However, with all these benefits, there also new considerations surrounding cybersecurity which must be understood and addressed to keep the site surveillance secure and serving only the building team.
The importance of cybersecurity
From a network perspective, networked surveillance devices are similar to desktops, laptops, or smartphones when it comes to vulnerabilities. Although network surveillance cameras cannot visit dangerous websites, download untrusted software, or be tricked through email attachments containing viruses, there are still ways in which they can be exposed and taken advantage of by malicious actors. The last thing a site manager wants to deal with is their newly secured, monitored site to be compromised and have sensitive data and personal information held ransom. Surveillance systems may aid in preventing vandalism or theft, but a malicious party gaining access to surveillance systems could do even more damage. They could gain access to hours of footage, which they could use to gain entry to the construction site, through knowledge of the movements of security personnel throughout the day, for example.
To prevent this, a network of surveillance devices needs to be “hardened,” which means doing whatever possible to prevent unauthorized access to the system. There are physical measures which can be taken to secure a network, involving anti-sabotage, -vandalism, and -tampering technologies and designs which prevent physical hijacking of network devices. It is also important to protect all network cables, and ensure devices are mounted properly, as these can both be points of entry for malicious actors.
Physical security is just one aspect of protecting a network of surveillance devices. There are extensive measures which can and should be taken on the technical level which will harden the security infrastructure of a construction site to provide maximum protection against outside sources. Providers of network surveillance systems will typically offer security notifications which detail known issues and vulnerabilities, and offer consistent software updates to address evolving security concerns. Access to surveillance records and live footage should be restricted to specific individuals with the necessary security clearance, and access should be allowed through specific, vetted devices and networks to prevent unintended users gaining access. Other practices, such as sanitary decommissioning of old devices through factory resets to prevent credentials and other configuration remaining in the device, limiting web interface access, or completely disabling it, and encrypting video footage as it is stored, are also beneficial when it comes to increasing cybersecurity.
Although new risks emerge using networked surveillance systems, the benefits to safety, productivity, savings, and convenience make the effort worthwhile. It is important to work with the surveillance provider to ensure devices are kept secure and up to date, and the site runs at peak efficiency. Above all else, the safety of the workers and the site is paramount to success, and surveillance systems are a major contributor to their well-being.
1 Read this article on construction site safety, www.ehstoday.com/construction/article/21919029/58-percent-of-construction-workers-say-safety-takes-a-backseat-to-productivity.
2 Visit the National Safety Council (NSC) at www.nsc.org.
3 Access this report on improving safety by visiting elcosh.org/document/1452/d000505/improving-safety-can-save-you-money.html.
4 Learn more about theft and vandalism on construction sites at www.aviva.ca/en/business/blog/theft-and-vandalism-on-construction-sites.
Jason Chiu is the professional services group manager with Axis Canada. He has a background in IT and networking and has spent more than 15 years in the security industry, being an integrator, consultant, and manufacturer.