How Construction Companies Can Prevent Cyberattacks
By Michael Needham, Supervisor, Accounting Services
With each wave of new technology, companies become more automated and efficient — and more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Construction companies are no exception, and in fact, companies in this sector make for particularly appealing targets for a handful of reasons:
- Construction companies store large amounts of sensitive data, especially those that work on government contracts. This data could include bidding strategies or highly sensitive blueprints.
- Many construction companies use software and/or devices that could contain vulnerabilities. This includes job costing systems, time and entry systems, and asset tracking software.
- Construction companies frequently work with numerous vendors and subcontractors. A data breach could affect any of these partnered companies.
For example, in 2019 Bird Construction was allegedly targeted by cybercriminals. The hackers stole 60 gigabytes of data, including social security numbers, banking details, names, email addresses, and health information.1 An attack like this could easily disrupt business operations, costing a company time and money — not to mention its trust and reputation within the industry.
Here are a few steps companies can take to prevent cyberattacks:
- Educate your employees. Companies should train staff to recognize potential cyber threats. Instructions for what to do in the event of a potential attack should be well-documented.
- Make sure employees use complex passwords and change them regularly. This helps deter cybercriminals from accessing company systems.
- Install proper malware and anti-virus software and keep it updated. This helps protect sensitive data, including social security numbers, bid information, and customers’ and vendors’ personal information. Make sure all systems are up to date and tested for possible breaches.
- Hire an outside IT firm to test the system and recommend improvements. This tends to be costly but very effective.
In the digital age, companies in almost every industry are susceptible to cyber threats. Mitigating that risk sometimes requires investing significant resources, but it can save millions of dollars in the long run.
- Goud, Naveen. “Maze Ransomware Hits Bird Construction and Bouygues Construction.” Cybersecurity Insiders, https://www.cybersecurity-insiders.com/maze-ransomware-hits-bird-constriction-and-bouygues-construction/.