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Johnson Controls Acquires Tempered Networks to Shield Buildings From Cyberattacks

Acquisition allows Johnson Controls to bring zero trust security to connected buildings 

Acquisition allows Johnson Controls to bring zero trust security to connected buildings 

Smart building infrastructure and technology giant Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) announced on Thursday that it has acquired zero trust cybersecurity provider Tempered Networks for an undisclosed sum.

Technology from Seattle, Washington-based Tempered will allow customers to protect buildings with always-on and software-defined security perimeters to protect device-to-device, device-to-cloud and device-to-user interactions.

Tempered Networks was formed in 2014 by Jeff Hussey, founder and former CEO of F5, and David Mattes, who worked at Boeing to create a solution to protect their critical infrastructure, namely the robots on the 777 manufacturing floor. The solution he and his team created was based on open standards, which allowed them to independently commercialize the technology.

Leading up to the acquisition, Mattes had most recently served as Executive Chairman, Chief Evangelist at Tempered.

Johnson Controls says Tempered’s ‘Airwall’ technology will allow it to provide zero trust security within the fabric of its OpenBlue secure communications stack, advancing the industrial giant’s vision of enabling fully autonomous buildings that are resilient to cyberattack.

On a technical level, Tempered’s Airwall uses the Host Identity Protocol and a cloud-based policy orchestration platform to create new overlay networks built on encrypted and authenticated communication, allowing for greater system automation of functions such as heating and cooling, lighting, security and airflows.

“When it comes to buildings, we must create easily-implementable cybersecurity defenses as we’re often dealing with critical infrastructure, including assets such as data centers and hospitals,” said Vijay Sankaran, vice president and chief technology officer, Johnson Controls. “Tempered Networks Airwall approach is purpose-built for our sector as it’s designed around principles of zero trust, securing device communications as data moves between devices and the cloud – so enabling remote building optimization in the most trusted way possible.”

“Digital transformation is the primary way we’ll make the world’s buildings more autonomous and resilient,” said Bryan Skene, chief technology officer, Tempered Networks. “Being acquired by Johnson Controls allows us to fully integrate our Airwall technology into their software stack, providing an advanced security platform for a range of edge to cloud applications. Our ambition, now we’re part of Johnson Controls, is that building systems everywhere can be managed from anywhere and remain secure from cyber threats.”

Founded in 1885, Johnson Controls has more than 100,000 employees worldwide with annual sales topping $22 billion. 

Learn More About Securing Smart Buildings at SecurityWeek’s ICS Cybersecurity Conference.

Written By

For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.

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