Technology has changed how businesses operate across all industries. The experience is the same for the construction industry.
Traditional methods of processing contracts, sending and receiving important mail and storing information no longer work. Construction industries have to digitise operations to stay competitive.
Creating and signing contracts, hiring workers, sending and receiving messages and tracking supplies happen online. Many businesses and customers use digital platforms.
The benefits of digitization are many but so are the cybersecurity issues. There are risks you need to know and address when using digital tools.
What is cybersecurity and how can it affect the construction industry?
Cybersecurity are measures that a construction industry puts in place to ensure the business is safe online. These are a combination of tools, methods, frameworks, best practices and policies.
Construction industries like other businesses need to put together cybersecurity measures to protect company assets. Staff and other stakeholders work together to overcome digital challenges.
Big construction companies deal with complex projects and groundbreaking technology. For example the High-Speed 2 railway project in the United Kingdom.
No doubt such projects are sensitive and need high levels of cybersecurity. These projects contain sensitive research materials that can fall in the wrong hands. Here are cybersecurity challenges that construction industries are likely to face.
1. Loss of data and reputation
Construction companies handle and store their customer’s private information like contacts, addresses and personal data. Customers trust their information is safe in your company.
A security breach on your digital platforms means that sensitive data can end up in the wrong hands. Customer data in the wrong hands puts clients and the name of your construction industry at risk.
Customers lose confidence in your business and they view you as irresponsible. Prospective clients will shy away and go to the competitor.
2. Frequent downtime
Business disruptions such as downtime can cause losses. Poor IT infrastructure and support can lead to cybersecurity issues.
Some construction companies have ambitious projects across different countries like building big hotels. Such projects involve working across different continents and countries. They cannot afford frequent downtimes.
Projects delay when systems are not efficient. Delay in systems affects many areas in business including logistics.
Construction companies with no proper IT infrastructure in place are at risk of attackers hacking into their systems. Hackers can send viruses to your computer systems and databases and cause them to be slow.
3. Intellectual property theft
Construction companies handle intellectual property that needs protection. Unauthorized access to systems where such sensitive information is stored can have serious consequences.
Some cases can be more challenging especially when the intellectual property has no patent. Proving the rightful owner of such information can be difficult.
A construction company might have to spend a lot of time and money trying to provide proof. Intellectual property loss under the care of your construction company can lead to legal cases. Customers will suffer and businesses will lose time and money in the process.
4. Lack of awareness
Everyone working in your construction company should be aware of cybersecurity. They should know what is cybersecurity?
How they can lower the risks of cyber attacks and what makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Inadequate education on issues of cybersecurity can cause damage.
When staff in the construction industry understand the seriousness of cybersecurity challenges they will know how to overcome them.
How to prevent cybersecurity challenges in the construction industry
Operations in the construction industry like many businesses happens through the internet. It is critical to ensure that information and data can be exchanged safely using digital platforms.
Customers should feel confident making payments through the payment system on your company’s site. They should feel confident signing and sending contracts, architectural drawings and project blueprints online.
The database where sensitive documents are stored should be protected using passwords and secure from unauthorized access. Minimize cybersecurity challenges using the following strategies.
1. Cybersecurity services
Invest in security services. Proper IT infrastructure and support will help to ensure your systems are not vulnerable. Invest in the latest technology and update software to newer versions.
Cybersecurity services like OT Cybersecurity vendors can help you get an overview of your construction company systems. The services include asset visibility and security access control for your company.
Install antivirus and update them regularly. Company databases should be secure. Advise staff to create strong passwords.
Hacking passwords is not easy if they are strong. Database passwords should never be shared. These are some of the measures you can take to be safe online.
Investing in the best cybersecurity options means taking care of the reputation of your construction industry. The aim is to prevent data loss and gain customer trust.
Construction companies handle sensitive customer information. Customers should have peace of mind knowing that their information is safe in your company.
2. Regular IT system maintenance
Avoid downtime through regular maintenance of the digital devices in your construction company. Check computers and install firewalls to prevent unauthorised access to machines.
Regular checkups help to detect any malicious activity that can be dangerous to your company. Attackers can access your systems if there are no regular software updates.
Professionals can identify areas that need protection. Causes of downtime or potential causes are addressed early.
3. Consider staff training
Build the capacity of your staff. Employees handle sensitive customer information. Training them on how to keep information safe will help in addressing security issues.
Invite professionals to train them on how to identify security threats and the actions they can take. A proactive attitude will help minimize cybersecurity challenges and reduce losses.
Adopt a collaborative approach to keep data and information safe. Create awareness among employees using the following ways:
- Conduct regular workshops
- Discuss stories and examples of cybersecurity issues and how to prevent them
- Organize a drill
Train employees on how to handle their passwords. Proper use of passwords can help keep sensitive information safe. Staff need to understand how to use emails and how to avoid suspicious emails with links.
Links that look suspicious could be viruses that can attack a company’s system. Attackers use such links to access sensitive company information. Staff should avoid clicking suspicious links and attachments.
Cybersecurity challenges in the construction industry are many but with the right approach, you can overcome them. Technology continues to change and the construction industry is changing as well.
Adopt strategies that will keep businesses and customers safe and happy. Address challenges in cybersecurity using the right tools, methods and policies.
Involve everyone in the company in keeping operations secure. Digital transformation has many benefits and it has come with new challenges. The construction industry can enjoy the benefits and overcome the challenges with the right strategies.