For years, many have thought that cyber risk is not the same in the construction industry as other sectors. However, a recent interview with Douglas Clare, the Vice President of Cyber Security Solutions at FICO, acknowledges that the construction industry does experience similar threats and risks as other industries. While construction companies may not be the target of some hackers due to the lack of personal identifiable information or personal health information associated with their business compared to other industries (Healthcare, Education, Retail, etc.), they are vulnerable to a variety of potential cyber threats, including the following:
- Phishing emails: a type of malicious email sent to deceive employees into knowingly or unknowingly providing network access or information.
- Malware: software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer’s system. This can be released via phishing attacks.
- Internet of Things: connecting commonly used construction devices via the internet, so they can send and receive information for a variety of business purposes. This connectivity creates another doorway into the organization, increasing the network’s vulnerability.
Compared to other industries, construction may have less vulnerabilities; but that does not necessarily mean there is less risk associated in construction firms’ operations. Despite being categorized as less data rich organizations, construction firms should not be complacent in terms of cybersecurity. It is recommended that they “take a closer look at cybersecurity best practices in these other industries and figure out which ones can be adopted to fit their needs.”
While the construction industry may have escaped the cyber breach headlines in recent years and may not always be a hacker’s primary target, there is definitely an organizational risk apparent within the industry. These construction firms must begin to understand their unique risk and develop a comprehensive risk management plan to address it. Please speak to a trusted advisor in creating this risk management plan for your construction company.