Construction Best Practices

It’s Almost Midnight, Do You Know Where Your Construction Data Is?


Trimble Viewpoint Network Survey Shows Construction Data Backups and Data Security are Top of Mind

When contractors' construction data and workflows are in the cloud, backups can happen automatically.

It’s not a matter of if, but when construction companies will eventually endure costly work stoppages, because they can’t access vital business and project information.

As businesses around the globe strive to better secure and protect their data from outside influences, the concept of consistent data (and workflow) backups — and the technologies supporting them — have gained a lot of traction. It’s a risk-management move to maintain seamless business continuity should a data incident occur.

For construction firms, the urgency might be even greater. Construction is the industry most targeted by ransomware attacks, and is among the leading impacted by other data security incidents like phishing, wire and electronic fraud, and more. And with an average cost of a data breach in the United States of around $9 million, there are plenty of reasons why having backed up data and processes in place to continue business is critical to contractors’ bottom lines.

That’s why many contractors have moved their operations to the cloud, where data backups are virtually automatic, and cloud vendors provide both the latest data security protections to prevent cyber attacks and the tools to continue working should an attack occur. In fact, most cyber threat actors today target on-premise systems like servers maintained by the contractors themselves and housed in a single location. Here, it’s more likely that data is not backed up as often or there are more open points of access that are not properly guarded.

The cloud, if working with the right vendor, can provide significantly better construction data safeguards, as well as connected data and workflows that optimize construction management tasks.

Construction Data Backups: By the Numbers

At Trimble Viewpoint, we recently surveyed our own clients via our Network user community to find out how they were currently addressing data backups. Here’s a look at the results:

1. How is Your Construction Data Backed Up?

    • 45.5% Our data backups are handled by in-house IT professionals
    • 24.3% Our data backups are handled through a third party It company
    • 13.6% Our data backups are done automatically via a connected platform
    • 13.6% Unsure
    • 3.0% Our data backups occur within individual software programs

    While the nearly 14% of contractors who have moved to connected, cloud-based solutions to better protect their data might seem like a small number, it is a rapidly growing number, and many contractors are either preparing to move or transitioning soon. Moving to the cloud is not an overnight process, but as those that have moved will likely tell you, the benefits far outweigh remaining on on-premise systems.

    “It’s only a matter of time before contractors who are not willing to move to the cloud run into a data breach or hardware malfunction and lose critical data,” said Grant Mongin, business systems analyst and trainer with Minnesota-based RJM Construction. “Unfortunately a disaster is the typical catalyst for construction businesses to make the change.”

    2. How Often is Your Construction Data Backed Up?

    • 39.4% Unsure
    • 32.6% Once a Day
    • 22.7% Hourly/Automatically
    • 4.5% Once a Week
    • 0.8% Once a Month

    It’s good to see that backups being done only once per week or month seem to be a thing of the past. Yet, even once-a-day backups done via on-premise systems can leave plenty of room for exploitation. Even missing a day’s worth of data and project information can cause project delays and cost companies tens of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

    What is more revealing is the number of respondents that were unsure. Now, this could be reflective of non-IT end users not being aware of how data is backed up in their organization, but it also speaks to the need for more transparency across all teams so that everyone knows the plan should a data incident occur.

    3. Have you or your organization ever experienced a delay or downtime due to technical issues and lack of available business data?

    • 56.8% No
    • 27.2% Unsure
    • 16.0% Yes

    4. Has your company experienced a data breach or cybersecurity issue in the past 24 months?

    • 71.2% No
    • 15.9% Unsure
    • 9.9% Yes, but data was backed up and we were able to continue business operations
    • 3.0% Yes, and business was stalled due to lack of data backups

    The numbers here clearly show that data disruptions do occur, with nearly 13% of respondents acknowledging a cyber attack or data breach attempt within the past two years. Here’s what a few of our respondents said when we asked for more details into some of these disruptions:

    • “A virus got into the company computers and shut us down for a full day. It was very expensive to hire another IT company to help us get right again.”
    • “Hacked last year. It took several days to recover.”
    • “Sometimes the server will ‘go down’ and we will not be able to log into anything on our network.”
    • “We had ransomware in our system. Very minor, but we were down a day or so.”
    • “We had a water line break and it rained on our servers. Our backups saved us, within a day our network vendor had brought a temp server and restored our servers.”

    A virus got into the company computers and shut us down for a full day. It was very expensive to hire another IT company to help us get right again.

    5. What is the MOST important data that needs to be backed up?

    • 79.5% HR/Employee Data
    • 78.0% Job Cost or Project Financial Data
    • 60.6% Purchasing/Invoice/Vendor Data
    • 48.5% Project Planning/Execution Data
    • 8.3% Other Data

    It rings true, if systems go down for any extended period of time, important business processes like paying employees, paying bills, getting paid for work, job progress and financial accountability all become real-time headaches.

    For those that have gone through these scenarios, they can attest at just how cumbersome they are to navigate. That’s why regularly backed up data is vital to construction business continuity.

    Protecting construction data is one of the biggest reasons contractors are adopting connected, cloud software solutions.

    Consistent construction data backups are just one part of a complete, modern data security strategy. Moving to a hosted cloud environment with a connected construction management suite removes much of the IT burden from the contractors end and places it with trusted technology vendors that are building the latest data security protections into their solutions.

    These include steps like multifactor authentication, strong username and password requirements, stringent permissioning rules for end users, automatic data backups, strong firewalls and other measures to block unauthorized access to critical data and much more.

    Trimble Construction One is a connected, cloud-based construction management suite designed with data security top of mind. Built on industry-leading cloud platforms, Trimble Construction One provides its users with the latest digital data protections and data security compliance measures.

    Connect with Trimble Viewpoint to learn more about how your organization can take advantage of these technologies to connect and protect your business.

    Posted By

    Andy is Marketing Content & PR Manager at Viewpoint. He has worked in the construction software arena since 2011. Previously, he netted multiple awards as a newspaper and trade media editor.