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The Grinch

November 30, 2017 ❘ Blog

In his November blog, CEO Jesse Klebba encourages facilities managers to step up their cyber-security provision.

November can’t pass by without a mention of Thanksgiving – not for the Urgent Technology US team anyway. There are many things I’m thankful for but in my work life I’m incredibly grateful to my team. It’s great seeing people bringing in their expertise, stepping up to the challenges and driving our agenda forward, enabling us to deliver world class software products.

While not a public holiday in the UK, the Stateside celebration marked the start of another well-established calendar event, namely – Black Friday. As we’ve seen, the malls have been packed and the lines will only get longer in the run up to Christmas. And my UK colleagues tell me that British shoppers are even more savvy when it comes to taking advantage of this annual shopping bonanza. According to the BBC, a whopping £1.4bn was spent on online sales in the UK on Black Friday alone. And here at home, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics reports that some 174 million Americans (that’s over 70% of the US population!) went shopping during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, and Reuters reports that online sales have surged to record highs since Thanksgiving. It’s only been a week and there’s still almost a month to go until Christmas!

The term ‘Cyber Monday’ was created by marketing companies looking to persuade people to shop online. It seems to have worked as the statistics reveal that more people are spending their hard-earned cash this way. This, as we know, comes with an element of risk – hackers can strike regardless of a retailer’s corporate standing and popularity.

Cyber Threat and the FM Solution

We’ve recently published a white paper called ‘Cyber Threat and the FM Solution’ which explores the threats posed by cyber-security breaches, and explains how today’s facility manager can become the guardian of an organization’s security and data. Of particular concern to FMs is the source of the cyber-attack on US company Target, which exposed credit card and personal data of more than 110 million consumers. This was carried out via a malware (short for malicious software) email phishing attack sent to employees at a third-party HVAC firm that did business with the nationwide retailer. Despite the fact that Target was the victim of a third-party breach, the retailer has paid a very high price. $18.5 million, to be exact – they were fined that amount earlier this year.

Reputation is everything these days. As Warren Buffet once said; “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Consumers can lose confidence as quickly as they can spend money. That’s why it’s so important to protect your organization against the ever-prominent cyber-threat. The growing use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the FM space brings many operational benefits, but also opens up the real risk of organizations being hacked through their Building Management Systems (BMS). It’s the FM’s role to explore the ways to make sure those systems are up to date, safe, robust and compliant.

In the run up to Christmas, we’re encouraging the FM industry to enhance their cyber-security provision by increasing awareness and improving processes. Training people on how to handle their passwords is probably one of the most obvious steps, as is reporting incidents as and when they happen in order to tackle them head on… but the technology you implement plays a big part in the counter-threat too. More and more data is stored in the Cloud; this poses a significant risk if it’s not sufficiently protected. By ensuring there are the appropriate certifications in place, and by continually reviewing tech-supported systems, FMs can work alongside the C-Suite and IT teams to safeguard the organizations they serve.

For more information, check out our white paper here.

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