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Cyber Security For the Construction Industry: Keep Your Data Safe

by | Mar 1, 2021 | Construction Industry, Cyber Security

Imagine someone breaking into your office and locking you out. Then they start filling their pockets with important files and destroying others. Talk about a disaster. With so many business systems now virtual, this scenario is exactly what can happen with internet hackers. Paper documents have been replaced with collaborative software.

Cyberattacks come in many forms and a construction company needs to be prepared to defend their information.They need to defend their virtual building. A cyber incident can lead to a loss of confidential data or a system shut down. 

Cybersecurity efforts are crucial in the construction industry. Your business is built on trusted, shared information among your teams. The risks of an attack on company servers are large enough that you need a cyber attack plan and security protocols for your systems. 

Cyber Security For the Construction Industry

Ransomware Attack

Ransomware attacks are one of the worst cybersecurity threats to your critical systems. The hackers will encrypt the data in the breached system, preventing companies from accessing data without the encryption key that the attacker has. 

The attacker will demand ransoms or a large amount of money in exchange for the key. This incident creates many obvious challenges for a construction company

Decreased Productivity

Cybersecurity threats leave your staff with a lot of downtime while the cyberattacks are dealt with. This is a blow to your employee’s productivity. Any business interruption costs a construction company time and money by extending out projects and breaking into their profit margins for those projects..  

Reputational Damage 

Cyber threats cause a whole range of issues in the construction industry. There are many victims who don’t fall into the high-profile data breaches that still see a huge negative impact on their company’s business development and reputation. There may even be lawsuit attempts for company’s holding sensitive blueprints and other intellectual property. 

Breach of Bid Data 

How your company runs its business will be completely out in the open for the attacker to do whatever they want with it. With your bid data no longer being confidential, you lose that competitive advantage

CyberSecurity For the Construction Industry: Keep Your Data Safe

So what do you do about these threats to your network security? First, you set up strict security policies to limit cybersecurity risks. The majority of data breaches are due to leaked login credentials, misconfigured cloud assets, and social media attacks

Cyber Security Training

The weakest link is people. This is why you need high-security standards for your employees. Employee training in cyber risks is the first step in developing your cyber policies. The consequences of your employees not taking caution on the internet is a loss of control over your business data. Cybersecurity defense starts with your own team and policies. So train employees to be cyber security experts.

Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication are good first steps for cybersecurity basics. Encryption for sensitive data helps lower the risks in construction systems. 

Make sure your team is aware of the type of phishing emails that may target them. You want them to have the ability to recognize suspicious emails and scams. Phishing attacks are fraudulent attempts to get sensitive data by convincing someone that they are a trustworthy person or company.  

Security software and web applications need to have strong defenses in front of them, blocking common application security threats and attackers. Web applications have access to some of the most sensitive data your company is in possession of. One security tool is not enough either. You need a layered strategy for security to not only proactively protect your business but also have a plan in place if you do have a cyber breach.

Vendor Management

Effective cybersecurity includes a legal review of the cyber practices of any company or person that is considered a business partner including third-party vendors. Security contracts are also crucial when working with subcontractors or suppliers. 

The more people you do business with, the more your company’s information is passed around. So the bigger your company grows, the more protection you need. Make sure you don’t take who you do business with lightly. Surround yourself with trusted people with good reputations. 

Insurance

Cyber insurance is widely available. It’s important to read policy information carefully. Some policies have specific requirements for technical cyber hygiene. This may include annual penetration testing

Many protections don’t cover the cost that comes from scams and a phishing email fooling employees. Wired money or sending information to a fraudulent account probably won’t be covered either. 

Property damage, personal injury, environmental damage could be covered by other insurance plans your company has so keep that in mind when evaluating coverage. 

Create an Incident Response Plan 

Now you know how important it is to have policies and protocols in place to avoid cyber-attacks. However, sometimes a cybercriminal still gets in. Nothing is completely fool-proof. It is good to have a response plan in place if your company suffers a breach of sensitive information. That way when it happens, you will be launched into action rather than panicked and confused. 

This plan determines who you will contact for support, including law enforcement, attorneys, employees, insurance companies, etc. The quicker you work the less damage to your company’s bank account and your company’s reputation. 

Keep Your Software Up to Date

Older software may not be supported and this is a perfect opportunity for cyber attackers to gain access to your network and data. Make sure your security software is always up to date with security patches. Keep all of your software up-to-date and move away from any software that is no longer supported.

It is also important to remember the machines that you own that hold data. When you are getting rid of old hard drives, computers, mobile devices, printers, etc. remember to clear their data and properly dispose of them. You don’t want to be throwing your data out into the trash or even worse giving machines away to others before the data has been wiped. 

Perform Regular Backups 

It is important to back up your information regularly and store it offsite or in the cloud using a secure cloud provider. Data breaches can be so expensive and have lasting effects on your construction company. About half of small businesses that find themselves victims to cyber-attacks, go under within a year of a security breach. This is why it is so important to act now and be proactive. Don’t wait for a disaster to come before you secure your business. 

Once a hacker is in the system, even if you act quickly, there will be damage. So it is best to create secure cyber defenses now, to stop them from ever getting in. 

Cyber threats bring exposure to the company’s digital assets. This includes business plans, financial plans, clients, projects, contractors, and supplier lists, and pricing. Personally identifiable information of employees and contractors is at risk as well as the facility’s security information. Make sure that you have given your cybersecurity adequate attention to keep your business safe and thriving.

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