Kilroy Realty wanted to connect the more than 100 buildings it manages in California and Washington, but before it started with the complexities of smart lighting or using sensors to predictively maintain HVAC systems, it wanted to make sure its physical infrastructure was secure. The property management company had long dealt with security for its IT operations, but before bringing building management systems online it needed to figure out how to secure them.
Bayron Lopez Pineda, operational technology manager at Kilroy, says the company has connected some of its building infrastructure, but it was done on a per-building basis, making it tough to monitor and track. He wanted to run all of the different systems through a single security software so he could keep an eye on the increasing number of elements that were connecting to the internet.
He says that stories such as Target getting hacked through its HVAC system sparked the executive interest in making sure connectivity didn’t increase the risks associated with the access systems, HVAC, and other building elements. When asked about using newly connected elements in buildings to provide better insight into when things might break or to help reduce energy usages, Pineda said that those things couldn’t happen until his team felt that the buildings were secure, both physically and in the online world. Kilroy ultimately went with Iotium for security.
Kilroy’s experience offers a fairly rare perspective. I often see companies buy into connectivity and AI for their infrastructure and then turn around and start thinking about how to secure it. It leads to a lot of discussions with IT and operations executives around how they handle data integration across various types of equipment, as well as the challenges employees face when figuring out new business processes built around newly derived insights.
Kilroy hasn’t even started that process yet. So far it’s gained a few insights, such as a list of devices that are connected to the internet. It’s also recognizing a new type of job, as the operational sides of its business meet the IT world. Pineda’s role has changed a bit because the operational teams increasingly need someone with IT experience to come along on visits to vendors that want to sell the latest connected device.
“If I didn’t go, they might buy something that runs Windows 7, when we really need to be looking for something with longer support,” he says. So for other companies eyeing more connected infrastructure, consider Kilroy’s experience. Think about security first, and think about making IT a part of your procurement process.