The security of your network and data is a top priority for companies in every industry sector. But when it comes to construction firms, they have some unique challenges due to the mobility of their work and the fact that they typically have a higher employee turnover rate than many other industries. Another challenge is that a construction firm may have their technology infrastructure spread out over several sites. Their main assets being at their office, in addition to other IT assets deployed throughout project locations, making their cybersecurity needs more demanding. The construction industry has seen an increase in cybercrime recently. According to threat protection software developer Symantec, 1 out of every 39 individuals in the construction industry gets targeted by a phishing campaign. Some of the biggest cyberthreats to construction firms include:
- Email wire fraud (Emailing a client posing as your company with alternate wire information)
- Breaches related to public Wi-Fi
- Data loss due to lost or stolen laptops and mobile devices
- Ransomware attacks due to unsecure endpoints
- Breaches of client and employee databases
The average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million. The best way to protect your company from a costly data breach is by using cybersecurity best practices with an emphasis on the areas that make construction companies particularly vulnerable.
IT Security Tips for Construction Firms
To ensure your IT infrastructure is properly safeguarded from data breaches, data loss, virus infections, and other threats, you need to deploy multiple layers of protection to reduce risk. Here are the most important safeguards to implement in a construction firm.
Mobile Device Management
By the nature of construction and the need to have personnel deployed to various sites, a construction firm’s workforce is mobile. This means that there are several endpoints that can access company data or that are holding important conversations with clients via text message that you need to secure and manage. A mobile device and endpoint management platform such as Microsoft Intune, offers you the ability to both keep tabs on mobile device access to your data and also protect certain MS applications at the app level from unauthorized access. Mobile device managers allow you to secure mobile access to your data by doing things like:
- Remotely lock or wipe a device
- Revoke business app access remotely if someone abruptly quits
- Track access to your data by device
- Keep “business” and “personal” separate on employee-owned mobile phones
- Automatically deploy software updates and security patches
Firewall with Advanced Threat Protection
A firewall safeguards your network by monitoring traffic coming in or going out. It looks for suspicious activity and blocks it before it can impact your system. With multiple endpoint devices connecting to the network at your office from multiple locations, you want to make sure you have advanced threat protection with your firewall that will do things like:
- Give you the ability to use whitelisting to stop unknown programs from executing
- Block malicious websites that users might visit accidentally
- Monitor for suspicious behavior rather than only looking for known threats
- Use artificial intelligence to catch zero-day malware
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Mobile phones can connect to many different public hotspots a day in the course of a contractor going between the office and jobsites. Connecting to an unsecure Wi-Fi can leave your data at risk by allowing a hacker to steal a login, payment card details, or other sensitive data. A business VPN can be used from any location and ensure a secure, encrypted tunnel for your data exchanges even if employees are connected to a public Wi-Fi. VPNs can also add an additional layer of user security by masking the device IP address and user location.
Backup & Recovery Solution
Construction companies have multiple moving parts when planning and executing projects. Project information can also be spread out over many employee devices (computers, laptops, mobile), making data loss a huge risk. Ransomware attacks are also a major concern due to the typical turnover that construction firms see and the difficulty that poses with keeping employees properly trained in cybersecurity awareness. Having a backup and recovery solution in place is a vital safeguard to ensure that no matter what may happen to cause a data loss incident, you have a full and up-to-date copy of all your files stored safely and that is easily recoverable to keep you operating.
Email Security Application
One way to avoid employees getting tricked by a phishing email and infecting your network with malware is to keep spam and phishing out of their inboxes in the first place. Construction firms are particularly susceptible to phishing due to the large sums of money typically being transferred during different phases of a project. An email security application can keep your employees’ inboxes from getting filled with spam and dangerous phishing by blocking them at the source. This has the dual benefit of increased cybersecurity and improved productivity since they don’t have to sort through all that spam.
How Strong is Your Company’s Cybersecurity Plan?
A data breach can have a devastating impact on your construction firm. Don’t risk it! Onsite Techs of Rhode Island provides dedicated cybersecurity expertise and cloud-based tools to keep your network and data secure. Contact us today to set up an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.