Demystifying Encryption in Construction Technology

Construction technology has come a long way in the last five years and as construction projects become more complex, the number of players at any stage of a project increases. When you start increasing the number of subcontractors and suppliers, you are bound to see security issues come up that require more robust encryption technologies on your devices. Here’s to demystifying encryption.

Communicating effectively and securely across multiple platforms and teams requires several technical solutions, but among the most important is making sure your data, both shared and received, uses strong encryption.

What role does encryption play in the day-to-day management of a construction project? The IoT (Internet of Things) brings a few tools to the construction industry, but it also has its pitfalls, including how to secure electronic data, cloud technologies, and network hosted services.

Demystifying Encryption: How to Combat Cyber Security Attacks

Modern construction companies are adopting a variety of construction technologies to do business, share information, and report progress to interested parties. To do so safely, whether an employee uses a personal laptop, on-site desktop, mobile phone, or job site tablet, every access point is vulnerable to malicious intrusion. Encryption is simply the best way to ensure that data is transferred safely to and ONLY by authorized users.

Let’s start with reviewing three important misconceptions about data encryption:

  • Accessing a computer with a standard login username and password through the operating system is enough protection.
  • Adding extra steps for data encryption reduces user productivity.
  • Complicated data encryption technology creates headaches for the IT department who will have to plan, deploy and maintain the platforms.

A Strong Password is Enough

While having a strong password is certainly a step in the right direction, it isn’t nearly sufficient to protect your data from prying eyes. There have been numerous studies conducted concluding that many users are less than consistent when it comes to password protection. If we also agree that many mobile devices including laptops are protected with a relatively easy to break four-digit passcode, it is safe to assume that even a strong password isn’t enough protection. If that device is lost or stolen, do you really want to trust your data protection to a simple four-digit passcode?

A strong data security solution on the other hand uses encryption to protect everything on the hard disk. Even if your device is lost or stolen, and the disk removed and connected to another system, nothing can be read without the encryption key. The most robust encryption solutions include data encryption as well as authentication techniques to increase the security of the device.

Extra Steps Equals Production Decline

Just about every facet of our digital lives uses some form of encryption. Whether it is credit card fields on or personal data on a website you frequent, reputable websites use secure encryption protocols to keep your information safe.

Encryption on most websites happens seamlessly and doesn’t slow down your access in any way that you would notice. The idea that implementing encryption technologies slows your website or apps down or retards productivity is untrue. Whole-disk encryption, an outdated technology, might have resulted in discernible lag and bottlenecks, but today’s powerful processors eliminate that entirely. Today, most encryption is performed on processor hardware rather than in software, increasing the speed with which encryption takes place.

Using modern systems, users won’t notice encryption taking place even on tablets, laptops, and smartphones despite having far less processing power than desktop computers. The entire process is now transparent to the end user.

Adding to the IT Workload

IT professionals will advocate for universal encryption on all computing devices used by your employees provided they are deployed in a way that can be easily managed, maintained and monitored with little if any user level installations or configuration. This requires a well-designed encryption solution with a central administrative management tool.

Let’s face it… the best encryption technologies are only as effective as the team deploying them. The difference between a great encryption solution and a bad one is as simple as deciding whether it adversely impacts your IT staff and places undue burden on their everyday activities. If your encryption solution cannot be deployed transparently with minimal impact on users, it probably isn’t going to gain the support of the folks who must implement it across your various devices.

These factors, and others depending on your unique situation, all should be weighed and analyzed to make sure the overall impact on your IT department is minimal. Solutions that are designed from the ground up to meet enterprise requirements are always going to be better than single out of the box implementations. The bottom line: The right solution should have minimal impact on IT and on end users.

No Magic Pill

There is no secret to demystifying encryption for job site managers and administrators. Research and competent IT professionals can make short work of any encryption solution without impacting productivity or resources. To find out more about making the most of construction technologies like SiteKick and discover how we’re changing the way job sites are monitored and managed, give us a call to schedule an informative demonstration today!