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Three Ways to Boost Cybersecurity in 2023

As more organizations use technology to create better experiences in the workplace, strong cybersecurity is necessary to protect employees and keep data secure.

Alice Fournier
Chief Information Officer, ISS Americas

With more organizations relying on technology to help provide safe and functional spaces, office buildings and their operating systems remain a major target for increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Last year, IBM reported a staggering 2,204% increase in reconnaissance against operational technologies like building management or fire control systems, along with a 33% uptick in incidents where bad actors exploited cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

As 2023 approaches, leaders should assess the state and readiness of their cybersecurity to mitigate ongoing threats to their organization. Below are three tips to help enhance security efforts in the coming year and beyond.

1. Raise Awareness in Your Office

Hackers deploy a variety of tactics to access information and create chaos once they have it, gaining entry to building systems through social engineering, deceiving employees, or manipulating them into providing confidential information. In offices and commercial spaces, especially those using workplace management systems and other building technologies, raising awareness of possible risks goes a long way to slow the success of would-be attackers. Other common tactics include email phishing with fake links or more subtle efforts to target senior executives or their direct reports by spoofing colleagues’ email profiles.

To minimize the impact of these attacks, organizations must cultivate a culture of awareness around potential threats in office environments. Regular, robust employee training on common cybersecurity issues, email and device knowledge, and real examples of how breaches occur can be one of the best ways to slow or prevent attacks on organizational data and technology. If people are well-trained to spot common scams or suspicious emails, organizations are less likely to experience a serious data breach. 

2. Increase Team Collaboration

As part of this culture of awareness, strong security relies on productive communication and collaboration between teams across an organization. For example, if facility managers develop strong working relationships with IT professionals and collaborate on implementations and technology rollouts, the combined efforts help deliver a safe, secure, and advanced workplace environment. Working in silos limits an organization’s ability to align on crucial planning and prevent cybersecurity problems in buildings before they arise. Additionally, any suppliers or business partners providing technology solutions should be vetted for their security protocols and data-protection efforts.

Should a cyberattack occur, the open lines of communication between facility and IT teams become crucial in stopping the breach and regaining control of systems. Without existing collaborative relationships, resolving the attack and returning to a state of normalcy can be needlessly difficult, as employees may not know their colleagues or understand how they can best partner to strengthen cybersecurity. If colleagues maintain transparency, work to promote workplace security, and understand how everyone contributes, organizations can mitigate ongoing threats to their data and information.

3. Understand the Risks of Inaction

Given the growing importance of cybersecurity, leaders should seize opportunities to shore up weaknesses and make investments in key property technologies to protect their offices, people, and information. While some are reassessing their technology spending and scaling back budgets in 2023, failing to invest in reliable digital infrastructure and cybersecurity is short-sighted. With the right partnerships and technologies, organizations can provide a secure setting for their people to thrive and maximize productivity. If security vulnerabilities remain unresolved and leaders underinvest in secure, reliable workplace technology, they can expect an increase in data breaches coupled with a hit to their reputation and/or brand.

Advancements in property technology allow built environments to better support worker well-being — but lacking the right strategies leaves them more susceptible to cyberattacks. Without meaningful efforts to mitigate cybersecurity threats, workplaces and office buildings remain at risk.

Stay Vigilant

Just as an organizational culture must be cultivated and developed over time, enhancing cybersecurity is an ongoing, long-term project. However, by taking security seriously and developing employee awareness and collaboration, leaders can keep their people engaged and their data secure.

With centralized IT resources and an effective suite of digital applications, ISS builds on scalable, secure platforms to strengthen our cybersecurity capabilities as we help clients improve their workplaces and employee experiences. Our teams operate in facilities like data centers, hospitals, and other environments where highly sensitive information is stored and managed. As a result, our on-site expertise allows ISS to identify and implement best practices to keep client data secure and safe.

The issue of cybersecurity will only continue to grow, and organizations must stay resilient and be prepared to respond on behalf of their employees, clients, and investors. ISS has more than a century of experience delivering high-quality services and developing environments where people can thrive.

Explore our services to learn more about how we make life easier, more productive, and enjoyable for our clients.

About the Author

Alice Fournier

Chief Information Officer, ISS Americas