What is BMS Infrastructure? The Cyber Security Expert Explains


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I have seen the damaging effects of cyber attacks on businesses. One area that often goes overlooked is building management system (BMS) infrastructure. What is BMS infrastructure? It’s the technology used to control and monitor a building’s systems, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. While it may not seem like the most exciting topic, the importance of securing BMS infrastructure cannot be understated. In this article, I’ll be explaining what BMS infrastructure is, its vulnerabilities, and why it’s necessary to have proper security measures in place. Keep reading to learn more.

What is BMS infrastructure?

BMS infrastructure, or Building Management Systems infrastructure, refers to the electronic control system that enables monitoring and management of electrical, mechanical, and electromechanical systems in a facility. This system has the capability of controlling and regulating a diverse range of services, including but not limited to heating, power and cooling systems, ventilation, physical access control, elevators, and lighting. Today, businesses and organizations of all sizes have embraced BMS infrastructure to help manage their facilities, in an effort to reduce energy consumption, enhance employee comfort, and optimize building performance. Here are some important factors to understand about BMS infrastructure:

  • BMS infrastructure is a centralized system that monitors and controls different aspects of a facility, including HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), lighting, power distribution, and security systems, among others.
  • The system can be programmed to control and automate various functions, including temperature settings, lighting schedules, and security protocols, allowing for effective and efficient building management.
  • The implementation of BMS infrastructure can help reduce energy usage through better management and optimization of systems, which ultimately leads to cost savings for businesses or organizations.
  • BMS infrastructure is generally made up of hardware and software components, which are networked together to create a centralized control system that can be accessed and managed remotely.
  • Building managers can use BMS infrastructure to identify and diagnose potential issues, such as equipment malfunctions or system failures, before they become major problems. This helps to reduce maintenance costs and ensure that the facility is operating at optimal levels.
  • Overall, BMS infrastructure has become an essential tool for businesses and organizations looking to optimize their facility management. By centralizing control over critical building systems and automating processes, BMS infrastructure can help reduce energy usage, enhance employee comfort and productivity, and ultimately lead to cost savings for businesses.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Understand the basics: Before diving into BMS infrastructure, familiarize yourself with the basic concepts and terminology. This will help you make informed decisions and navigate the system more efficiently.

    2. Conduct a thorough assessment: A complete and accurate assessment of your building’s needs is critical in developing an effective BMS infrastructure. Determine what systems to prioritize and what objectives you want to achieve.

    3. Choose the right solution: There are many BMS infrastructure solutions to choose from, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Consider your budget, scalability, and integration options to choose the best one for your business.

    4. Select high-quality hardware: The hardware components of your BMS infrastructure can significantly impact system performance, reliability, and security. Select high-quality, industrial-grade hardware to ensure your system is robust and reliable.

    5. Train and educate your staff: Effective BMS infrastructure requires knowledgeable and skilled personnel to operate, maintain, and manage it. Ensure your staff receives proper training and understands their roles and responsibilities to maximize efficiency and safety.

    What is a Building Management System (BMS)?

    A Building Management System, also known as a Building Automation System (BAS) or Energy Management System (EMS), is an electronic control system that is used to monitor and manage the electrical, mechanical and electromechanical systems in a facility. This system integrates a wide range of services within a building, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), power and cooling, physical access control, elevators and lighting.

    BMS is a network of hardware and software, working together to collect and analyze data and provide automated and manual control of building systems. It is intended to optimize building performance, enhance operational efficiency, and reduce energy consumption.

    How does a BMS work?

    A Building Management System uses sensors, actuators, and other data collection devices to monitor the performance of various systems and report back to a central platform. This information can be accessed by building managers and operators through a graphical user interface, allowing them to control and manage the systems within the facility.

    The BMS system continually measures the performance of each system and identifies inefficiencies or other issues. Once problems are identified, the system can automatically initiate the necessary adjustments, alert facility managers for appropriate actions, or both.

    Benefits of BMS Infrastructure

    There are many benefits of having a Building Management System infrastructure in place for a facility. These benefits include:

    • Improved Energy Efficiency: BMS can reduce energy costs by optimizing energy consumption across various systems.
    • Enhanced Comfort: With real-time monitoring and control, the BMS can maintain a comfortable environment for occupants, while adjusting temperature and lighting based on occupancy and usage patterns.
    • Increased Productivity: With the ability to remotely operate and monitor various systems, facility managers can focus on tasks that are more strategic, while the BMS takes care of day-to-day operations, thereby increasing productivity.
    • Better Asset Management: The BMS infrastructure can help managers keep track of maintenance schedules, repair records, and equipment lifecycle to optimize useful asset life.
    • Improved Safety: BMS can monitor safety hazards such as gas leakage, fire and smoke, and automatically initiate necessary actions based on pre-set parameters, leading to increased safety for occupants.

    Key Components of BMS

    The key components of a Building Management System include:

    • Sensors: These devices measure environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, occupancy, presence, light, and other variables to assess the performance of various systems in the building.
    • Actuators: They are used to control the performance of various equipment such as ventilation systems, heating, and cooling systems based on inputs from sensors or other sources of information.
    • Controllers: These devices process the inputs from sensors and determine the appropriate commands to restore optimal conditions for various systems.
    • Communication Network: A communication network carries the signals from sensors and actuators to the controllers and to the central platform.
    • Central Platform: This is the brain of the Building Management System. It gathers data from sensors and other devices to provide a real-time overview of how the building is functioning. It also allows facility managers to access the system and make manual adjustments to various systems, if necessary.

    Types of BMS

    There are two types of Building Management Systems that can be utilized in a facility:

    • Stand-alone BMS: Typically employed in small to medium-sized facilities, a stand-alone BMS solution is self-contained and operates independently of other building systems. It gathers data from sensors and other devices to manage various systems within the facility.
    • Integrated BMS: A more sophisticated BMS solution that can integrate several building systems into one centralized platform providing complete control over all systems in the building. It can help facility managers access and manage the systems in the building with greater ease and efficiency. Integrated BMS is the preferred option for large, complex facilities such as hospitals, hotels, or industrial buildings.

    BMS vs. EMS (Energy Management System)

    While often used interchangeably, BMS and EMS are two different systems, with different purposes.

    EMS focuses specifically on the efficient management of energy usage. It reads data from various building systems to identify any energy inefficiencies and suggest solutions to help improve energy management. It can also track energy usage, monitor and analyze data to identify trends and suggest ways to reduce energy costs.

    On the other hand, BMS provides a broader focus beyond energy management. Besides energy management, BMS can also help manage a range of building systems beyond HVAC and energy usage including access control, lighting, and elevator usage.

    Importance of BMS Maintenance and Upgrades

    A Building Management System must be maintained and upgraded regularly for optimal performance. Proper maintenance and upgrades can help protect against operational glitches and breakdowns that can disrupt building performance and occupants’ safety.

    It is essential to engage experts to maintain and upgrade the BMS infrastructure regularly. The experts can assess the system status, identify areas of improvements or repairs, and make necessary modifications, updates or upgrades, ensuring that Building Management System hardware and software continue to work seamlessly.

    In conclusion, a Building Management System infrastructure is a critical consideration for facilities that want to improve the management of a range of building systems in an energy-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly manner. When adequately maintained with regular upgrades, the Building Management System infrastructure can help provide a secure and comfortable environment for building occupants and streamline maintenance tasks for facility managers.