20th July 2015

How Construction Companies can Increase Secure Access to Data

The demand for increased access to data is being fueled by advances in technology, however, this has security risks attached to it. Here we look at how to benefit from increased access to data without the risks

Accessing data from anywhere is simple in the modern day, however, many are unaware of the security risks attached to this increased access. As data is your business’s most valuable asset, it is imperative it’s stored, shared and accessed securely. This requires identification of risks, processes and solutions to provide secure access to your data anywhere, anytime. 

Construction Data

Construction projects often consist of people, projects, sites and offices that are spread out over multiple locations, which can be difficult to manage, often resulting in numerous documents, systems and processes producing duplicate or out of date data. However, in recent years there has been a significant increase in the adoption of ERP solutions using Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud technologies within the construction industry. It is easy to understand why, as these central, companywide solutions allow all staff to access data and update it from anywhere, at any time, on any device with an internet connection.

Intense competition within the construction industry requires project and construction managers, engineers and architects to work from real-time data and be aware of any variables within a project to succeed. Collaborative tools designed for the construction industry, delivered via the cloud, provide this, allowing construction companies to monitor whole projects and react accordingly to the data produced to stay within budget and on schedule.

Access Anywhere
As Christine Dover, research director of Enterprise Applications and Digital Commerce explains on Forbes, “Demand for SaaS enterprise applications is accelerating and exceeding the demand for on-premise applications by five times…” Construction companies have realised the benefits of SaaS and are already beginning to shift from traditional IT to the faster, cost-effective SaaS model that allows employees to work from anywhere with an internet connection. 

As SaaS is designed to be a central platform used by all staff, including finance, quantity surveyors, contract managers, engineers and HR, it enables you to manage projects more effectively with increased levels of control and the ability to obtain accurate, real-time data. You’re able to create and manage budgets, analyse costs and activity, for early identification of budget or delivery problems, as there are very little-to-no time delays. Added to this, all transactions are posted directly to the contract ledger giving users live, real-time analysis of contract performance. Users of SaaS can also run detailed reports at the click of a button, giving you the business intelligence you need, wherever you are, enabling you to make informed decisions. What’s more, this can all be done through multiple mobile devices.
Secure Access
The risk-free nature of SaaS means that more construction companies are moving to this type of software service model. Not only does SaaS allow access to data anytime, anywhere, it is also more secure than on-premise solutions as vendors provide 24/7 security from both physical and digital risks. They have highly resilient data centres that back-up your data, have disaster recovery processes in place, security guards on site and much more. 

Even though SaaS is more secure, the security of your data still resides with you. For example, if you allow your workforce to access data anytime through any device, including their own, you must formulate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy or procedure, advising employees on the appropriate, safe and secure use of cloud-based services. Furthermore, you must do the following:

  • Understand how data flows through your company
  • Ensure the system you invest in complies with data protection laws 
  • Ensure it complies with legislative requirements of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
  • Provide your workforce with tailored role access
  • Password protect sensitive data
  • Create company policies for BYOD

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