The 3 Greatest Cybersecurity Risks for Contractors and Construction

The 3 Greatest Cybersecurity Risks for Contractors and ConstructionWhen it comes to prioritizing cybersecurity, the construction industry is not exactly known for being on the forefront. In fact, the construction industry is quite behind in terms of data security efforts, despite its implementation of newer technology and use of online networks to transfer client and project data. A majority of construction firms have little to no IT expertise, and many do not have the resources for their own IT department, leaving confidential client and project information especially vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Many smaller firm or business owners mistakenly believe that cyber attacks are only geared towards large corporations and financial institutions, but records show that nearly half of all cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses. The construction industry may not seem like a great target for cyber criminals compared to healthcare providers or financial institutions, but just like businesses in these industries, the construction sector deals with a host of information that can be valuable to cyber criminals. Proprietary information such as bid data, blueprints, material pricing, profit/loss data, employee information and payment information require the same level of protection at healthcare patient data or bank customer data.

In order to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks, contractors and construction companies need to be aware of the multitude of cybersecurity risks that affect them. Below are some of the most significant cybersecurity exposures that should be discussed with your contractor and construction clients.

#1: Breach of Client’s Confidential Information

Confidential information can be nearly anything, not just credit card numbers and website passwords. Construction firms and contractors often deal with private information such as building specifications and architectural drawings, which can also be valuable to criminals and put a company at risk of being targeted for phishing, malware, ransomware or other types of common cyber attacks.

#2: Business Interruption

Construction delays can be especially costly, so contractors and firms spend a lot of time managing known delay-causing risks such as weather, the shipping of materials and staffing. Cyber attacks can also result in business interruption, but construction companies often overlook this area when planning a project.

#3: Mobile Technology

Construction projects offer a unique cyber security challenge in that they are often very decentralized. While the project itself is typically being completed in a specific location, there are usually a number of people involved remotely, accessing and exchanging information through many different mobile devices and laptops. This creates multiple vulnerable access points that can be easily taken advantage of by cyber criminals. Additionally, some of these devices are stored on job sites, leaving them vulnerable to physical theft and making it even more easy for thieves to access confidential information.

When construction companies and contractors recognize the cyber risks and exposures that they face, they can take steps to mitigate them through implementing cyber insurance plans, securing mobile devices and training all employees on cyber security risks, measures and responsibilities.

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