Contracting companies regularly send and receive large sums of money in and out of their accounts. Increased collaboration between stakeholders on a construction job means a lot of shared data. Just like other industries that transfer a lot of money and information back and forth, construction is vulnerable to cyber security threats.
Construction is vulnerable to a few main types of cyber attacks:
- Business interruption caused by an attack on equipment or software
- Fraudulent payments
- Breach of intellectual property or bid data
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware will cost its victims around $265 billion annually by 2031. Construction may be particularly at risk for these threats because its more recent digital revolution means it hasn't had the time or exposure to train and prepare for cyber attacks properly. Innovations in AI and the Internet of Things have provided construction with the tools to become more effective and efficient, but they also require additional cybersecurity considerations.
Meanwhile, many construction companies continue to use out-of-date software that can be vulnerable to attack. Finally, construction companies conduct transactions with many individual entities and store lots of proprietary data on each project. Highly collaborative construction tools like Building Information Modeling (BIM) offer hackers more opportunities to access intellectual property. Each of these characteristics leaves construction companies at a high level of threat for security breaches. Between 2019 and 2020, construction-related data breaches rose by 800%.
Avoiding technology is not the answer
Ironically, the concerns about cyber threats may have led construction companies to avoid online activities, including online payment, in favor of exchanging checks. Recent surveys suggest that 86% of companies still use checks for incoming payments. However, checks are the method of payment most vulnerable to fraud. Checks were responsible for fully two thirds of payment fraud in 2021.
How to lower your risks
The numbers don't lie – fraudsters are on the lookout for vulnerable businesses to target. Still, vigilant companies can protect themselves from fraud with the right tools and know-how. Here are some key ways to keep your construction company safe from fraud while reaping all the benefits construction technology offers.
Keep cyber risk and legal pros close at hand
As with all facets of technology, elements of cyber attacks are changing at breakneck speed. Contracting companies will need the assistance of external tech partners to stay abreast of (and protected from) current risks.
Meanwhile, data security and privacy laws are emerging right along with technology, attempting to keep up with cyber security risks to protect individuals and companies from the risks that accompany negligent security practices.
In the event of a breach, legal counsel will have to advise on which of the assortment of state and federal privacy laws apply to the stolen data.
Develop ongoing staff training
Do your employees know what a suspicious email looks like and what to do if they receive one? Once a breach has occurred, do they know who to alert? Fast reaction times can help minimize the damage caused during a cyber attack. These types of training can go a long way to avoiding and coping with an attack that could otherwise cost your company, big time.
You'll also want at least one employee to monitor upcoming technologies and threats closely. Innovations are constantly appearing, so maintaining vigilance can go a long way to ensuring staff knows what to watch for.
Protect your data
Data encryption is an industry best practice and standard cyber security protocol. You should consider going an extra step in your business to use a virtual private network (VPN) to conduct your private internal business.
Protect your payments
Finally, construction companies can take steps to protect themselves from payment fraud by using secure payment methods for their large and frequent payments. It's time to ditch the checks. Instead, secure payment methods tighten the exchange between sender and recipient.
MazumaGo takes security seriously, with industry-leading technology and fraud protection.
Payments with MazumaGo are protected by:
2 Factor authorization (2FA) on every login
MazumaGo requires two methods of identification verification on each login, so we know we’re dealing with the right person.
FDIC insurance that automatically protects you for up to $250,000
If the worst happens, you know you’re covered.
256-bit SSL encrypted payments
MazumaGo uses the same standards adopted by governments and financial institutions to encrypt data in transit and in rest, to keep your private information private.
Advanced fraud detection algorithms
Cyber risk doesn’t sleep, but neither do MazumaGo’s algorithms, which are constantly on the hunt for bad actors.
MazumaGo partners with Blue Ridge Bank to securely process payments between any US banks and credit unions and employs advanced fraud-detection algorithms to keep payments safe at all times.
Keep the technology, avoid the risk
Rapid digitization has left some construction companies' operations with increased vulnerability to cyber security threats. However, the answer isn't to shy away from technology but to embrace it while employing the latest protective measures against fraud.