In the latest installment of our multi-part series on the growth of construction companies, we take a closer look at the IT security and reliability considerations that abound in the modern landscape. With companies becoming increasingly connected, every industry is now a potential target of a cyberattack.
Essentially, any company that maintains and exchanges private data is likely to attract unwanted attention from malicious hackers. And construction companies deal with a broad range of confidential data, including bid records, project timelines, employee payrolls, and supply chain details.
Additionally, when it comes to the construction or AEC industry, malicious hackers may take advantage of its diverse nature. Sophisticated cybercriminals understand that construction companies involve diverse professionals committed to physical deliverables, where IT security might take a backseat.
However, compromised cybersecurity leads to heavy consequences such as reputational damage and intellectual or client data breaches. The recent ransomware attack on Canadian construction company Bird Industry shows that cybercriminals have already begun targeting the AEC sector. The good news is that you can avoid the potentially devastating effects of a data breach by taking several precautions to safeguard your online programs and networks. When it comes down to cyber breaches, prevention is always better than cure.
Determine Your Data
Homebuilders, owners, and contractors deal with many types of data for every project. The first step of a robust IT security initiative involves scanning through the company database and identifying those requiring protection. Some of the most confidential construction company data include employees’ PII (personally identifiable information) and business banking records.
A reliable IT expert will help your construction company sort each system asset by category (e.g., data center, applications, etc.) and assess the data stored or transferred within them. By doing so, your company can accurately create risk profiles for each asset, which expedites risk assessment.
Perform Risk Assessments
Once you have identified the sensitive data in your systems, it’s time to assess their security levels. By performing a comprehensive data sweep, you can detect vulnerabilities within your network and the extent of risks (e.g., does it compromise external parties, such as subcontractors, suppliers, and clients?).
A thorough assessment should monitor system anomalies and determine if communication channels remain encrypted. Upon an evaluation, you will gain a clearer understanding of the levels of risk within your IT network, and required countermeasures (e.g., setting up firewalls).
Modern cybercriminals prioritize user access as an attack vector, making advanced password protection a necessary measure in your company. Additionally, decision-makers should regularly revise their cybersecurity policies, including frequent system patch updates and improved response times.
Prioritize IT Awareness Training
While data is intangible, it is an asset to your construction company, similar to the equipment and personnel required to run your projects. You can protect your valuable data assets by ensuring that employees remain well-informed of the latest cybersecurity practices, including password protection and IT compliances.
By keeping staff updated on the latest IT trends, you can reduce the risks of opportunistic attacks such as phishing and social engineering. Additionally, you’ll increase the base defense of company networks with conscientious password management. Personnel training should be a priority in cybersecurity, as human error remains a significant cause of system breaches.
Implement Advanced Security Features
Standard firewalls and passwords are inadequate against sophisticated cyberattacks. Therefore, decision-makers should ensure that they apply advanced cybersecurity measures to their systems. Additional IT protection may include encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), or data loss prevention systems.
While there are no foolproof cybersecurity systems, advanced safety features can significantly negate the risks of a data breach and prevent costly downtime. With the proper mitigating controls set in place, you can avoid the threats and vulnerabilities that contribute to a compromised system.
Putting It All Together
As cloud migration becomes increasingly common among industries, construction companies need to ensure that they have the appropriate cybersecurity systems to keep up with the change.
The complex web of user endpoints makes it increasingly difficult for decision-makers to keep reliable surveillance of all communications, account for all system anomalies, and intercept them with haste. Yet, a single data breach can result in a range of long-term implications that could cripple a construction business.
The best way forward is for decision-makers to have comprehensive cybersecurity support from trusted IT professionals to focus on safeguarding the technical aspects of the construction business.
Hire an IT Specialist
Ultimately, cybersecurity processes may prove daunting and overwhelming for untrained teams and individuals. Also, architects, owners, and decision-makers may lack the IT budget to deploy the necessary cybersecurity solutions against advanced cyberattacks.
If your in-house IT team lacks the required tools or expertise, it might be time to call in an IT Managed Services Provider at the earliest opportunity. After all, your precious company data should remain uncompromised at all times.
By hiring an MSP such as Dymin, you can rest assured knowing that your IT systems are well-guarded from unauthorized parties. Dymin’s specialists believe that there is no “silver bullet” answer to cybersecurity. Instead, your construction company should apply an ongoing layered security strategy that suits specific needs.
Start a conversation with one of Dymin’s dedicated consultants today to discover the most suitable cybersecurity arrangement for your construction company. With a trusted IT MSP, you’ll maintain top safety on-site and online.