Construction Best Practices

How to Protect Your Construction Data in Uncertain Times: Part 2 of 2

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In our last blog, we looked at several examples of cybersecurity attack methods we’ve seen businesses across all industries have had to contend with. Of course, with the right software solutions, they can be dealt with in a timely manner.

In a special webinar, Cybersecurity — Protecting Your Data & Assets in Uncertain Times, Viewpoint’s information security officer, Mike Dooley recently sat down with Craig Lundskog, finance director for Great Basin Industrial and Jeff Cann, CIO and chief strategy officer with Encore Electric to discuss the current cybersecurity threats. With both companies being forward-thinking Viewpoint customers, we wanted to hear their suggestions on how to best approach and prevent cyber attacks.

Real-Life Construction Cybersecurity Stories

This is an example of the type of ransomware message Lundskog said Great Basin Industrial received. These threats are becoming more and more common, but can be effectively avoided with strong data security measures.

Both Encore Electric and Great Basin Industrial are real life examples of companies who have experienced security breaches and come out stronger on the other side.

Cann said Encore Electric experiences roughly 30 security breach attempts per week. One recent attack was attempted by a hacker posing as an internal employee. The hacker tried to change the employee’s paycheck deposit information in order to wire money into a different account. Luckily, the payroll department caught the attempt and the wire transfer was avoided.

Great Basin Industrial has also dealt with it’s fair share of cybersecurity breaches. Back in February, the company dealt with a phishing email gone wrong. After an employee clicked on a bad email link, the company’s entire email system was shut down for two full days.

More recently, Great Basin Industrial also faced a major ransomware attack. Shortly after the pandemic began, employees began having problems accessing the information from home. Lundskog went into the office one day to try to solve the problem. After consulting with the IT department, it was determined that the company was dealing with a ransomware attack. To justify their actions, the hackers claimed that, “they're providing a service for everybody else because they're making you stronger and making you go do things that you normally wouldn't do,” Lundskog recalled. Threatening to permanently delete the company’s data if they tried to retrieve it themselves, Great Basin Industrial was faced with a tough decision.

Deciding to attempt the data retrieval themselves rather than pay the ransom, the company gathered a group to fix the problem. By stringing the hackers along and making them believe they were going to receive the ransom money, Lundskog and his team were able to get the company back up and running in two days. To make sure that the situation was in the right hands, all information regarding the attack was handed off to the FBI. It was determined that the hackers gained access to the company through a weak employee password. In order to prevent this from happening in the future, Great Basin set password requirements for all employees and provided proper training on how to maintain construction data security through online accounts.

Protecting the Construction Business

Having strong data security practices in place in today's modern operating environments is considered a must.

With cybersecurity threats being more prevalent today, there are several ways companies can protect themselves.

  1. Adding a Firewall — One of those ways is with a firewall and system that offers 24/7 protection. This solution may be a bit pricier than other methods, but it is worth the money. With the around the clock protection, companies can leave their workdays without having to worry about what they will be coming back to the following day.
  2. Multi-factor Authentication — An additional way to prevent cybersecurity attacks is by implementing multi-factor authentication. By requiring employees to go through multiple stages when logging into the system, this makes it more difficult for criminals to access the system. Most ransomware entities are looking for an easy target. When you make the hacking process as difficult as possible, most criminals will pass right on by.
  3. Cloud-Based Construction Specific Software — Additionally, using a cloud-based, integrated software suite like ViewpointOne can also work to prevent cybersecurity attacks. With contractor’s data hosted in the cloud by a trusted technology vendor like Viewpoint, there are fewer chances for threat actors to find back doors in on-premise servers, computer hardware or in contractor offices. “I feel a lot more comfortable about our main ERP data because we are on the cloud,” Cann shared about their recent integration to the Viewpoint cloud. Data is also automatically backed up in real time so if a security breach was to occur, contractors would be able to maintain business continuity. Viewpoint works to stay on tops of all the latest security issues and ensures to deploy data security measures.

Watch the full Cybersecurity — Protecting Your Data & Assets in Uncertain Times webinar below to learn more about preventing cybersecurity attacks:

If you are interested in learning more about ViewpointOne and how we can help secure your construction data, please visit our website today.

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Kati is a marketing coordinator at Viewpoint, enthusiastic about all things marketing and construction.