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As more and more industries continue to automate their systems and operations, the risk of cybersecurity attacks is increasing by the day. Although there are fewer incidences of cybersecurity attacks in the construction industry compared to other sectors, the risk of cybersecurity attacks happening in a construction company is still very high.

Cybersecurity attacks can be unleashed in many forms and construction companies should have proper defense mechanisms in place to prevent or minimize any form of attacks. If there are no defense mechanisms in place, the hackers will easily gain access to confidential data regarding the company projects or employees’ personal information and start asking for money to release the data.

Common cybersecurity attacks and how they can affect the construction industry

Cybersecurity attacks especially in the construction industry are fronted in different forms as the technology continues to advance. Some of the common threats that a cybersecurity attack can cause in the construction industry include;

  1. Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware cybersecurity attack is the most common and the worst form of cybersecurity threat that can cripple all your important company systems. The hacker gets access to your company systems and they encrypt all the important data in the breached system making it difficult for the company to access it unless they pay for the encryption key that is in the hands of the hackers.

For ransomware attacks, the hackers will often demand a large amount of money mostly in form of bitcoin so that they can offer the breached data system encryption key. When a construction company is faced with such a big cybersecurity threat, it can end up losing a lot of money to hackers and even lose crucial construction project data if they are unable to raise the required ransom.

  1. Downtime and reduced productivity

Taking cognizant of the fact that the construction industry is one of the industries that heavily rely on proper time management in order to deliver projects as per the set timelines. Any cybersecurity attack in a construction company systems leads to an automatic downtime. When the company systems are no longer working, workers will lose the morale of working and this will result in low productivity.

Before a construction company manages to solve the situation at hand, it might take some time and this may lead to missing the completion deadline for some projects. Any form of business disruption as a result of a cybersecurity attack ends up costing the construction company both time and financial resources. Any wasted time will mean that the project completion time will have to be extended thus, eating to the company’s profit margins.

  1. Negative reputation

If your construction company is faced with a cybersecurity attack and hackers manage to access sensitive data, the reputation and trust of the company are highly affected. Companies with negative reputation damage might find themselves stuck in never-ending lawsuits for intellectual property rights.

Such actions may have a negative impact on the company’s business development plan. It will also have an impact on the type of clients who can work with the affected construction company in their future projects.

  1. Sensitive data breach

If the cybersecurity attackers get hold of your sensitive bid data, they can release it to the public domain making your company less competitive. In any business, the confidentiality of business data is very important. Any successful data breach by cybersecurity hackers can ruin your business potential if they decide to damage your company data when their blackmailing efforts fail.

Therefore, it’s highly advisable for contractors and other professionals in the construction industry to prepare themselves adequately and have a clear strategy in place that outlines how they can respond to the ever-eminent cybersecurity attacks. If you are in the construction industry and your business has no practical procedures on how to handle cyber-attack, here are some of the measures that you can implement to keep your construction business and data safe.

  • Proper employee training

In most cases, companies in the construction industry often undermine the eminent threat of cybersecurity attacks because they assume that they are too small to be targeted. However, companies that fall under this category are the easiest targets of cyber hacking. Therefore, to prevent such incidences from happening to your construction company, it’s very important to train your employees by equipping them with the necessary information on how to prevent cybersecurity threats by hackers.

Employees working in construction industries should undergo mandatory training on cybersecurity so that they can understand what it is and how to prevent it. The training process can begin by letting the workers familiarize themselves with important cybersecurity terms such as antivirus, hackers, malware, email phishing, and having a backup for your data.

When workers understand what hacking is all about, they will be more cautious when using the internet and other electronic devices. A simple procedure such as carrying out an antivirus scan on your computers can go a long way in identifying potential threats and block them before they can cause any harm to companies or personal data. Updating the antivirus database regularly can go a long way in foiling hackers’ ill attempts.

Also, having adequate knowledge of identifying phishing emails can prevent construction workers from opening suspicious links that are sent by impersonator hackers that can compromise data and systems security.

  • Use of well-secured industrial computers and portable tablets

Ruggedized industrial computers and tablets have become an integral part of construction industry automation. Modern rugged tablets are built with high-security features that help safeguard sensitive data against unauthorized access. Security devices with CAC card readers, scanners, password protected lock screens go a long way in preventing data theft by unauthorized persons.

  • Effective cybersecurity response plan

To be adequately prepared, any construction company must have an incident response plan in place. By doing so, you are able to figure out the kind of response that you will bring forward to handle the situation in case a real cybersecurity attack happens.

When there is a proper cyberattack incident response plan, construction companies can minimize damage or prevent any attack and access to classified data and other crucial materials. You will also have one command center as you have already outlined the department or teams that will take up the response process thus avoiding confusion.

Whether you have a small construction company or a big one, creating an incident response plan will simplify the process of handling cybersecurity threats by initiating a real-time well-coordinated response.

With such effective security features, you can even be less worried if mobile tablets and computers get stolen on the construction sites or get into the wrong hands. When your construction company data is well protected, it will become easier to improve workers’ confidence as well as the company’s reputation. Cyberattacks in the construction industry can be minimized if companies adopt the above-suggested approaches to not only safeguard their data but also have a practical response strategy in place in case a cybersecurity threat happens.