Cloud-based Innovations in FM and CM that raise Cyber Security concerns

With better technological solutions comes greater risk. This article emphasis on the need to understand the risks involved.
Aaleen Parulekar | UAE | PropTech

Community Management and Facility Management Companies in the UAE have two major areas of concern when it comes to their services: ‘How can we make the customer experience better and unique ?’ and ‘How can we make the service rendered more efficient in all senses?’

Digitization is an apt solution to both these challenges.

Cloud computing is one of these technologies that drive digitalization. Essentially allowing a user to use a service from a network cloud provided by a service provider, the technology has increasingly become a mainstay in various operating systems across industries. The Community Management and Facility Management industry has introduced cloud-based innovations ranging from lighting and HVAC controls to access control and cloud data systems. The introduction of these systems is both effective in reducing the overhead costs as well as maintaining sustainable levels of energy usage.

Cloud-Based Community Management

From holistic Community Management apps that tackle every aspect of the service to standalone applications designed for only a single task, digitization has brought a wave of mobile and desktop applications for both Community Management professionals and residents.

Community Management companies have streamlined their services by introducing website portals and mobile applications as platforms for the residents.

Portals like ADDA and HappyTenant allow CM companies to manage resident experience from a single platform. These platforms are the one-point destination for resident accounting, billing, queries, complaints, documentation, forms, information guides and so much more. This allows for a smoother customer experience when all the services they need are at the touch of their fingertips. By keeping all this in one central app connected to a cloud server, the user has ensured a more tailored experience.

On the other hand, independent applications like Hayi, allow residents to connect with neighbors in their community through bulletins, information dashboards, and messaging platforms. These apps are developed specifically to better the service experience for the residents of a facility. Similar Apps to connect residents to  Community Management professionals are currently being developed.

Cloud-Based Facility Management

Cloud-based systems play a role not only in the day-to-day functioning of a facility but also in the maintenance of records and management of all input and output of data within a smoothly operating system. From centralized lighting solutions to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for standalone buildings as well as entire facilities, cloud computing allows Facility Management professionals to control everything from a single interface. This allows for the ability to monitor the functioning of a facility as well as control certain aspects of the operation remotely. The possibility of employing individuals overseas stranded due to the pandemic has increased greatly due to this particular aspect of innovation.

Cloud-based access control enables residents and Facility Management professionals to remotely control and manage doors and gates via an internet-connected device. The system allows administrators to determine who can (and can't) open doors into and throughout a building. Property admins manage access through an online portal. Administrators can further allow residents or users to grant access to visitors through a third-party application. This entire process streamlines the inflow and increases the security of the premises simultaneously.  Apart from mobile app access control, biometrics and real-time location monitoring through the presence control feature are picking up favor among users.

Centralized lighting and HVAC systems that can be controlled remotely from a single dashboard also contribute towards energy conservation. Facility Management professionals can systematically control the use of energy in the facility depending on the need, either through a manual or automated system.

In addition to this, most FM companies like Farnek and Imdaad have developed in-house mobile applications that allow users to monitor their property remotely. These applications also allow the users to grant access control, keep track of the administration, cleaning, and maintenance tasks being performed in the facility.

Impact of Digitization on Business

Data, specifically analytical data has proven to be a game-changer within the Community Management and Facility Management industry. Innovations like artificial intelligence-driven services and the collection of data on cloud servers allow organizations to analyze it effectively and therefore develop a business strategy that’s hyper customer-specific.

The remote monitoring and control of assets also allow users to view real-time analytics and compare the performance of services to other facilities. This has created an extremely competitive environment where no organization wants to misstep and lose users. Bringing a wave of extremely optimized service options that potential users can choose from, thus increasing the demand for smart technologies and digitized solutions.

Cyber Security Risks

However, with better technological solutions comes greater risk. In the case of cloud-based systems, it is a possible cyber security risk. Misconfiguration of security settings in cloud computing can cause a breach of data. This combined with the possibility of unauthorized access and hacking puts up a giant red flag for user privacy. Without a robust security system, the chances of malicious activity and cyberattacks go up. Cyber security risks go up considerably when an increased level of automation is introduced to services.

Thankfully most CRM organizations in the UAE offering these services provide cyber security certifications along with single screen integrated access and a constant report and testing standard operating procedure to address these security concerns.

A few of these regulations include multi-layered cloud-security blankets, automated systems that thwart hacking attempts, and tier-based access to information. The privacy of residents is a key concern in such scenarios. Most information in a Facility Management system is provided on a need-to-know basis. For example, while accounting and finances staff might require robust data on all the possible costs incurred, facility managers might only require access to floor plans and operational systems. A tiered permissions system allows cloud-based facilities management software to maintain information in structured, protected ways that further enforce resident privacy.

Cloud-based Facilities Management programs at the root of business operations ensure that organizations adapt in an agile, unpredictable environment and increase productivity through the constant evolution of operation models.

live Now