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What is Building Management System?

Also known as a building automation system, building control, or building management and control system, a building management system is a digital interface that monitors and manages building operations to ensure safety and smooth operations.

A BMS can manage electrical and mechanical services, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), field devices, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), access control, energy consumption, and critical sensors.

When selecting a BMS cybersecurity solution, teams should consider web compatibility, monitoring and reporting capabilities, ease of incorporating new systems or sensors, legacy technology compatibility, and reliability to ensure building management system cybersecurity.

Benefits of Building Management Systems

Unlike separate control systems with different operating technologies, a BMS offers flexibility, feedback, and centralized control.

Here are the top benefits of BMS:

  • Tuning maintenance. Unlike buildings using stand-alone controls that may deviate from their optimized settings, BMS can flag excessive energy use and maintain HVAC tuning, for example.
  • Time savings. With automation, facility managers can save time adjusting settings and monitoring data.
  • Maintenance cost reduction. A BMS can identify equipment failure early on and alert operators to initiate preventive maintenance, saving costs.
  • Predictive capabilities. A BMS can anticipate high loads and avoid maximum thresholds for electrical and mechanical services with appropriate adjustments.
  • Building information modeling (BIM) integration. Refining and simulating a proposed design can be done efficiently with a BMS integration. Integrating a BMS with a BIM tool allows a proposed design to be simulated and refined prior to construction.

Key Drivers of Building Management System Vulnerabilities

Like any digital asset, BMS devices may have cyber and physical vulnerabilities due to management, automation, field device operation, and communication shortfalls.

Here’s what contributes to BMS vulnerabilities:

  • Aging technology. Many building systems comprise legacy technology with default credentials that are easy to guess and susceptible to simple attacks. Open ports that can’t be blocked without retrofit or major upgrades and technology that can’t be changed or patched are some common features of aging technology. Close monitoring, fine-tuning, and updating legacy BMS devices are all critical to mitigating cyber risks.
  • Physical security gaps. Unlocked PLCs and open control cabinets are examples of security deficiencies that lead to BMS vulnerabilities. Facility managers must ensure that controllers, workstations, and BMS field devices comply with operational technology (OT) security best practices.

Building management system vulnerabilities enable attackers to inject malware or sabotage devices, which can be used to access other critical parts of your network and cause operational disruption and unplanned downtime. Armis empowers teams with full visibility into BMS and contextual insights into other assets in your environment to minimize those cybersecurity risks.

Download our solution brief to learn how to ensure the integrity of your building management system with Armis.