The Beauty of Information: Site Comparison Visualizations

Billions of data points – dynamically, and exponentially growing each day.  Which data points matter?  Which are trending in alignment with your energy goals?   Which are indicators of the path to the facilities maintenance graveyard?

GridPoint Energy Manager’s extensive reports and visualizations organize your data and paint a picture of energy usage within and across sites.  These tools, built and curated by the GridPoint Energy Advisory Services team, are designed to help answer these, and many other questions that arise when leveraging big data.

 

Site Comparison Visualizations

Site comparison visualizations take equipment-level data from single sites and compare it to a performance baseline. This easily identifies any performance outliers and enables managers to make better decisions based on data; decisions on how to lower energy bills, manage buildings better, and improve processes to organize day-to-day chaos.

They aid in deriving:

  • How a single location is performing against itself.
  • How a single location is performing against its peers.
  • What assets are driving negative or positive performance?
  • How the enterprise as a whole is performing against a selected period.
  • What types of energy consumption have changed, and how?

 

Visualization 1: Submetered Load Summary
This report leverages big data to display energy consumption, by data source, across the entire enterprise.  At the top level, users can filter comparisons over time, region, equipment (HVAC, Refrigeration, etc), or by site size.  This is often used to identify and compare energy consumption trends, as well as calculate variance from the previous period.


The graph is showing that, on average, HVAC units across sites in the Southeastern United States sites are performing better in 2014 than they were in 2013

Visualization 2: Unoccupied Main Load Comparison
This report compares a location’s unoccupied main load kWh, across a defined period of time, to identify if the load has increased unexpectedly.  Users select a ranked list of problem locations in the top left table. Corresponding points are then plotted in the chart to the top right which compares the current data over a previous period.  Changes in lighting programming, building controls, or site specific behavior become evident when the patterns are not aligned.  This is often used to identify wasted energy during unoccupied hours which negatively impacts a site’s bottom line.  Action can then be taken to fix the problem at the site level.

The graph shows that one site has the highest opportunity for unoccupied setback, the unoccupied trend changed on September 30th, and unoccupied setback has been most affected between 12AM and 5AM

 

Visualization 3: Site vs Peer Comparison
In this report users can select up to 5 locations from their enterprise directory and compare their energy and facility data.  The directory includes data ranging from geographic roles to building/facility type to date of last renovation.  Once comparison sites are selected, corresponding data trends are plotted in a monthly heat map format, daily linear graph, and total pie chart – each split by data source (main load, HVAC, etc.).  This is often used to detect positive or negative consumption changes among similar sites.  For instance, a user could compare a site that recently received a lighting retrofit with a site that did not to see its effect on lighting kWh.

The graph shows that three similar sites in Virginia have comparable HVAC, refrigeration and main load kWh consumption in 2016, however one location began consuming 30% less lighting kWh in August (due to a retrofit)

 

Advanced reports are designed to organize and present the data that is most relevant and important to your specific business.  These visualizations, and more, are available with GridPoint’s Advanced Reporting capabilities.  Some customers have internal teams to access and analyze their data, many rely on GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services to do this for them and recommend custom solutions and strategies.  For more information on GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services or reporting capabilities, fill out the form below and an Energy Expert will be in touch with you shortly.

matt-browning

 

  Matt Browning
  Manager, Data Analytics and Energy Advisory Services

 

 


Setting Energy Management Goals

Setting energy management goals becomes much easier when you are equipped with the right tools to help guide you. ENERGY STAR’s Guidelines for Energy Management recommend following a seven-step process to implement and achieve a successful energy program:

  • Make a Commitment
  • Assess Performance
  • Set Goals
  • Create Action Plan
  • Implement Action Plan
  • Evaluate Progress
  • Recognize Achievements

This post focuses on how GridPoint’s smart building technology guides you through steps two and three: assessing performance and setting goals.

Assess Performance – Where are you now and where do you want to be?

Looking into historical energy data helps managers understand a building’s energy profile and will, in turn, help determine realistic targets to strive towards. A thorough performance assessment will involve gathering data, setting a baseline, benchmarking, and analyzing current energy trends.

To paint a better picture of consumption trends prior to installation, GridPoint’s solution incorporates 12 months of historical utility data to establish a baseline. This baseline is then used to determine how the energy management system can most efficiently reduce energy consumption. Benchmarking enables building managers to rank their sites in relation to industry averages for further insights on areas to improve. By reviewing previous energy usage patterns, GridPoint’s Analysts can recommend operational and control adjustments to improve performance going forward.

 

This image shows submetered channels and corresponding usage trends. GridPoint uses historical data to identify
anomalies, malfunctioning equipment, and inefficient usage patterns

 

Set Goals

Goals need guidelines, these make up your project’s scope. The scope can be set at the corporate or site level, by processes, by equipment, and/or by time period. By combining two or more of these constraints, managers are able to determine realistic short and long term goals designed to achieve what is meaningful to the business. Here are a few examples of multi-conditional goals and how GridPoint’s platform accomplishes them:

          GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile enables users to track progress on-the-go

Short term goals:
  • Increase HVAC uptime from 90% to 95% – By controlling and tracking HVAC operation, GridPoint can alert customers when HVAC units go offline and mitigate outages.
  • Minimize time windows where cooler doors remain open – Door sensors enable GridPoint alarms that are configured to notify managers when cooler/freezer doors have been left open for extended periods of time.
  • Decrease nighttime lighting load by 70% – GridPoint can minimize unnecessary lighting during unoccupied hours through lighting schedules that correspond to store hours and sunlight levels.
Long-term goals:
  • Recognize an average kWh reduction of 10% across all sites – GridPoint models energy savings from the collected baseline data and can provide ongoing insight on methods to continuously improve energy savings.
  • Decrease overall max demand kW throughout the enterprise by 3% –GridPoint’s Load Curtailment Algorithm drives down costly, daily energy peaks without sacrificing comfort.
  • Reduce average per-site CO2 emissions by 4,000 pounds annually – By comparing the EPA’s CO2 data for energy supplied to localities, GridPoint can track CO2 reduction alongside energy consumption.

What is the potential for improvement? Operational performance is paramount to a facility’s integrity. How efficiently and effectively is the building providing comfort and safety to its occupants? Continuously checking for and addressing negatively impacting trends or actions will ensure that customers get the most out of their program. The GridPoint Energy Advisory Services (EAS) Team supports continuous improvement by leveraging real-time, equipment level data to identify equipment flaws or failures, unnecessary energy usage, and other anomalies. They can then make recommendations to mitigate these issues, keeping customers on the right path to achieve their goals.

 

Real Results

Reduced Energy Consumption – GridPoint reduces energy consumption with automated controls, advanced analytics, and actionable recommendations. Depending on the type of building, GridPoint saves between 5% and 30% off your monthly energy bill. This translates to tangible dollar savings that continue to accumulate over time.

Avoided maintenance costs – GridPoint Support enables customers to resolve common maintenance issues remotely which minimized the cost of diagnosis, labor, and truck rolls. Available 24/7, our Support Team can help troubleshoot and address a number of issues over the phone without ever having to call a technician to the site. The EAS team can also help by tracking poly-phase voltage imbalances, which degrade the lifespan of motorized mechanical equipment, like HVAC units and refrigerators.

Reduced site outages – Through the use of real-time energy metering, GridPoint’s alarms will notify customers of outages so that issues can be addressed promptly. In the event that there is a voltage outage during hours where the building is unoccupied, GridPoint’s Site Monitoring Team is the first to know and can notify the customer immediately.

Health and food safety compliance – By monitoring cooler, freezer, and hot water temperatures the EMS can mitigate issues or health code violations related to the quality of goods or services provided. GridPoint can monitor refrigeration/freezer temperatures and send automated alarms to key employees if temperatures fluctuate to an unsafe level for a period of time. Hot water heating is another sensitive channel that can be tracked and maintained to prevent the potential for growth of disease-causing bacteria.

 

These are just a few of GridPoint’s many benefits. For more information on how GridPoint’s technology can help you achieve your goals enter your contact information in the form below.


Jack French

Energy Data Analyst

Jack evaluates energy consumption patterns to provide customers a comprehensive overview of building operation and performance. Using data-driven strategies, he provides insight on how to optimize efficiency, comfort, and equipment lifespan.


HVAC Scope | The Automated HVAC Testing Tool

Budgeting for HVAC maintenance and repairs can feel like playing darts in the dark. It’s hard to determine how much to set aside for the year or how often you should schedule preventative maintenance. If you schedule too many check-ups you might be paying too much. If you don’t schedule enough, you may find that major components need to be replaced more frequently. This thin line between over scheduling and under scheduling is bravely tread by every facility manager, and decisions are typically made based on past experience, best practices, and old fashion guess work. GridPoint has created an automated and systematic method to this madness in the newly released, patent-pending HVAC testing tool: HVAC Scope.

 

What Is an Automated HVAC Test?

GridPoint’s automated HVAC Scope test is a new way to run diagnostic and performance test on HVAC units without lifting a finger. After the quick, initial setup, the HVAC Scope tool will test HVAC units individually on a pre-set cadence. The test can be set up to run at night when the building is empty to create controlled test environment and eliminate any interference with normal business operations. It can also be run on-demand if needed.

When run, the HVAC Scope tool will test each unit one-at-a-time to reduce any influence between units. It will prompt the HVAC units to run through several different modes: fan off, fan on, stage 1 cooling, stage 2 cooling, stage 1 heating, and stage 2 heating. This enables GridPoint to use the environmental data, energy data, and HVAC data collected at the site to pinpoint actual issues such as a fan that is not blowing air or compressor that is not cooling enough. A report is generated to help identify these specific issues before calling in a technician, reducing the time, and cost, it takes to get the issue resolved.

 

Save Time and Money on HVAC Maintenance

Studies have shown that the average commercial building requires $1,700 in HVAC maintenance every year. And that number doesn’t include the internal time it takes to schedule preventative maintenance, work with technicians, or troubleshoot HVAC issues. GridPoint’s HVAC Scope feature takes the headache out of managing your units so that you can focus on the things that matter most to your business. Each time the HVAC testing tool is run – whether automatically or on-demand, you’ll receive a report that will help you:

  • Reduce HVAC maintenance and repair costs
  • Improve preventative maintenance scheduling with real data
  • Extend the life of HVAC units through better care
  • Eliminate last minute HVAC calls during seasonal changes
  • Reduce the time it takes to diagnose and fix HVAC issues

 

HVAC Test Details

The value of GridPoint’s HVAC Scope tool is derived from granular data collected at sites paired with control capabilities within each unit. As the test runs, each stage of heating and cooling are run while data is continuously collected. The GridPoint controller runs calculations in the background in order to report the operational status of each zone and stage. This report will enable technicians on-site to see if there are any components of the HVAC unit that are non-operational by looking at the power consumption for each stage during the test. It will also let them know how well an HVAC unit is cooling or heating by showing temperature changes at each stage. These reports are sent to GridPoint Energy Manager for further analysis in a downloadable report. Over time, the trended performance of each HVAC unit can be used to fine tune preventative maintenance schedules. These reports can be run for multiple units across multiple sites to quickly and easily manage the repair and maintenance of HVAC units for an entire enterprise.

 

For more information or to receive a demo on GridPoint’s patent-pending HVAC Scope tool, fill out your information in the form below:


Tracking Energy Management Progress­

You’ve already set goals, but how do you make sure you’re on track to reach them? GridPoint’s three dimensional data helps actively track savings so you know exactly which goals you’re accomplishing and where you may need to improve.

 

 


GridPoint’s 3 Dimensions of Data

 

GridPoint ties customer baseline energy consumption data to the IPMVP empirical model in order to weather-normalize trends. This means GridPoint can accurately calculate the kWh reduction the solution is providing and validate its savings over time.

The IPMVP empirical model takes historical energy consumption data for individual sites, incorporates weather at those sites, and predicts what the energy usage would have been without GridPoint’s solution installed.


Savings Dashboard for a Large Multi-site Customer

 

On top of validating hard savings, GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services team combs through millions of data points daily to catch any facility issues a site may be experiencing individually or on an enterprise-level. We call these issues exceptions. Quickly identifying and correcting these exceptions keep sites running safely, and keeps you on track to meet your goals. Some exceptions include:

  • HVAC exceptions – Noting recurring issues and performing preventative maintenance to reduce prolonged negative impact to building operation.
  • Lighting exceptions– Minimizing unnecessary lighting consumption by use of control schedules and photo sensors
  • Refrigeration exceptions – Maintaining health and food safety temperature compliance
  • Water heater exceptions – Safeguarding water temperatures to decrease likelihood of waterborne bacteria (i.e. legionnaires disease)
  • Power outages – Notifying customers of outages, especially related to extreme weather storms (i.e. hurricanes, blizzards, flooding)
  • Voltage Imbalances – Notifying customers of high voltage imbalances which can have a negative impact on motors. Customers can then notify the utility to resolve the issue

Keep Momentum Going

GridPoint’s solution is designed to continuously drive savings over time. Our data-driven approach has been proven superior through years of experience eliminating waste and providing energy savings across many different businesses and building types. GridPoint believes customization is key, and each customer is paired with a solution package that best fits their needs and goals.   Of course those needs and goals can change as a business develops, and GridPoint’s technology can be easily modified to support those future objectives as well. Fill out your information below to learn how GridPoint can help achieve and track success of your energy goals.

 


Jack French

Energy Data Analyst

Jack evaluates energy consumption patterns to provide customers a comprehensive overview of building operation and performance. Using data-driven strategies, he provides insight on how to optimize efficiency, comfort, and equipment lifespan


The Emergence of the Energy Conscious Enterprise

As significant economic, political and technological forces evolve, enterprises are continuing to shift into a more energy-conscious mindset. New advances in technology are making innovative energy management possible, affordable and achievable from the residential sector to businesses with multiple locations across the country.

Asset-level submetering, environmental monitoring and cloud-based software platforms, in particular, are changing the way enterprises measure, monitor and manage energy usage with affordable solutions that can generate up to 30% savings, typically with 24-month-payback. In our newest white paper, GridPoint has identified five megatrends transforming the way enterprises approach energy management to reduce carbon emissions and save money:

Megatrend 1: Rising and Volatile Energy PricesEnergy prices are on a long-term, secular rise. In fact, the United States Department of Energy estimates that industrial electricity prices will grow an average 1.9% annually and 46% total over the next 20 years after inflation due to demand growth, resource supply, capacity lagging behind increased demand, political events and unexpected weather such as the polar vortex.

Megatrend 2: Government Regulation and Standards

There are numerous organizations that create and promote standards for energy management and overall building energy efficiency, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) among others, which highlight the importance of real-time, asset-level submetering to achieve granular visibility into energy use, optimize site operations and satisfy regulatory compliance requirements.

Megatrend 3: Corporate Responsibility

Corporate responsibility continues to be a key goal and priority for corporations and government institutions alike as good citizenship behavior is expected by the market and constituents.

Megatrend 4: Internet of Things

The rapid growth of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) makes energy management more affordable and effective than ever before. IoT devices communicate to each other by sending data over a network without any necessary human interaction and, according to Business Insider’s “Here Comes the Internet of Things,” these devices are estimated to grow from 10 billion in 2012 to 70 billion in 2020.

Megatrend 5: Data-driven Energy Management

Finally, you cannot manage what you do not measure. Data-driven energy efficiency management will become an expected approach to achieve maximum financial savings, operational efficiencies, capital returns and carbon reductions.

As a result of these five megatrends, tomorrow’s successful organizations will become energy conscious today by leveraging real-time energy usage data to gain visibility, analysis and control of their overall energy usage.

To learn more about what’s fueling the market, download GridPoint’s white paper The Five Megatrends Shaping the Energy Conscious Enterprise or our e-book available on Slideshare.


Powerful Plans for Carbon Reduction

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the Clean Power Plan proposal, a rule that would require power plants to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels. According to the EPA, power plants account for nearly a third of the nation’s carbon emissions and account for a major portion of our environment’s pollution.

Created as an extension of President Obama’s climate change action plan, the Clean Power Plan proposes a set of guidelines to help cut carbon pollution from plants and make them more efficient. The EPA estimates that by doing so, electricity bills will be reduced roughly 8% through increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand on the grid.

However, power plants are not solely responsible for high levels of carbon emissions and pollution. Commercial buildings account for 18% of energy consumption and, as with power plants, reduction is the key to unlocking savings and emitting less carbon.

An energy management system (EMS) like GridPoint’s provides visibility into enterprise-wide energy consumption through submetering, monitoring and big data analytics. Our cloud-based platform includes control automation and advanced algorithms to maintain set points and identify new opportunities for savings. While the EPA predictions assume 8% savings, the 12,000 sites that have GridPoint’s EMS systems installed have generated energy savings up to 30%. To date, GridPoint’s lifetime carbon emission reduction is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 200,000 cars.

From power plant to retail stores, the reduction of carbon emissions is needed across the board. Let GridPoint and its energy management systems help your enterprise be part of the solution, not the problem.


GridPoint Energy Data Analyzed in Nationwide DataFest

In 2011, Rob Gould, vice-chair of undergraduate studies at UCLA’s department of statistics, created the DataFest, a team competition in which students were given 48 hours to analyze a complex dataset and provide intelligent, creative insight before a panel of judges. The competitive nature of the event was designed to rejuvenate students’ academic performance while giving them a taste of real-world, current data. Since that first event, DataFest has grown significantly and is now hosted by five major schools nationwide.

"I'm really excited and pleased to see how DataFest has grown. In 2011, we had about 30 students at UCLA, and now we had almost 400 students at 15 colleges and universities around the country, all analyzing the same dataset,” said Professor Gould. “I think this speaks to a real hunger that students feel for being provided with challenging problems in a fun and supportive environment."

Each year, the data provider is kept secret until the beginning of each event. GridPoint provided “secret” dataset this year and students were challenged not only to glean imaginative analysis, but were also required to learn about the consumption and reduction of energy in a short amount of time. Data-crazed students participated in DataFests that were hosted at Duke University, Princeton University, Emory University, UCLA and the Five Colleges.

Kyle McCarter, director of solutions engineering at GridPoint, who received his B.S.E. from Duke University in 2005, said attending the event at his alma mater gave him a new perspective on the data GridPoint deals with daily. “We deal with difficult data. Time-series data was new to a lot of people, even the graduate students. Additionally, there is a lot of contextual information (like how an HVAC system works) that is necessary to model things properly,” he noted.

Overall, Kyle reported that students’ approach to GridPoint’s data was compelling and found that their analysis offered valuable ideas for future exploration.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you to the DataFest organizers for featuring GridPoint! 

Duke University:
Best in Show: “Wolfram Alphas”: Mao Hu, Avinash Moondra, Sankash Shankar, Daniel Zhang, Zenia Zheng, Josh Latner, Meghan Scanlon; “D 4 C”: Alvin Kang, Paul Kim, Lilly Park, Kevin Wu, Eric Wu
Best Use of External Data: “Team Clairvoyant”: Ashish Agarwal, Yu Fan, Fangjian Guo, Yizhe Zhang, Weiqiang Zhu; “The Fantastic 5+1”: Xirui Diao, Mingqiang Fu, Xiangcheng Gao, Yi Rong Hoo, Ruisi Zhan, Brianna Bai; “Data Cruncherz”: Travis Britain, Brittany Cohen, Varun Himamshu, Gabrielle Levac, Heather Shapiro, Philip Srevrev
Best Visualization: “Cougar Bait”: Lorin Crawford, Nghi Nguyen, Derek Owens-Oas, Shinichiro Shirota, Xi Chen, Joseph Futoma, Christoph Hellmayr, Matt Johnson, Victor Pena; “Spectral”: Bryan Davis, Fuhui Fang, Yinan Fang, Jie Gao

Princeton University:
Best in Show: “DJ Hydrazine”: Harold Li, Nathaniel May, David Zhao
Best Visualization: “The Outliers”: Ujjwal Dahuja, Mihaela Curmei, Arunraj Balaji, Mark Aksen, Lydia Liu, Kevin Lin
Best Use of External Data: “WuTang Financial”: Farhan Abrol, John Anderson, David Jensen, Leor Klainerman, Robert Sami

Five Colleges: Smith College’s “The P-Valuables”: Deidre Fitzpatrick Michele Handy, Maja Milosavljevic , Sara Stoudt, Dana Udwin

Emory University:

Best Insight and Best Visualization: “Data Miners”: Kirk Hadley, Aiming Nie, Michael Zhai, Tony Wang, Fei Gao; “ANOVA One Bites the Dust”: Kyle Niezgoda

UCLA:

Best Insight: “Oops I Dataed Again”: Siena Duplan, Kayla Frisoli, Kimberly Mauleon, Greta Olesen, Daniel Smith; “SC Statistics”: Chris Funaki, Sri Ramesh, Bradley Rava, Tsz Chan, Matthew Norris
Best Visualization: “Jack n Coke”: Lev Golod, Johghyun Lee

Best Use of External Data: “JSS”: Shahid Cohan, James Lepore, Sean Grant 

Read more about DataFest 2014 here:

GridPoint Provides Dataset for National College Tournament “DataFest” 

The Students Most Likely to Take Our Jobs
fivethirtyeight.com

A Weekend of Data Crunching
Duke Magazine

DataFest Sees Teams Competing in Data Analysis
The Daily Princetonian


What's the Big Deal About Big Data?

By Anthony O’Farrell


When I first told friends and family that I was going back to school to study analytics, everyone kept asking, “Analytics? What’s that?” Fast forward a few years and data analytics is everywhere – often prefixed with the word BIG! So what drew me to the sexiest job of the 21stcentury? The exponential rise in digital data means there is a corresponding demand for people, organizations and tools that can harness that data and deliver insight. GridPoint is such an organization and GridPoint Energy Manager is that tool.
 
That word, insight, is a critical and sometimes neglected piece of the big data puzzle. Collecting data is relatively straightforward, but the results are complex. In fact, WIRED reports that researchers at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that five quintillion bytes of data are produced every two days! Here at GridPoint, we have been collecting energy data since 2003, and to date we have accumulated 75 billion data points which are being added to at a rate of 100 million data points per day. The data collection and storage problem has been cracked – so now what? If you are simply collecting data and storing it then your business plan is no better than the South Park Gnomes’ Three Phase Business Plan. Just like drilling for and refining commodities like crude oil, we only derive value from energy data through sophisticated data mining techniques using a range of analytical tools and statistical savvy. Our end product is not just mountains of data – our end product is insight, insight into how your buildings consume energy across your enterprise.
 
With data-driven insight, the decision makers in your organization can make better informed and quicker decisions. It is this insight, and not the data per se, that delivers reduced energy consumption, increased building comfort and improved operational efficiency. By using real data you can have confidence that you are optimizing the limited resources at your disposal. At GridPoint, we combine cutting-edge advanced analytics with decades of subject matter expertise to deliver real lasting value to our customers.


GridPoint Featured in Verdantix Green Quadrant Energy Management Software Report

 As an independent analyst firm, Verdantix provides valuable information for stakeholders looking to invest in energy management software (EMS). Every year, Verdantix publishes its Green Quadrant Energy Management Software report, which uses the proprietary Verdantix Green Quadrant methodology to assess current offerings on the marketplace and help corporate buyers determine which system best suits the needs of their business. Verdantix reviewed more than 80 energy management suppliers using a 130-point questionnaire, interviews with a customer panel and live product demonstrations.

After narrowing the results down to the strongest companies, the report compares 14 building EMS applications in detail and places them in one of four quadrants: the Leaders, Specialist, Entrepreneurs  and Challengers. This year, GridPoint is proud to have a promising review within the Entrepreneurs Quadrant.

The 2014 report included the following findings:

· Portfolio-scale apps are taking energy management to an enterprise-wide level
· Building EMS is continuing to be integrated into a wider array of energy services
· Market consolidation increases as traditional building asset management meets portfolio-wide energy management

Verdantix also found that buyers are making EMS more of a priority and are looking for strategic approaches to optimize energy consumption and reporting. Many firms expect spending on EMS to rise in the next year, highlighting the increased importance of investing in more energy conscious solutions.

GridPoint scored highly in its ability to help enterprises manage demand response events through asset-level submetering. Our software platform, GridPoint Energy Manager, was also strongly rated for its ability to deliver project and portfolio tracking functionality.

We are grateful to be included in the top 14 EMS companies with the likes of IBM and Siemens and excited to share further products that enhance our comprehensive suite further down the line.


5 Best Practices to Minimize Data Breaches



Recent security breaches in the news remind us that data itself is a vulnerable target that requires protection and oversight.

Why is application data targeted so heavily? Often times, the data exchange between systems and components holds information to reverse engineer processes and services and is a common way to gain additional access throughout a system. If the data stream is deciphered at any point during collection, transmission or even at rest, system confidentiality can be impaired, system integrity can be compromised and system availability can be degraded. 

The following security best practices for IT infrastructure and business solutions can help avoid data breaches:

1.       Hold regular reviews of security goals and policies within your organization
2.       Establish controls following the principles of least privilege and in-depth defense
3.       Adopt regular security awareness and training programs to educate all personnel about how they can maintain security guidelines as dictated by your organization
4.       Maintain clear guidelines and business metrics that must be met regarding security
5.       Employ a security firm to assess your organization’s infrastructure and policies
 

When implementing an energy management system into an existing network, IT managers should also consider the following measures:  

·         Segregate network communications and ports
·         Install physical and environmental controls for installed equipment
·         Implement escalation and incident management procedures
·         Authorize contact points within the company
·         Review internal and external service level agreements
·         Monitor and change management practices
·         Establish risk mitigation policies
·         Patch management and service maintenance processes

While data breaches may never be eradicated, taking these measures can minimize risk and help protect valuable information.