Jaros, Baum & Bolles is an MEP engineering firm that has been around for over a century. It has numerous core services, one of which is low-voltage. When I was initially hired at JB&B back in 2017, I came in to lead the cybersecurity initiative. We worked with electrical, plumbing, mechanical, building automation systems as well as information technology, audiovisual and physical systems — a number of others as well. In that time we’ve collaborated and spoken with hundreds of manufacturers and integrators from various industries.
With information garnered from that experience, we developed specifications for new buildings as well as the base workstream for building surveys for these systems. All designs we review will now have a cybersecurity component built into it. That initial cyber practice has now taken off, and evolved into a new offering, a JB&B business called MEProtect, including new personnel with enhanced cybersecurity expertise.
What vertical markets does the company specialize in? Any interesting projects that you can mention?
We work across all vertical markets, including commercial, healthcare, life sciences, hospitality, higher education, residential, etc. The most interesting project so far has been the actual development of the program. Cybersecurity for building operational systems is truly in its infancy, without specific laws, guidelines or even practices developed for the vertical market. So there was a lot to learn and develop as we are, in essence, creating this practice, through MEProtect, for the industry.
How did you get started in security and designing and specifying?
I’ve been in networking, network security, physical security, and risk for over 25+ years, 20+ of those on the client side. When the opportunity to develop the program came along, I jumped on it. I really wanted to be a part of something new and challenging. Now, with my role shifting more to business development, the MEProtect offering has ramped up with a new level of leadership and expertise to operate the business.
Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?
Since I’m heavily engaged in business development for cybersecurity, many of the emerging technologies I’ve seen are a blend of cybersecurity and physical security. With the threats of “invisible attacks” or “visible warfare,” many companies are coming out with new ideas that are a convergence of physical and cybersecurity.
What is your view on the industry moving forward?
The industry still needs to increase its awareness on this issue, particularly as it pertains to building operational systems. We’re still at a very initial phase, where companies have begun to share information about what they’re doing, but with no real industry guidance in place yet, there’s no concerted focus and the solutions they’re coming up with are uncoordinated, disparate. We believe it’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” this awareness sharpens into a genuine focus, and when it does, we want to be there, leading the charge in establishing best practices and viable industry standards.
Specifically Speaking, a Security Systems News monthly column, features Q-and-A with a security consultant provided to SSN by SecuritySpecifiers.