Sponsored by Axis Communications

Smart Buildings and Smart Cities Security

The promise of future cities and buildings built around a smart vision to reduce waste, drive efficiencies and optimise resources is a prodigious one.  With a growing demand for businesses and governments around the world to deliver significant improvements in the way our cities and the buildings within them are managed, there are many challenges to be considered, and not least, data privacy and cybersecurity.

If the smart vision is to be delivered at a far greater scale, we must move away from integration and into device interoperability. The means of different technologies to interact without compromising security is pre-requisite.  Yet, the proliferation of IoT devices has witnessed in parallel an exponential increase in the number of threat exposures and attack vectors that put in jeopardy the systems that our smart cities and buildings will relay on.

This whitepaper is the third in a series of research projects that Axis Communications has worked on with Virtually Informed and Unified Security.  All of the research has in some way contributed to the discussion on the urgent requirement for the worlds of physical and IT security to converge if the smart promise is to become a reality.


  • Smart cities and why we need them - Smart cities are increasingly playing a significant role in meeting today's resource and population challenges.
  • Smart and intelligent technology - Smart devices, systems, buildings and cities defined - questions and issues around existing definitions are addressed
  • Roles and responsibilities - Review stakeholder roles and security risk management to better understand the security issues associated with smart building systems
  • Security challenges - Threat vectors are vast and varied with increasing levels of sophistication; understand the vulnerabilities, technologies and standards to be applied.
  • Recommendations - Getting started; security standards and frameworks; product strategy system and solution security; supply and purchasing; and converged operations.

"If the future is to be as bright as the many stakeholders of Smart Environments want it to be and they are to take advantage of today's technologies to provide that bright future, it has to be led collectively by those who seek to benefit."

At Axis we are passionate about using technology to help create a smarter and safer world.  We also believe that technology should be used in an ethical and responsible way.  We greatly admire the work that Virtually Informed and Unified Security are doing to help ensure that the worlds of physical and cyber security are aligned and working together to achieve a common goal of increased safety and security for all.

Download the whitepaper

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Author Bios

James Willison

James is Founder of Unified Security Ltd.  He is a recognised International leader in Security Convergence and Enterprise Security Risk Management.  In 2018 IFSEC Global listed James #17 in the top 20 Security Thought Leaders across the world.  He was also shortlisted in the Security Serious Unsung Security Heroes Awards as a Security Leader/mentor in October 2018.  James is currently Co-Vice Chair, Smart Building Working Group, Internet of Things Security Foundation and Associate lecturer in Security Management at Loughborough University.

James was awarded the Imbert Prize for 'outstanding contribution to the Security industry in 2011' for his work on convergence with ASIS Europe and the information Security Awareness Forum.  He has more than 20 years of management experience in the physical and information security industry, including posts as Advisor on Convergence to Axis Communications, the Mitie TSM Board, Senior lecturer in Security Management at Loughborough University and Digital Security Expert with the European Union.

James worked closely with Professor Martin Gill on a Cyber Crime report in 2016 which evidenced that security convergence is the preferred strategy of security professionals.  He worked with Sarb Sembhi, Vidsys Inc and Informa on the first cyber physical security operations centre to be featured at IFSEC, in June 2018.  This demonstrated a near real time response to security attacks on cyber physical/IoT systems.  It was so successful that it is a headline focus of IFSEC 2019.  He has co-authored two white papers with Sarb Sembhi on Security Convergence, ESRM and Smart GDPR Assurance

Sarb Sembhi CISM

Sarb is the CTO & CISO at Virtually Informed, and has previously been a CTO & CISO for the Noord Group. He has previously worked as a consultant covering most issues in risk and security. Sarb’s contributions to the industry include the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Defence and Security Committee and its Cybersecurity working group. Other contributions include: Past President of the ISACA London Chapter, Chair of ISACA International GRA Region 3 Sub-Committee, Chair of ISACA International GRA Committee, ISSA UK Advisory Group member, InfoSecurity Magazine Editorial Group member, and is currently a member of SC Magazine Editorial Board.  Sarb has also served on several Security Standards Groups, and continues to write and speak at risk and security events around the world.

Recently Sarb has set up a blog on Smart Environments.  Including Smart Homes, Buildings, Cities and Manufacturing.  During IFSEC International 2018 and 201, together with James Willson, he worked with Informa to deliver the 'Converged Security Centre' Theatre to demonstrate 'near real time risk management.. Sarb was shortlisted in the IFSEC Global Most Influential people in Security & Fire 2017: Top 50 influencers in security & fire 2017: Cybersecurity - IFSEC Global | Security and Fire News and Resources