10 Tips For You To Protect Your Construction Company from Cyber Threats
It is increasingly in the headlines, on the nightly news, and on media sites – cyber security breaches are on the uptick. While construction companies weren’t at the top of the list of biggest breaches in the last few years, the number of construction-related cyber breaches experienced a massive increase from 2019 till date.
At one time, the construction industry was fairly immune to security breaches. However, in recent years, there’s been an influx of new technologies and new connections on job sites that can make companies vulnerable to cyberattacks. This begs the question: What can construction companies do to protect themselves from a potential cyber threat?
Thankfully, this article provides you with numerous tips to protect your construction company from Cyber threats. So without further prepping, let’s get started!
But First, What Is Cyber Threat?
A cyber threat also referred to as a cybersecurity threat, is a malicious act intended to damage or steal data or disrupt the digital well-being and stability of an enterprise. Cyber threats include a wide range of attacks ranging from computer viruses to data breaches, denial of service, and many more.
According to a study, cyber threats look to turn potential vulnerabilities into real attacks on various systems and networks. Also, cyber threats may refer to a potential cyberattack that aims to disrupt, gain unauthorized access, or damage a computer network, an IT asset, or any other form of sensitive data.
Cyber security threats can come from trusted users within an organization and remote locations by unknown external parties.
Some of the common cyber threats include the following:
- Domain name system
- Spear phishing, and many more.
This said, let’s delve into the details of how a construction company can protect itself from cyber threats in the next session.
Why Do You Need OT Security?
What exactly is OT cyber security?
It is the complete load of software and hardware used to oversee, identify, and control changes to equipment, operations, and events. OT cyber security is frequently used to defend against attacks on industrial systems and networks. Critical infrastructures such as power plants, transportation networks, and smart city appliances are protected and controlled by this security framework.
You need this security for your construction company because it is possible to secure industrial networks without altering work performance or jeopardizing noncompliance. Solutions that enable clear insight into network control traffic and the establishment of appropriate security policies put in place an effective OT security strategy. This protects processes, people, and revenue while minimizing potential vulnerabilities and incidents.
Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Construction Company from Cyber Threats
While many types of cyber attacks are possible, these tips and tactics can help protect your company from Cyber threats.
1. Retain Cyber or Legal Experts
Prior to cyber threat identification, one of the wisest decisions a construction company can make is to have a cyber expert and an attorney on file. It is important that you meet these professionals who can guide you on whom to call and what to do as the next steps if and when a problem arises.
2. Use More Than Encryption
Although data encryption is a best practice within the cybersecurity industry, it is not enough to protect a company. Encryption should not be the only method of defense because, when used alone, it may give a false sense of security. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or an OT cyber security system as an additional security layer is a great option. With OT cyber security, your construction company is provided with the best practices designed to alleviate and prevent the exploitation of both cyber-physical and industrial control systems.
3. Practice Response to Attacks, Like a Fire Drill
Another best move is for a construction company to practice its response to a cyber threat the way other businesses and schoolchildren practice fire drills. Also, regularly performing training exercises can significantly reduce a company’s exposure to cyber threats.
Although larger companies may do this monthly or quarterly, a smaller organization may not do it with that frequency. However, the goal, in my mind, is for there to be some organizational muscle memory when this event occurs.
4. Secure the Construction Ecosystem
In an office sector, employees, equipment, and data are in one place. That’s rarely the case in a construction company. If everyone were in one building, it would be much easier, as four walls and a network configuration would protect them.
However, as mentioned in the fourth point, it is advisable to use a VPN and other best practices, as it controls who has access to what information.
5. Keep Employees Trained
Aside from performing training exercises, as mentioned in the third tip, it is also vital to renew that training periodically. Doing so improves and increases employee response to potential cybersecurity threats. Employees should be taught what malicious intent mail looks like, or anything remotely suspicious. They should be educated not to share passwords with anyone at any point.
6. Network Monitoring
As a preventative tool, construction companies can monitor their networks to protect all entry points. Monitoring is also useful in notifying your business when a cyber intruder has bypassed your network.
7. Secure Wire Transfers
When contractors pay subcontractors and vendors huge chunks of money for business purposes, construction companies must ensure those wire transfers are secure and safe from cyber security threats.
A construction company can do that by providing wire instructions and making a phone call verification for passwords or specific digits mandatory. Doing this tightens up the gaps and protects the construction industry.
8. Stay Updated on Tech
Although it is a bit challenging to stay updated on new technology and new potential technology exposure, it is essential to have someone on the team who is updated. Staying current on technology reduces your risk, and most of these things are about reducing that risk. So when the unexpected happens, your impact is small, and your response is fast and stable.
9. Delegate Cyber Security Decision making
In some industries, such as healthcare, there are usually one or two people appointed to access cybersecurity information and decisions because it is a regulated industry.
Appointing someone at your construction company to be in charge of cybersecurity information and decisions is wise. However, making sure that it is clear who owns what, who makes what decisions, and who has access to what information is crucial.
10. Protect Employees From Breaches
If a company were to experience a cybersecurity attack, it is essential to communicate with and protect employees from any potential risk.
Additionally, construction companies must be cognizant of the impact that a breach of their data would have on their employees or those who work for them.
For instance, it will be difficult for them to resolve those issues because they’re mostly on job sites during the day, and that is putting them in a tough spot.
Effective cybersecurity needs various complementary approaches. Cyber threat management frameworks, threat hunting protocols, and threat intelligence are all critical components of a strong cyber security portfolio.
As stated in the tips, a great starting point is to understand the various threats your organization is susceptible to and keep a cyber and legal expert at hand. Not only do these tips protect your IT systems and networks from attackers. It also builds the right teams, technology, and processes, to manage cyber threats as well as overall cybersecurity.
Hopefully, with these tips, you can be sure of protecting your construction company from various cyber threats.