PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog
Why SSO Integration Needs to Be Part of All Construction Company’s IT Strategy--Security, Increased Security and Reduced Costs

Why SSO Integration Needs to Be Part of All Construction Company’s IT Strategy–Security, Increased Productivity and Reduced Costs

4 Reasons Your Company Needs to Adopt Software with Single Sign-On

How many passwords do you have to remember on a daily basis? Three, four, maybe five or six? Depending on what you need to access, the number might vary, but we’re betting on a common fact; you’ve forgotten your passwords multiple time. It’s true, forgetting passwords is incredibly common. According to a recent study, 60% of people say they cannot remember all of their passwords. Understandable as there’s only so many old addresses, pets, and parents’ birthday combinations you can remember before it starts to blend together, leaving you inevitably locked out of your accounts when you need them most. On the other hand, if you’re someone who resorts to using the same password for every single login (you know who you are), you’re opening yourself up to a major cybersecurity risk. When it comes to business data, the risk of an employee forgetting or using faulty practices is too high to ignore. That’s why modern enterprise companies are migrating towards SSO integration.

Whether you have a password issue personally, for construction companies, especially enterprise companies, password fatigue is a huge issue and single sign-on, or SSO, is essential. Furthermore, lean IT departments often have to wear many hats, and with more companies making the transition to digital, their roles are increasing. Therefore, IT workers can no longer afford to be inundated by an influx of admin requests for new password especially when the stakes are increasing.

Beyond improving security and reducing admin requests, SSO integration has many benefits for construction companies, large and small. Whether you’re new to SSO or not, your construction company needs to have it and adopt software that supports single sign-on. Read on to learn what exactly SSO is and how specifically it can benefit your construction company and projects.

What’s SSO?

If you’re not already familiar, SSO is the ability to authenticate with a service provider (SP) via an identity provider (IdP). Simply put, it’s one authentication point to access multiple applications with one set of login credentials. For example, if you access Gmail, Microsoft Office and construction software (as long as it has SAML 2.0 support) from one device, you can use a cloud identity management platform like Okta or OneLogin to access all with just one login.

Primarily, three major features comprise SSO integration:

  1. Using a different authentication service
  2. Requiring all users to use a standard authentication service
  3. Single logout (SLO)

Above all, these features share one major theme: control. Most importantly, SSO is about enforcing greater control over your company’s digital assets and presence.

How SSO Integration Benefits the Construction Industry

Today, most enterprise companies have already embraced single sign-on integration. Below, we’ll share how SSO specifically benefits players in the construction industry, from large enterprise companies to even small companies looking to exercise greater control over their assets.

Improves Security

Security, especially cybersecurity, is just beginning to become a hot topic in the construction industry. If not managed extensively, passwords can open up the opportunity for major security breaches within organizations. Having separate passwords for your logins serves a purpose, but the risk of them getting lost, stolen or misplaced is high. Although we’ve all seen the highly faulty password post-it method, data thieves are also getting more sophisticated in their tactics and cybersecurity threats are on the rise worldwide. For construction companies, this means that one careless employee could mean compromising your whole data suite, which could cost you thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover. By using SSO, this threat is severely reduced. Dependence on passwords is a major security issue but SSO integration helps to reduce password fatigue and unsafe practices, improving your security company-wide.

Furthermore, single sign-on allows IT administrators to apply additional security requirements for password control. For instance, many companies have security policies around how long and complex passwords must be, how often they must be changed, how often they can be reused, multiple factor authentication and so forth. However, many of these policies fall under a sort of honor system for employees to keep up with it, which spoiler alert, most do not. Even with the best intentions to change passwords and keep them secure, many employees don’t understand the real necessity of security to begin with. In fact, according to a recent JBKnowledge construction technology report, nearly 80% of IT staff admit that only half of their employees really understand and apply their security policies. But with SSO, IT can actually enforce these policies for all apps without having to maintain them within each individual system–reducing the password pain for both employees and IT admins.

Even with up to date external security and password precautions, sometimes the biggest security threat can be the one from within. For instance, disgruntled and former employees who still have access to data can pose a huge problem for a construction company. Without SSO integration, an IT manager will have to reset former employee passwords to lock them out and then delete their accounts. As an incredibly manual process, this is easy to forget and difficult to do for large numbers of users. Nonetheless, SSO helps to automate the process and prevents former employees from accessing restricted data.

If security is a concern for your company, SSO is critical to ensure data doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Reduces Administration IT Costs

Construction companies are known to be quite cost conscious. And who would blame them when cost overruns are an industry-wide standard with only 31% of all projects coming within 10% of their budget. A project already has so many working parts and elements that could potentially go wrong, add any small amount of time or money lost and it could make the difference in a success or fail. The last thing an enterprise company needs is to be burdened by avoidable administrative costs. However, password resets can cost your company serious money. In fact, according to Gartner, 20-50% of all help desk calls are for password resets. Furthermore, in some cases, each password reset could cost you money and the average labor cost for just one password reset is approximately $70. To put this in perspective, if an employee forgets multiple passwords, this number easily multiplies two or three times. Not to mention if you have hundreds or thousands of employees, this cost could easily add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain. For the most part, having SSO integration for enterprise construction companies eliminates a great deal of this administration money pit. With only one password to remember, your employees are less likely to forget and need to reset, saving you money over time.

Additionally, to do their jobs effectively, you can’t have your IT tied up in low-level jobs trying to provide workers with access to the apps they need to do their jobs. In construction, IT’s role is increasingly important as new technology solutions are being implemented regularly. With SSO integration, IT administrators will the power to easily reset employees passwords from one portal, further unburdening them from wasted time.

Overall, SSO provides IT the freedom to do their jobs effectively, as well as reduces costs in the long-term that can be allocated to more important tasks and projects.

Improves Efficiency

SSO obviously improves IT’s efficiency, but it also improves your entire workforce productivity. Most likely, you’re already familiar with the major productivity problems that plague the industry. Construction software has been proven to improve workforce productivity by hours a week–but only if workers can access those apps when they need them. In the field, construction workers need access to cloud-based software, on multiple devices, sometimes around the clock. If field workers aren’t able to easily log on to the apps they need, at any time, it could actually prohibit them from using field productivity tools, efficiently. That means by the time it takes to reset a new password for your subcontractor, they could miss a real-time update for a critical field issue in their construction app, wasting valuable time and resources. Thus, SSO helps keep everyone easily logged in so they’re working productively.

Besides the risk of forgetting a password, think about just how seconds can add up even when you know all your login info. For instance, if your job requires you to login to 4 apps a day, each password you have to remember can take you up to 5 seconds to enter. Although 20 seconds a day hardly seems significant, add that up for the thousands of employees at large construction companies and you’re talking about days and even weeks of lost time. Utilizing SSO integration, a single authentication point lets you regain the majority of this lost time.

Although the time-saving benefits of SSO may not seem like a lot on an individual basis, the productivity gains company-wide can have a serious impact on your project’s success.

Increases Software Adoption Rates

Although it may feel like a basic concept, to get employees to productively use software, they have to be actually able to easily use it. Think about your own personal technology usage for instance. Have you ever stopped using an online service because you weren’t able to easily login or have you ever abandoned your shopping cart because of a small issue in the check out process? Construction works can find similar frustration with technology but the difference is that your project could put a project on the line if everyone’s not on the same page.

If field workers find that they are constantly in a login battle with the latest construction app, they will be reluctant to use it to their full potential, no matter how great it really is. The simple truth is, when something is easier to use, the better chances it will be used. For many construction companies, it can be a struggle to simply adopt new technology because employees feel like it’s not accessible and they don’t understand it. A construction app that supports SSO, like PlanGrid, is way more likely to be used because even logging in is just easier.

With an enhanced user experience off the bat, SSO integration will increase technology adoption rates, as well as your bottom line.

SSO Integration in Construction Benefits More than Just IT

From large construction enterprise companies to small companies looking to scale in the near future, you need single sign-on integration to be secure, productive and cost-conscious in your technology usage. If your company isn’t utilizing SSO at the moment, it’s time to make the switch. On the other hand, if your company is or is starting to use SSO, ensure the software you use on a daily basis supports SSO. By streamlining identity security for all your company’s software and apps, you’ll be able to cut through the administrative hassle and gain more control of what’s really important to your business.

If you’re looking for construction software that supports SSO, PlanGrid now has single sign-on integration. Learn more, here.

Aditya Thakur

Aditya leads a cross-functional team building enterprise features and experiences to enable construction companies to get the most value out of PlanGrid as an organization. At Plangrid, he focuses on the most important data that can empower CEOs and other Execs at construction companies. Previously, Aditya spent time at Lookout, a cyber security company, as well as Jawbone, a health and fitness wearables maker.

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