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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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