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For many years, construction companies didn’t concern themselves much with the world of cybercrime and cybersecurity. However, as technology has continued to drive innovation in the construction industry, cybersecurity has become a more pressing concern for construction companies of all shapes and sizes. Particularly, developing cybersecurity plans that include strategies for responding to cyber incidents and protecting business continuity are now at the forefront of IT planning in the construction industry.
Defending against cybersecurity threats in the construction industry
The fact of the matter is, cybersecurity planning is no longer just about protecting company data and client financial information. While these tenants of cybersecurity are massively important, construction professionals have turned their attention to an even bigger cybersecurity issue; disaster recovery and business continuity planning. The real cyber risk that the construction industry is facing is one that directly impacts the very livelihood of companies.
As the cybersecurity landscape has become increasingly complex, cybersecurity threats now have the potential to drastically impact every aspect of a construction company including their reputation, their financial security, the continuity of operations, and even the safety and functionality of digitized construction equipment. Because of this, construction companies are taking cybersecurity more seriously and are looking for ways to mitigate and respond to this wide variety of risks.
Let’s face it: the construction industry, like all other industries, has become increasingly dependent on the internet and internet-connected solutions to streamline and optimize operations. Construction companies rely on web-enabled and IoT (Internet of Things) solutions to handle everything from client and team communication, project planning, resource allocation, design, building, and more.
These shared and integrated solutions have paved the way for construction companies to build smarter and get work done more efficiently. However, with these benefits come a significant increase to risk. Since ‘smart’ technologies aren’t going anywhere, construction professionals need to realign their cybersecurity efforts to ensure the benefits they’re taking advantage of aren’t producing increased vulnerabilities.
If you’re a construction professional reading this article, you may be wondering: what exactly is at risk thanks to the ongoing IT innovation in your industry? We’ve touched briefly on how cybersecurity threats now have the potential to impact the entire operational effort and livelihood of construction companies. However, in an effort to be specific, we’ve listed the top digital assets that are at risk below.
Here’s the critical business assets that are most vulnerable to cyber threats:
Of course, a weak cybersecurity effort also leaves your construction company vulnerable to non-digital consequences as well. A cyber-attack can leave your business reputation scarred and more importantly, if the attack is bad enough, it can leave operations (and profits) stalled for an indefinite amount of time. In fact, some constructions never recover. There’s no getting around it, and we think most construction professionals would agree – when your bottom line is on the line, it’s time to start getting strategic and proactive with cybersecurity planning.
Fear not, the gloom and doom stops here. While cybersecurity risks to the construction industry are very real, they don’t have to be impossible to combat. The key is being proactive and deliberate in your effort to get secure. There are countless strategies that construction companies can deploy in order to better secure their operational network and mitigate the worst-case scenario. Check out the strategies we recommend below.
Here are the top cybersecurity strategies for the construction industry:
The first step is understanding the problem. Your company’s leadership has to grasp the fact that cyber risk and business risk are the same thing. Cybersecurity shouldn’t be put on the back burner or approached haphazardly.
Once you realize that network vulnerabilities have the capacity to negatively impact your entire business, you’ll understand that cybersecurity planning is a huge part of business protection and sustainability.
The next step is all about getting hardline policies and procedures on paper. You should have policies for every aspect of digital operations including rules for setting strong passwords, facilitating multi-factor authentication, encrypting certain kinds of sensitive data, optimizing access controls, and more.
Be sure to make these policies and procedures common knowledge among all team members and keep a hardcopy centralized somewhere accessible for easy reference. Creating cybersecurity policies and procedures will help your entire team recognize the importance of upholding strong security standards.
The fact of the matter is, human error is the leading cause of devastating cyber incidents. As a result, training your team to be proactive and vigilant is a key component of developing a reliable cybersecurity strategy.
Take the time to educate your team on trending cyber risks and work alongside them to develop strategies for mitigating these risks. Make a consistent effort to remind your team members about the importance of staying proactive and following cybersecurity best practices.
Construction companies rely on countless third-party entities in order to get work done, including subcontractors, suppliers, and more. Communication and correspondence with these vendors must be considered when working to create a robust cybersecurity strategy.
Be sure to proactively discuss cybersecurity with each vendor you work with. Ask to review their own cybersecurity policies to make sure all your bases are covered. Creating a proactive and secure working relationship with vendors can serve as a strong foundation for mitigating third-party cyber vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity insurance is becoming a more popular component of overall business insurance policies. However, if you’re considering cybersecurity insurance, it’s critical to read the fine print carefully to ensure you’re getting the exact kind of coverage you’re looking for.
When looking for cybersecurity insurance, go in with an idea of what kind of coverage you’re looking for. Coverage parameters vary by provider so be sure to select an insurance policy that offers the most robust coverage possible.
Finally, while proactive strategies are the best way to mitigate risk, your organization should also be putting an effort into planning for the worst-case scenario. The reality is, even with the best cybersecurity policies in place, cyber disasters can still happen.
That’s why your construction company must develop a plan for responding to unexpected incidents and protecting business continuity in the aftermath. Develop detailed plans that will help your business respond swiftly to cyber disasters in a way that minimizes damage. Business continuity plans should also be put in place to ensure business interruption is minimal and your team can bounce back to work in no time at all.
Preparation is Priceless: Finding Support for Cybersecurity in the Construction Industry
Now that we’ve gone over the cyber risks your construction company is up against and discussed some strategies to mitigate them, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. We get it. The construction industry is fast-paced and you probably don’t have the time or the robust technical expertise to develop a robust and fool-proof cybersecurity plan on your own.
That’s why our biggest suggestion is this: seek out support from a professional IT service provider. Particularly, try and find a managed IT service provider that has experience developing cybersecurity solutions for the construction industry. There simply is nothing better than having professional IT experts in your corner as you try to mitigate an unpredictable and increasingly hostile cyber environment.
If your construction company is already on the hunt for cybersecurity service and support, we welcome you to start your search by reaching out to the team of IT security specialists from Network Outsource. Our team has extensive experience providing cybersecurity services for construction companies and we’re committed to helping firms like yours strategically lockdown company resources and respond to unpredictable threats.
Looking to build a stronger cybersecurity plan? Reach out to the team of IT experts from Network Outsource anytime at (516) 207-1889 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to help you secure your network for the long haul.