Organizations increasingly turn to smart buildings to drive energy efficiency, productivity, occupant comfort, and environmental impact. While this has created great opportunities, it also introduces new vulnerabilities. A security-first approach that includes a data encryption strategy is essential to protect occupants, employees, and the building itself. By understanding data encryption benefits, you can create a robust security solution that keeps your assets safe.
What is Data Encryption?
Data encryption involves the translation of data into code or another form of data so that only designated individuals with a security key or password can access it.
Encrypted data is usually referred to as ciphertext while unencrypted data is called plaintext. Data (plaintext) is encrypted with an encryption algorithm and an accompanying encryption key. This process changes the data into cyphertext, which can only be viewed in its unencrypted, plaintext form when decrypted with the proper key.
Modern encryption guards information by authenticating a message to verify the origin of the request and checking the integrity of the content to ensure it remains unchanged. Once the request is verified, the data can be accessed. In layman’s terms, encryption scrambles sensitive data into an unreadable form that can only be read when the proper key is provided.
There are varying types of data encryption methods, but the most used are symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption.
Symmetric encryption uses a single secret key to encrypt the plaintext and decrypt cyphertext. This means that the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt the data. This is the faster and more seamless encryption method, but when the number of users grows, so does the number of unique keys that need to be distributed. This can create a key management problem wherein keys can be lost and picked up by malicious actors.
Asymmetric encryption uses two different keys. One key is a public key that is shared with everyone and used to encrypt the data, while the private key is protected and used to decrypt the data. The primary advantage of asymmetric encryption is that it does not require key distribution. This means that it is not prone to having lost keys picked up by bad actors. However, it is more time-consuming and less seamless. Also, if someone loses their key, it is gone forever and must be replaced.
Data Encryption Benefits Smart Buildings
Smart buildings rely on massive volumes of data from various pieces of equipment, sensors, and devices. When this data is left in a readable format, it’s vulnerable to cyberattacks. Data encryption benefits smart buildings by ensuring data can be fully utilized without compromising security.
Despite this, many smart buildings lack consistent data encryption strategies across their systems—which goes some way toward explaining why there were over 1.5 billion attacks on IoT devices in the first half of 2021. Part of the reason for the lack of data encryption is that smart buildings are made up of various pieces of technology that operate differently. Creating a truly robust security strategy requires unifying these technologies with secure integration and building management tools with encryption capabilities.
Buildings IOT offers intelligent, security-first solutions that allow you to realize the full potential of smart technology. Our powerful integration engine and building management platform utilize TLS 1.2+ protocol to encrypt all external traffic and ensure your data is protected. With our innovative approach and data encryption benefits, you gain extraordinary new capabilities that let you make the most of your assets—all without compromising security.