How to Keep Your Data Secure During Digital Transformation

How to Keep Your Data Secure During Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is not new. In the 1980s, email was one of the first disruptors in communications, showing the world that instantaneous conversation across the globe is possible. Now, of course, we have technology like SMS and FaceTime that bring us even closer to real-time face-to-face conversation from anywhere in the world.

Similarly, in the work of Construction and Engineering, the advent of CAD from linen and paper-based drawing revolutionised the industry. Today the 2D drawing has moved to 3D and fly through or walk around models of buildings are now the norm for asset owners in a Design and Construct phase. But how do the 3D models get transferred from a design and construct tool through to the asset owner at the end of the project and how do you do so securely?

In a recent article, Michelle Love includes Risk Management and Data Security as a key part of a successful asset handover. When dealing with 3D models or even a full BIM environment, the example of using a hard disk drive simply wouldn’t cut it. Files are large and the full BIM correlated and cross-referenced data to the image is as precious and as important as the asset itself.

So how do you ensure that your data is secure and your documentation is of the highest industry standard during asset handover from construction to operations and maintenance?

Step 1 – Have the option of an online repository

There is a reason most design files are transferred via an external hard drive; it’s the cheapest option to use. However, in large asset construction in a 3D based world, these large files and their criticality to the ongoing management of the asset deserve a better way. Having a secure and highly available cloud solution whereby the drawings can be transferred to that is built on best of breed technology designed specifically for engineering is the minimum standard for these highly valuable items deserve.

Step 2 – Ensure that the storage location and the link is secure

Securing the data across the environment ensures the critical drawing assets that your organisation owns is safe. The ongoing management and operation of the asset becomes more and more important over its lifespan. This information, if corrupted on the hard drive model, is costly to replace. If the information is lost during transfer or even intercepted, it would be devastating as sensitive information about an asset would not only devalue the asset but potentially introduce public security issues if you are managing critical infrastructure. For critical infrastructure particularly, the sovereignty of the information needs to be considered as important asset data should be held in the country it belongs to.

Step 3 – Provide early access to those that require it

Once you have had the files securely transferred and available in the storage location, ensuring that the operators/managers of the assets have access to this quickly and securely is key. It doesn’t really make sense that data is uploaded in one big hit, so move the data as each area reaches approval from construction and provide the users with access early. They can then have that information to hand and familiarise themselves with the data. Most of all, it has to be fast and responsive.

Step 4 – Back it up with a High Availability model

So, after you have uploaded your data securely to an online repository and have given access to the users early, the question is does the repository operate in a high availability location or just on a server somewhere in a datacentre? There is a big difference.

Using cloud solutions that are built on an HA/DR model that provide failover and high availability mean that in any situation, be that on a corporate LAN or high speed wired internet link, or over a mobile phone or tablet, the information is readily available.

The benefit can extend to having offline versions of the drawings too, so if the work teams are in an underground carpark, or outside of a mobile/cell coverage, they have the information needed to do their jobs without copies of copies of paper drawings which may or may not be accurate as well as become uncontrolled impacting quality and security requirements for many organisations.

Step 5 – Leverage emerging technology to continually improve asset management

Utilising an engineering data content specialist organisation such as RedEye will partner with you on your digital transformation journey. Our solutions are purpose-built for engineering data management, but moreover, they are created and implemented WITH you not for you. You as the client should have involvement in the process from day one, ensuring that there is knowledge transfer and your requirements for data access and security are met.

For more information on how clients such as Queensland Children’s Hospital and Transurban have transformed their asset management, reach out to me at

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