability Executives Smart Building Symposium
* Intelligent Buildings Boot Camp
* Smart Building Integrator Summit
* Information Systems & Smart Buildings CYBERSECURITY Forum
* Vendor Expo Featuring 90+ Top Industry Solution Providers
* Conference LIVE News Desk Featuring Live Streamed Interviews with Industry Leaders
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Controlling a Building from Your Phone – OCCUPANT EXPERIENCE Platforms Arrive - 2/28/2019
The initial focus in mobile technologies was on meeting room reservations; then came lighting, heating and cooling, then access control. Over the last 24 months it has become apparent that there are many more occupant experiences that can be delivered via mobile phone. Managing parking, reporting maintenance issues, ordering coffee, scheduling an exercise class, viewing security cameras, and other applications were quickly added to the list. With so many options and approaches available, what are the best strategies for occupant experience? Build versus buy, functionality selection, solution integration and ongoing support are just some of the topics to be addressed by the industries’ most respected professionals.
Chuck Niswonger has over 30 years of successful leadership experience in technology-related roles that range from operating his own consulting company (www.nicenets.com) to directing the IT strategy of a real estate investment management firm to manufacturing and technology-enabled education. Chuck has also been the chair of the Realcomm Investment Management (IM) Advisory Council for the last ten years, managing content selection for the conference educational sessions, IM forums, workshops and webinars.
Matthew Lennan has been integrating IT and building system technologies for more than 30 years. He has developed and implemented computing infrastructures for global financial firms, major healthcare facilities, manufacturing, entertainment complexes and traditional smart buildings. Most recently, Matthew has been working in software development to refine the customer experience for smart buildings in Office, Retail and Residential environments. He is currently responsible for driving Innovation across Oxford Properties’ portfolio.
Jared Summers is a motivated execution-oriented high performance individual who has extensive experience managing large-scale global programs. He brings a unique ability to understand and articulate complex technologies in a relatable way while rapidly fielding innovative capabilities. Currently Jared is the Data, Analytics & Technology Manager at ExxonMobil, delivering on the promise of transformational change enabled by digital technologies across the entire global real estate portfolio.
Joshua has over 15 years of successful leadership experience with early-stage disruptive companies. He has an extensive background in property technology, focusing on amenities that drive tenant experience across commercial real estate, multifamily residential and student housing. Josh has lead national sales and support teams with an emphasis on customer success, brand recognition, and occupant experience.
Elizabeth Dukes is the Co-Founder and CMO of iOFFICE, the leading workforce-centric IWMS software and the first 100% SaaS platform designed for the Digital Workplace. Dukes drives strategy for iOFFICE and advocates for the confluence of people and technology that unleashes the full potential of the workforce and the workplace.
As Head of Sales, Nick is responsible for leading the sales organization including domestic sales, product implementation and customer success. Nick’s 20+ years’ involvement with technology dates to the 90s when Peapod did its best to teach him UNIX. Nick’s IT responsibilities over his various positions have included End User Support, System/Platform Administration, Business Continuity Management and Project, Facilities, Procurement, Contracts & Maintenance. Most recently Nick served as Vice President at Environmental Systems Design (ESD).
Matt leads the product development and roadmap strategy for Modo Labs. With broad experience across mobile and audience engagement, along with a customer-centric mindset, he is the company’s product leader for both Workplace and Campus solutions. Matt and his development team continue to enhance the Modo no-code platform, empowering higher education and enterprise organizations to quickly create personalized applications and ensure students and employees have access to the information they need most.