Honeywell Building Solutions has released its predictions on emerging trends that will shape cybersecurity for buildings next year, identifying insights and expected changes resulting from more open, connected and smart building systems in order to better safeguard valuable assets against cyber threats as their facilities digitally transform.

The four key predictions for 2020 are:

1. Buildings will likely see an increase in cyber related threats as they become more connected, putting data, reputation and people at potentially greater risk.

According to Gartner, buildings will account for 81 percent of all connected things in 2020. Still, connected buildings often remain a less-guarded entry point and cybersecurity has oftentimes not been a primary focus when managing Operational Technology (OT). Research from Accenture shows that online intruders are increasingly seeking to exploit this weakness, as security breaches have increased by 65 percent in the last five years. Honeywell says it expects this will continue in the years ahead, causing serious disruption.

2. Cybersecurity for OT is expected to become a key safety and security metric for many businesses in 2020 as digitisation and the interconnectivity of systems potentially opens up new routes of access for cyberattacks. As buildings become smarter, they generally produce more and more connected data, and therefore oftentimes attract more potential threats. In fact, a CEB study found that nearly 20 percent of organisations with IoT networks have experienced at least one IoT-related attack already. As businesses experience more attacks and the resulting damage caused, many will likely develop new and more robust strategies to keep pace. Honeywell says it expects to see more preventative measures in the coming year, such as training focused on addressing potential cyber threats in OT and on conducting cybersecurity assessments to identify gaps.

3. Demand is expected to increase for a new type of security professional as OT and IT responsibilities often overlap. By 2021, IoT security service spending will more than double to nearly $2.1 billion, according to Gartner. As cyber threats evolve and the demand for OT cybersecurity grows, the role of the security professional is often changing. OT and IT functions have been increasingly working together to prepare for and respond to cyber-attacks, but in 2020 we will likely see more individual professionals with both OT and IT capabilities. These employees typically start their career in one function, but grow their skillset overtime as they gain more overarching security experience.  

4. A global standard for cybersecurity is expected to become a top priority across industries. Honeywell says 2020 will likely bring a greater focus to standardisation for building cybersecurity, and we expect to see at least one framework emerge as a leading guide for securing a building’s OT system.