How Construction Companies Can Secure Their Confidential Information
Nearly every business in every industry collects data in some way, construction companies included. For instance, you may gather information about user behavior on your website to improve your marketing or document private proposal details for each client.
The data you collect can help boost your business in various ways, making it incredibly important to protect. It is also likely that much of this data will be confidential, so securing it is vital.
Here’s how construction companies can secure their confidential information to protect their business, employees and clients.
Create Policies for Data Collection and Security
Keeping private data safe starts with intention. You need a clear plan for how you and your employees are to collect data and secure it. Take some time to create policies for data collection and security.
In regards to data collection, consider the following questions:
- What is your process for collecting data?
- What kind of data is and isn’t appropriate to collect? For example, blueprints, appraisals, and feasibility studies may be appropriate but clients’ personal credit card numbers or family information may not be.
- Where will the collected data be stored?
- Who will have access to it?
- What can this data be used for?
Also, discuss how you categorize data. For example, is it customer, business or employee data? Is it field data or internal data? Mark its level of confidentiality as well. After that, detail who would need access to what kind of data to perform their job duties.
You’ll want to take a similar approach to your data security policy. Talk about why data security is essential. Disclose what cybersecurity measures are in place. Give contact information for who to go to for questions and incidents. The more details you disclose in your data security policy, the better.
Everyone who works for your company will know what to do with private information when you have definitive data collection and security policies in place.
Determine How Data is Accessed
You detail who has access to what data in your data collection and security policies. Determining who gets access to what data helps keep things organized and confidential information secure. But you will also need to consider how this data is accessed, and having detailed procedures for access control can give you peace of mind.
For example, there’s a common scam called business email compromise (BEC), which has become so prevalent in the construction industry that the FBI issued a warning about its prevalence. In this scam, cybercriminals hack your email account to find information about payments. They will then hijack these email series and trick your clients into sending payments to them, as opposed to you.
Knowing a scam like this is out there, it’s essential to restrict access to your financial data and emails to certain employees. You could also consider password-protecting financial-related emails and requiring multi-factor authentication to access certain services.
Every kind of data you collect should have a specific access procedure to protect your business from cyberattacks.
Protect Your Business Against Cyberattacks
There were 1,802 documented reports of data compromises, including breaches, leakage and exposure in 2022. In addition, these data compromises affected 422 million people, whether financially, emotionally or reputation-wise.
If your business is online and you’re using a variety of tech tools, you’re absolutely at risk of a data breach or another cyberattack. It only takes one cybercriminal to get their hands on sensitive information to set your business back.
Put measures in place to protect your company against cyberattacks. For example, ransomware is one of the most common cyberattacks launched against businesses. It’s when an attacker gains unauthorized access to your systems, takes confidential information hostage, and only gives it back when a ransom is paid. Often, companies only get part of their data back, if any at all, even when they do pay the ransom.
To protect your company against ransomware, you can implement anti-malware software on all your devices. Use an intrusion detection system to identify ransomware activity and suspicious traffic. You’ll also want to train your staff on all things cybersecurity so that they can identify, prevent, and contain various cybersecurity attacks.
Construction companies are rooted in physical work. But there’s also a lot you do online to keep your operation going. So, protecting your business against cybercrimes is a must.
Dispose of Sensitive Physical Documents Appropriately
Although construction businesses are becoming increasingly digital, you still handle different physical documents daily, many of which are confidential. You should already be storing them in a secure space, like a locked filing cabinet that only you and management have access to.
When you no longer need the information, shredding classified documents is the most reliable, accessible, secure and cost-effective method of disposal. You can purchase an affordable shredder to keep in your office. Or, you can have a reputable shredding company come and pick up the confidential documents you want to be shredded every week to ensure they’re disposed of properly.
Create an Incident Response Plan
As wonderful as it would be, no company is 100% breach-proof. It’s more likely that your company will fall victim to a data breach incident than not. So, it’s best to be prepared for one just in case.
Create an incident response plan that’s detailed and easy for employees to follow. Consider crafting one that addresses what to do generally in case of a data breach and those specific to different cybersecurity attacks.
What should someone do the moment they know a data breach has happened? How can they stop the negative impact of the breach in the meantime? What should they do to help the business recover in the months following the breach?
An easy-to-follow incident response plan could be the difference between recovering from a data breach or succumbing to one.
A lot of confidential information is flowing through your construction company daily. Criminals have many opportunities to gain access to your data because of this. Thankfully, data security tools and techniques are in abundance.