The construction industry has gone through many changes over the past few years. From enhanced technology that makes it easier for project managers and designers to collaborate with their teams, to smart devices that help construction workers complete tasks more efficiently – there is no denying that digitisation has changed many aspects of construction from start to finish.
But while this technological revolution has led to many positives within the industry, there are also some potential downsides – including increased vulnerabilities and cyber threats that can impact your business if not handled properly.
The impact of digitisation on the construction industry
The construction industry has been a slower adopter of digitisation over time. Historically, businesses have relied on paper documents and fax machines for communication between project managers, contractors and customers. However, digitisation is becoming increasingly necessary for companies to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised market landscape.
The benefits of digitisation can include:
- Increased efficiency.
- Improved accuracy and traceability.
- Cost savings through reduced material usage, labour time, and transport costs.
Due to these advantages, there is a growing need for construction companies to adopt new technologies that allow them to store data digitally rather than on paper. This means collecting information about assets digitally so that they can be monitored over time.
Vulnerability of construction businesses to cyber threats
The construction industry is highly vulnerable to cyber threats, especially due to the nature of its work. Why so?
Construction projects are often conducted across multiple sites and sometimes even in remote locations where there’s minimal connectivity. This makes it easy for hackers to infiltrate construction data security systems through the internet, or physical access via external contractors.
New entrants to digitization can be relatively more vulnerable than established businesses because they typically have fewer security procedures in place, thus making them an easier target for hackers looking to gain access to sensitive data.
Construction businesses are also at an increased risk of cyber attack as it starts relying heavily on technology for their operations. From project management to payment and claim processes, many systems are being adopted by construction businesses today. If any of these systems get hacked, then the entire process could come to a grinding halt and potentially cost companies significant losses.
Cloud software and construction data security
A cloud solution refers to software that is hosted remotely, typically on a third-party server. Cloud data solutions are popular because they allow you to access your data from anywhere and don’t require massive investments in infrastructure or maintenance.
Cloud solutions make it easy to share files and collaborate with others. You can easily share documents between co-workers or clients without having to send them via email or another file-sharing platform. This makes it easier for everyone involved in a project to access the information they need when they need it. For example, construction management software platforms like PlanRadar allow you to access all building-related information in one place including models and designs, enabling your team to identify inefficiencies and spot opportunities for growth. To learn more about how PlanRadar helps you to integrate and manage your real estate and construction projects, you can try the app for free or contact us here.
Cloud solutions offer security features that can help keep sensitive information safe from cybercriminals. They are able to encrypt data before sending it over public networks (like Wi-Fi). They also provide role-based access to data, so that you can control who in your organisation accesses what data.
Best practices to ensure building data safety in construction projects
As well as using cloud-based software solutions, it is important for your construction data management to have certain policies and processes in place to prevent, avoid, and handle data breaches:
- Developing comprehensive data security policies.
- Planning for worst-case scenarios and developing back-up plans.
- Using antivirus protection and firewalls.
- Investing in construction software with built-in data security features.
1. Develop a construction data security policy
It’s important to have a plan in place before beginning your construction project. A data security policy will help you identify how you will manage and protect this sensitive information.
Data security policies are important for any construction, real estate or infrastructure company, particularly those that handle sensitive data. If you’re building out a data security policy for your construction business, consider the following:
- Review your policies regularly. It’s critical to review and update your policies regularly to keep up with changes in regulations or technology. You can use this time to look at new threats, see if there are ways of updating old practices, or analyse whether certain procedures aren’t working anymore.
- Make it accessible to all employees. When creating a new policy or revising an old one, make sure that it is accessible to all employees so they know what they should be doing when handling sensitive information online or offline. The last thing you want is for someone on your team (or even yourself) not to know how best to protect their data because it was never communicated properly!
- Enforce by management and back up by training and education. The best security systems fail without proper implementation by management.
2. Plan for the back-up scenario
Potential threats to your construction projects could come from anywhere, so it’s important to consider all possible sources of risk to prevent breaches and minimise the impact on your company if they do occur. No matter how well you prepare, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong. It’s important to have a plan for when disaster strikes.
If the worst-case scenario happens and you get hacked or experience a data security breach, you should have backups of all your project files. You should also have copies stored outside of the office on an external drive or cloud storage system so that if one copy gets lost, you still have access to another copy somewhere else.
Know exactly where all your devices are at all times. One way to do this is by using software like Find My iPhone—this allows users who lose their phones to track them remotely (and even wipe them clean if necessary). Other important accessories include USB flash drives and hard drives; make sure these are physically secured so they can’t be easily stolen or misplaced by staff members who aren’t aware of their importance!
3. Use construction management software with security features
Construction management software is a critical part of your project, but it also has to be secure. When you’re using online construction management software, there are several ways that security can be compromised.
No matter what type of construction management software you use or how much data you’re storing on the cloud, there are some steps you can take to protect the security of your project information:
- Choose a company with an established reputation in the construction industry.
- Look for excellent customer service reviews from users who have experience with this type of product.
- Ensure that they offer updates as new threats emerge (and make sure those updates are automatic).
- Check out any technical support options offered by the developer (such as live chat or email).
4. Antivirus protection and firewalls are essential
These tools are essential components of any data protection strategy because they can help you detect malware or hacking attempts before they happen, preventing them from causing damage or exposing personal information that can be used against you later on (like insurance fraud).
Antivirus protection is a must-have, and you should take the time to keep your antivirus software up to date. You can also use a firewall to help protect your computer from unwanted access.
Data security is a priority issue for businesses in any industry, and construction is no exception. By following some simple best practices and using secure, cloud-based data solutions, you can keep your data safe from future cyber threats. Once you’ve taken these steps, you should regularly test your defences so you know they’re working properly—and possibly make changes where necessary. Looking to get started with a construction management software that enables you to enforce strong data protection policies for your organisation? Start your 30-day free PlanRadar trial here.