Tom Shircliff and Rob Murchison

 Interview -Intelligent Buildings Co-Founders: Tom Shircliff and Rob Murchison

EMAIL INTERVIEW – “Intelligent Buildings Co-Founders Tom Shircliff and Rob Murchison

discuss recent partnership with Tempered Networks” with Ken Sinclalr



Tom Shircliff is
a Principal of Intelligent Buildings, LLC a company that he co-founded
in 2004 to help customers manage risk, enhance occupant well-being, and
continually improve performance through advisory, assessment and
managed services. Tom is an entrepreneur and executive with broad
experience in Fortune 500 management, small business and venture
capital-funded startups. He is an industry thought leader and
collaborator with universities, national laboratories and trade shows
as well as a gubernatorial appointee for energy policy and founding
Chairman of Envision Charlotte, a Clinton Global Initiative. Tom writes
for industry publications and has been a contributing book author as
well as co-inventing multiple real estate technology patents.
Previously he was in management and leadership roles in the real estate
and technology sectors with AT&T, Broadriver Communications and The Price Davis Company.


Rob Murchison is
a Principal of Intelligent Buildings, LLC, a company that he
co-founded in 2004 to help customers manage risk, enhance occupant
well-being, and continually improve performance through advisory,
assessment, and managed services. Rob is an entrepreneur and
executive with broad experience in information technology, startup
businesses, and real estate solutions. He is a frequent speaker
and panelist at conferences, including RealComm Conference, IBCon Conference,
and Haystack Connect. He has been a guest lecturer at Harvard
University Graduate School of Design and the Georgia
Institute of Technology. Rob writes for industry publications and has
been a contributing book author and co-invented multiple real
estate technology patents. Previously, he was an MIS network specialist
with Wix and has been an equity owner and sales executive
at LVTS Integration and Cisco Systems Partner. 

– Tom and Rob, we are usually talking to you about smart building
strategy and solutions. What led you guys into cybersecurity?

  • As we all know, it’s not
    just so-called smart building solutions but any building control
    systems has been digital and Internet connectable for decades with
    little to know planning or policy for cybersecurity. So, while we have
    been consulting on this for a while we came to realize there was just
    not a service or solution available that fit commercial real estate for
    ongoing monitoring and protection. Additionally, the existing IT
    approaches were too expensive and cumbersome for the facilities
    environment. This i
    s supported by
    both NIST and Gartner who have research verifying that IT methods do
    not work for OT and can actually compound problems. Ken, there is a
    book titled “Culture Eats Strategy for 
    but we have observed in real estate that “Culture eats technology for
    breakfast” as well. Thus any successful approach had to be compatible
    with what 
    really happens in facilities and not just a tech-only approach.

commercial buildings get smarter and more automated, security seems to
be one of the obstacles that needs to be addressed. What are some of
the biggest issues your customers seem to be facing and what do they
need to consider?

  • You
    are right about that. Even though we just mentioned nearly all building
    systems and solutions need help with cybersecurity, the proverbial
    Internet of Things keeps piling on sensors and systems that are well
    beyond the core systems we have all gotten used to. So, if you don’t
    have a good, scalable, cost-effective approach made for building
    systems OT then  you are doomed to the inevitable consequences. And 
    it’s important to note that this is not just an opinion,
    we have numerous incident reports available on our website describing
    multiple different events where the customers incurred hundreds of
    thousands and millions of dollars in costs due to issues not only
    involving hacking but also system mismanagement and IT methods
    misapplied to building systems and knocking them offline.

you summarize the managed cybersecurity services you are offering based
on Tempered Networks and how they help commercial real estate clients?

  • Given
    the Gartner and NIST research and our 17 years in the business we
    determined a low cost, straight forward managed service was the most
    effective way to solve the problem and the fastest “time to value”
    approach. We have three pillars in the service:
    • Remote Access:
       1 to 1 only connections that are invisible to the Internet, plug
      and play simplicity, and much lower cost structure than traditional
    • Building System:
      Configuration scanning (ensuring passwords, current software, lockouts)
      and consolidated backup service for all controls systems
    • Contractor and Staff: Ongoing policy audits, phishing monitoring and online training

did you select Tempered Networks as the security infrastructure for
your service? Do they have specific capabilities for this market?

  • Tempered has precisely what Intelligent Buildings was looking for and what the industry needed to deal with the fragmented environment of real estate and Intelligent Buildings knows the inner workings and
    culture of commercial real estate better than anyone. So, taking their
    networking and remote access technology and combining it with
    contractor and staff automated policy management and training and then
    topping it off with system backup made it a very compelling
    combination. — Tempered is the lynchpin for networking and secure
    remote access that enables the configuration scan and backup services –
    and Ken now we can also help the customer get and analyze data much
    more confidently with this secure environment.

How does your service and Tempered’s Airwall fit
into a typical customer environment? Is there anything to retrofit, and
how complex is the installation for OT networking teams?

  • That
    is the beauty of it. No retrofit, no layers of technology, or complex
    management We have developed a process at Intelligent Buildings where
    we can simply have a planning call and then dropship devices with a
    note card showing “plug and play” and then all contractors get
    automated audit links and support describing the new customer policy
    and the ongoing policy compliance process. We manage the secure
    connections and new user onboarding and privileges. The cool thing is
    we can link policy compliance to access and privileges, meaning if a
    contractor or staff member does respond or answer audits appropriately
    we can remove access to the Tempered network instantly.

is the ROI in making this kind of investment in better cybersecurity?
Reducing opex by outsourcing security management? Reducing risk and
insurance premiums? Avoiding catastrophic loss? Enabling remote access
that saves time and money or improves support services?

  • In
    a word, “yes”. This saves vendor and staff time and money, reduces (and
    addresses!) insurance gaps, and significantly reduces the chance of
    catastrophic loss. We have worked closely with customer insurance
    providers to explain and validate the new levels of security and
    policy. Additionally, we have had 
    customers take
    out the expensive capital intensive IT infrastructure and replace it
    with this service including shifting the capex costs from the corporate
    or central office to the local property management operational expense
    for a more predictable financial approach.

Is there anything else the readers should know?

  • Just
    a couple of closing thoughts are that this partnership has been in
    place for a while now even though we have just announced it publicly,
    so customers can be confident that we can quickly deploy the technology
    and the services with a proven process. In 
    addition, the many
    owners and managers we work with, we can even help larger contractors
    and service providers who need to manage their own access and policies.


Intelligent Buildings Partners with Tempered Networks for Managed Service to Secure Commercial Real Estate Networks

New combination provides groundbreaking cost structure, speed, and securityCharlotte, NC | March 31, 2021 09:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time

Intelligent Buildings today announced its selection of Tempered
Networks for a key aspect of its Vendor Risk Management Services,
strengthening its managed service approach and revolutionizing building
IoT cybersecurity. This approach leapfrogs traditional complex VPNs and
mismatched IT solutions in terms of security, ease of management, and

Leveraging Tempered’s AirWall platform, Intelligent Buildings
effectively secures the disparate and fragmented operational systems
and IoT sensors found in commercial buildings, such as HVAC, access
control, elevator, lighting, parking, and others. Intelligent
Buildings’ managed service for commercial property owners and managers
is a turn-key offering that integrates and simplifies a wide range of
vendor risk management services for existing building systems and
networks that are proving to be more vulnerable to cyberattacks and
local mismanagement.

About Intelligent Buildings
is the only company focused on Smart Building advisory, assessment, and
managed services at scale for new projects and existing portfolios. We
help our customers manage risk, enhance occupant well-being, and
continually improve performance by providing unmatched expertise,
practical recommendations, and targeted services. Since 2004, we are
the most trusted and experienced name in Smart Building services. Visit

About Tempered Networks

makes the industry’s only truly native Zero Trust Software-Defined
Perimeter (SDP) solution. Airwall is the modern air gap for all
connected things. Airwall makes it easy to create and maintain
hyper-secure networks across complex infrastructure anywhere, including
IT/OT/ICS/SCADA, remote and in the cloud. Airwall networks are
multi-factor authenticated, micro-segmented, encrypted end-to-end, and
impervious to lateral movement. Ready to make your company’s critical
assets and infrastructure invisible to threats? Visit



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