Why AEC Firms Need Additional Cybersecurity
Many architects, engineers, and construction firms fail to realize their vulnerability to cybersecurity threats until it’s too late. In the past 2 years alone, over 59% of businesses have fallen victim to cyberattacks of some kind, and an astounding 70% reported encounters with a cyber threat. With this figure likely to grow, how can businesses protect themselves?
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10 Essential Measures for AEC Companies
- Risk Assessment:
- Risk assessments should be conducted annually using established frameworks like CIS, NIST, or COBIT to identify and address vulnerabilities within your IT infrastructure, thus preventing potential breaches.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):
- MFA is a critical practice for securing access to sensitive data, but traditional MFA measures approved through text message approval are no longer safe. These can be more easily manipulated by attackers. Therefore, all major MFA providers recommend you disable this feature and authorize approvals through the application only. As part of your efforts to further harden your authentication services from attacks, consider implementing a Zero Trust Architecture throughout your enterprise.
- Firewall Implementation:
- Firewalls are your first line of defense. You need to fortify your front lines through regular firewall hardening exercises. This ensures that you have configured your settings appropriately. You can also use your firewall and other networking equipment to segment your network to limit the opportunity for an attacker to move laterally through your environment.
- Incident Response Plan:
- A pre-defined incident response plan can mitigate damage in case of a breach. This plan should outline roles, responsibilities, and procedures to follow when a security incident occurs. The plan should be comprehensive enough to cover preparation for an incident all the way through containment and ultimately post-incident improvement.
- Continuous Monitoring:
- Proactive monitoring of your systems can detect threats early. Integrating intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) into your security fabric is the most comprehensive way to ensure your organization remains protected. IDS or IPS should be woven in with a security operations center (SOC) or security information and event management (SIEM) solution.
- Develop an IT Steering Committee:
- Cybersecurity is not something to be handled in the server room, this should be handled in the board room. Coordinating a steering committee with key individuals of senior management ensures the diligence required to maintain cyber defenses. While software alone is a good cyber start, having a group regularly reviewing cybersecurity best practices ensures organizations are protected in an ever-changing landscape.
- Regular and thorough Penetration Testing:
- Do you remember when your company last conducted a Penetration test on its website? If you cannot recall, it likely means you are due for one. It’s recommended that businesses perform penetration tests every twelve months to ensure your company’s security is optimized.
- Asset Management:
- To reduce your risk, you must first identify what you are trying to protect. It is imperative to keep an inventory of your IT assets and systems. Each company should have a change management and decommissioning process defined and documented. It is also prudent to audit these procedures to ensure your polices are being carried out.
- Data Backup and Recovery:
- Regular backups are crucial for swift recovery in case of a breach. Implement automated backup solutions and have a recovery plan in place to ensure business continuity. However, understand that backups are not a cure all. Many cyber-attacks hunt for backup processes and infect your backups first. Consider air gapping whenever possible.
- External Support and Advisors:
- Whether you have an internal IT team or outsource to a Managed Service Provider, it is critical to partner with a team who have cyber specific expertise. Alliant Cybersecurity has assembled a multifaceted team of experts with years of experience to bring custom capabilities to help you fill the gaps in your current strategy.
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Our passion is to offer straightforward solutions to everyday cybersecurity challenges, especially in the moments that matter most. We create a customized cyber-vigilant environment for your business through our comprehensive consulting, technology, and managed security services. Reach out to us today for a complimentary cybersecurity health check!