A guide for construction firms: preventing downtime and the loss of revenue

Generating over £100 billion per year, the construction industry is critical to the UK’s economy. And thanks to innovative new technologies, opportunities to digitally transform and streamline operations are benefitting the sector.

But with opportunity comes risk. As construction firms adopt these new technologies and devices, they’re increasing their cyber-attack surface. And if an attack is successful, the downtime could spell financial disaster for your organisation. Ransomware, for example, impacted 38% of construction organisations in 2018 (Datto).

Downtime as the result of a cyber-attack or IT failure has the potential to wreak havoc on your productivity and even render your machines and equipment inoperable. And you probably don’t need us to tell you that this equates to a lot of lost revenue.

Hackers are targeting all sectors with ransomware, which locks down your data and renders it inaccessible. With no access to your data, you may be unable to contact or pay your contractors, retrieve information about the progress of your projects or carry out any of your day-to-day obligations.

How can you take advantage of new technologies whilst keeping your business data safe and your operations online?

Deploy specific anti-malware protection

Construction organisations are a target for ransomware because any kind of downtime spells significant financial loss; hackers use this to their advantage to extort ransom payments out of you. It’s never advisable to pay the cybercriminals, as it’s rare you’ll get your data back. Additionally, hackers will identify your business as a guaranteed pay-out and will continue to target you.

Because of the exponential rise in ransomware attacks, specific solutions now exist to protect your business against this ever-growing threat. Intelligent solutions like Intercept X will prevent ransomware at the point of infiltration. Or, if your business has already fallen victim to this file-encrypting malware, it’ll reverse the damage. You’ll also get access to features like root cause analysis, which identifies how the ransomware got into your business so you can bolster your systems going forward.

Implement a robust disaster recovery solution

One downed system or server can spell disaster for your operations, and hackers know this. For years, organisations have been backing up their files and data either on physical devices or into the cloud. But now it’s not enough to simply back up data.

Unique disaster recovery solutions like Datto go a step further by backing up your entire infrastructure, whether that’s physical, virtual or in the cloud. Say, for example, a key server in your business goes down – that could be due to a malicious attack, an electrical failure or a flood. You can use your business continuity solution to spin up your server virtually and be back up-and-running in no time. A London based managed IT services provider can help you implement the most suitable solution.

Educate your employees

Your staff is your biggest attack surface. Email is by far the most popular vector to launch a cyber-attack, with an estimated 91% of cyber-attacks starting with an email designed to harvest login credentials (PhishMe research).

Today’s phishing emails are a far cry from the scam emails of old, which promise you a portion of someone’s vast fortune simply by replying to the email. Hackers are impersonating the business software you use (including purporting to be Microsoft to get your email credentials), your suppliers and even your colleagues, and they’re more convincing than ever.

Having a formal education process in place helps you to reduce the risk posed by your workforce; additionally, you can use tools which simulate phishing attacks to benchmark the existing knowledge amongst your employees and track progress against your training.

Avoiding downtime is an ongoing process

Few businesses will feel the financial impact of downtime as much as construction firms. With strict project deadlines to adhere to, an inoperable business inevitably means project delays, which results in high costs and a loss of trust.

By prioritising IT security, you can ensure your business remains operational and effective and, in turn, maximise your profitability.

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