With an increase in the amount of advanced technology being used by the trades—everything from wearables to drones to automated equipment—the construction industry is beginning to recognize the risks involved in a connected world. The concept of plug and play risk-free in today’s data-driven world is quickly becoming a bit challenging.

In fact, when it comes to privacy and security, construction firms need to hunker down and think about how they are storing, sharing, and shoring up their data defenses, all while protecting who actually has access to it.

So what are contractors top cyber concerns? Travelers recently conducted research into cyber trends as part of its Travelers Risk Index. Perhaps it’s no surprise that only 63% completely or somewhat agree that having the proper cyber prevention tools in place is critical to the well-being of the company. What’s more, only 36% of construction companies purchase cyber insurance to protect a data breach or cyber event.

Here’s some of the top reasons why. The top cyber concerns for construction firms are someone gaining access to banking accounts of financial control systems (49%), a security breach (45%), and employees putting information and systems at risk (42%).

While those are the leading issues, others include: income loss to the company caused by a security breach or system glitch at a vendor or supplier, potential for theft or loss of control of your customer or client records, having the resources and know-how to recover from cyber-related events, system glitch causing computers to go down, someone using professional-looking business emails to trick employees into transferring business funds, remote access or hacking into supervisory or industrial control systems, failure to operate the business, or loss of income, due to a cyber event, understanding legal environment around privacy laws and how it impacts the company, and being a victim of cyber extortion or ransomware.

The challenge is this: 83% completely agree or somewhat agree that cyber is an ever-changing landscape and it is hard to keep up with all the latest information and developments, while 46% completely or somewhat agree it’s inevitable that at some point in the future their organization will be the victim of a data breach or cyberattack.

Here’s some good news: 55% are extremely or very confident that their company has implemented best practices to prevent or mitigate a cyber event, and 48% are extremely or very confident that their company would know what actions to take if it experienced a cyber event. In fact, approximately one in four have actually simulated a cyber breach to identify areas of system vulnerability.

Many construction companies have already prepared by doing computer password updates, background checks on employees, staff training and testing on computer and data security, internal IT audits, written IT and security policies and procedures, and more.

While cyber is the top business risk concern across all companies, it is tied for sixth place among the construction decisionmakers surveyed behind medical cost inflation, ability to attract and retain talent, risk of increasing employee benefit costs, employee safety, legal liability, and changes in composition of the America workforce.

What the report really emphasizes is that most companies still don’t understand that nefarious criminals doing bad things do not discriminate on the size of company they target.

In fact, the Travelers report revealed that more than 50% of the respondents do not consider themselves to be large enough to be the victim of a cyber breach or attack. Interestingly, the report reveals criminals pursue small and medium-sized companies just as aggressively as they are hunting the large companies. The lesson here is that if you think the bad guys aren’t looking for a weakness in your systems, think again.

Whether you are a Target, Home Depot, or just a small contractor, you must take the necessary steps to do whatever it takes to keep your information safe from outside intruders. It’s all about prioritizing your business and keeping your information safe and secure at all times.

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Peggy Smedley
Peggy Smedleyeditorial director