Assets and workflows of businesses have largely gone digital. For instance, builders and architects have made substantial changes in their digital workflow thanks to virtual workspaces that allow better team communication and collaboration. This shift can also be seen in the introduction of cloud-based BIM software used for internet file hosting with global accessibility, as well as remote project coordination.
It goes without saying that Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) firms are also strategically investing in cybersecurity to protect their assets. A managed service provider usually keeps businesses safe from security breaches and other online threats as they expand. That doesn't mean the risk is entirely gone, though.
Back in 2017, 83% of firms in the AEC industry experienced at least one fraud incident, which is serious because if a business is involved in a breach, even the most valued customers will lose their trust in it. This tarnishes the establishment's reputation as well as the employees', possibly leading to the business closing because of the impact.
While large businesses are the ones most at risk because they have more data and more opportunities for access, SMBs shouldn't kick back and relax. Your efforts to keep cybercriminals at bay - spam filters, antivirus programs, and the like - won't work if someone leaves the door open, so to speak.
Given all that, here are 7 tips to ensure cybersecurity for AEC firms.
A managed service provider is responsible for ensuring that clients are aware of compliance requirements in each project. It’s also important that AEC firms adhere to these requirements to avoid security breaches.
There should be an organizational security policy that defines the unique roles and responsibilities to the clients and to the business itself. Architects, for instance, should be compliant with industry standards–especially when designing spaces that are used by the public.
Clients of a managed service provider should be made aware of security risks. MSPs need to inform their clients about the risks involved when designing building automation and other systems to prevent cybersecurity issues from happening.
Stolen passwords are common cybersecurity issues most businesses face, regardless of their size. To avoid this, there should be strong passwords in place. Additionally, AEC firms will benefit a lot from using federated identity, a two-factor authentication, and single sign-on.
Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones that are used for the job site or remote work should be managed and secured. A managed service provider may encrypt data on laptops used in the company, introduce a remote wipe capability, and put data containers on mobile phones.
There should be precautionary measures in place to maintain business continuity in the event of a catastrophic event. A managed service provider is in charge of designing, implementing, and testing a backup and disaster recovery system that takes into account long periods of data retention.
AEC firms can stay protected from cybersecurity threats by partnering up with cloud storage providers such as Egnyte or Autodesk (the tech giant behind AutoCAD). These vendors offer user audit ability, content management, and a better focus on the AEC field.
Many AEC firms are still not aware of the many benefits they can get from managed IT services. As this industry becomes an attractive growth opportunity for IT companies, it’s difficult to tell how many robust strategies for implementing SaaS-based solutions will be created to achieve greater growth and improved IT security. And because there are lots of opportunities in this specific vertical, MSPs will continue to have many new businesses to support.
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