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Technology, Business - 4 min read

5 Data Security Strategies for Construction Companies

David Cartwright

Senior Marketing Manager - Software

Sep 18, 2017 6:20:00 AM

Today’s construction industry is heavily dependent on technology, making it an attractive target for cybercrime. One the main reasons why this industry has become an easy target is that digital technology has not only been embraced in design and engineering, but also in day-to-day transactions. 

Vital information like proprietary building plans, employee data, bank transactions and privileged correspondence are now transmitted over networks and mobile devices. Construction industry applications such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) that allow the sharing of building plans and other sensitive information can be prime targets for cybercrime. 

The 2017 Ponemon Institute and IBM study reveals that the average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million, which emphasises the need for data security in the construction sector. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, because the effective protection of your information assets can be achieved with a few simple strategies.

The following are five data security strategies for construction companies.


1. Develop a Data Security Plan

Developing a data security plan is important for construction companies. It’s critical that you have a plan in case a data breach occurs, and also one that stipulates which employees have access to what data.

Your data security plan should be amended with change in company policies, new technologies incorporated into your business and other changes to your management systems. This plan will help employees adhere to data rules to ensure that data is protected on a daily basis.


2. Cloud Storage With Limited Access

Over the years, the cloud has achieved popularity as the ideal data storage mode. It is the better option when it comes to storage of sensitive data, as opposed to traditional physical servers. 

The cloud ensures data security by use of strong authentication protocols. It may be more secure however it’s still fallible. It is therefore recommended that additional measures are implemented such as limited access to stored data.


3. Protect Your Data and Networks

Devices containing sensitive data may fall into the wrong hands and passwords can be cracked. Consider implementing the following protections;

  • Encrypting data stored in your devices will ensure that information remains secure even if someone were to gain access to your network and devices. Information transmitted over the internet is also vulnerable; this may include credit card information, usernames and passwords. You should therefore ensure that your online transactions are encrypted.
  • IP addresses are easily hacked. Use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can prevent entry into your network and also allows you to switch IP’s and servers at will.
  • Data masking can be used to disguise sensitive data by replacing real data with fictitious data.
  • A two factor authentication with two modes of verifying identity, for example use of a user ID and uniquely generated code will keep unauthorised persons from your systems.


4. Implement Good Data Security Practices

Use of security tools and technical security measures is critical for construction companies. However, you are more likely to succumb to data breaches and other cyber threats due to human error, which is why it’s important that you;

  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
  • Do not keep superfluous digital copies of sensitive files.
  • Store sensitive data separately
  • Regularly train employees on data security practices.
  • Stay adept with the latest cyber security strategies.
  • Manage your mobile devices and invest in good security software.

It’s also critical that you have regular software updates and avoid accessing risky material.

Many construction companies in Australia are choosing to implement an information security management system that is compliant with the ISO 27001 standard. These systems outline the best practices for protecting your information from a multitude of threats, including those borne from human error.


5. Test Regularly

Testing is the only way to determine if your data security measures are foolproof. Consider conducting a simulation of a potential attack to assess the protocols you have implemented, and to determine if everyone knows their required actions. It’s important that employees are aware of potential risks to company information, which is why education is an effective information security initiative in itself. 

For more technology advice for builders, visit our popular Building a Better Trade Business eCourse today.

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