The construction industry has traditionally been one of the least digitized industries in the country. For this reason, many construction companies are now investing in the digitization of many aspects of the construction process. For this reason, there is an increasing need for construction firms to protect themselves from data breaches and cybersecurity threats. After all, no industry is immune to cybersecurity issues and the construction sector is no exception.
Consider the following four ways construction firms can protect their data from cybersecurity threats:
- Keep software up to date.
Old software and obsolete applications are the best entry points for cybercriminals to exploit and gain access to your organization’s data. Many exploits come from vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked in a program’s outdated coding. Whether you use software from established third-party vendors, or a custom application created by your IT team, make sure you patch vulnerabilities and regularly update them.
- Dispose of technological assets properly.
Another cybersecurity risk to consider is the disposal of your company’s physical tech assets. These are your computers, hard drives, mobile devices and even printers and copy machines that may hold valuable company data. Before you dispose of these assets, make sure that the data is fully wiped and cannot be recovered. Similarly, ensure that the data in the equipment you have leased is fully wiped before returning it to the equipment lessor.
- Use multi-factor authentication to access sensitive data.
Multi-factor authentication is a type of security system that verifies a user’s identity via multiple credentials. An example of multi-factor authentication is the security system used by most banks where a user is required to sign in with a password and a system-generated code sent to their mobile phone.
Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to your company’s sensitive data like construction invoices, contracts, and other financial and legal documents. Require employees to submit multiple credentials, such as a system-generated code, a pin code, or a keycard scan, before they can gain access to confidential information.
- Train employees in cybersecurity.
Another way cybercriminals can access your company’s sensitive data is through your employees. From phishing emails to the distribution of malware, cybercriminals can easily exploit employees who do not possess enough knowledge of information security. Incorporate cybersecurity training within your annual safety training. Teach your personnel how to handle confidential information, how cybercriminals can exploit emails through phishing links, and how and where to report a suspected cybersecurity incident.
As the construction industry becomes increasingly modernized, construction firms will face more data privacy and cybersecurity risks. It is incumbent upon construction business owners and project managers to enforce cybersecurity safety across the industry.
About the Author:
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.