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Blog May 2022

Are building-material distributors easy targets for cyber criminals?

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Cyber criminals view construction businesses as easy targets. Often high cash flows are involved, but just as attractive is how easy it can be to swoop in and steal valuable data. The reason is the number of sub-contractors and suppliers involved with just one business.

Construction has been identified as the most targeted industry for ransomware and malware in the UK, which puts building-material distributors in the line of fire. The rest of Europe faces similar problems. In 2020, a large French construction firm shut down operations when threat attackers held 200 GB of data for ransom. How the breach occurred has not been made public, but it can happen in any number of ways. In the Middle East, 65% of all employees are unaware of the security risks when they use personal devices in the workplace. The cost of cybercrime is painful. In Africa alone, cybercrime has climbed to $3.5 Billion, with Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa bearing the heaviest burden.

For any company in any industry, data breaches impact company processes, resulting in downtime and operational disruption. It can have a more insidious effect in the construction sector, creating not only delays, but the loss of bids and downstream contractual penalties. It’s not just reputational harm at risk, but worse, bodily injury, due to the number of technologies used on site.

Think defence

As a supplier, you’re a target.

Digitalisation introduces different devices into your operations, connected to each other through the internet. These devices communicate data to give you full transparency into your workflows, reduce operating costs, stop revenue leakage, and expand margins. But there’s a flip side to the advantages of digitalisation: each device represents a possible door for cyber criminals to enter your organisation.

To maximise resilience and protect themselves and their customers, business-material distributors must be proactive with pre-emptive defence.

Are you safe with edge computing?

Edge computing is an architecture that keeps data storage closer to home vs. putting all data on the cloud. The reason some companies opt for the edge is to free up bandwidth and improve response times. If their cloud is breached, and the data stored there is stolen, the damage is limited. Companies who operate on the edge also do so under the belief that they’re controlling their environment by keeping data on site.

But this is a fallacy. If cyber security is not part of a distributor’s strategy, then it doesn’t matter where data is stored – it’s hackable. Edge computing, and thus on-premise security, requires a significant investment, meaning you’ll need full-time dedicated staff to oversee and implement your security. Data regulations are always changing, and someone will have to ensure that you’re compliant. Every day, more than 1,000 regulatory bodies worldwide release an average of 217 updates per day. Failure to do so will cost you dearly in fines.

Are you safe on the cloud?

If you work on an enterprise-grade platform on the cloud, compliance issues and authentication rules are handled for you, removing the need for the overhead that the edge demands. And while on-premise security stores your data on an internal server, a cloud-based system backs up your data automatically. You’ll need to take care of this yourself with edge computing—again, we stress this isn’t a problem if you have full-time staff dedicated to your security.

If you choose the cloud, you’ll need software as a service (SaaS) with a secure foundation. The big player in this field is Microsoft Azure, which is built with multi-layered security. An enterprise-grade platform powered by Microsoft Azure will have behind it 3,500 global cybersecurity experts protecting your business assets and data. 

AMCS Concrete Planner, AMCS Cement Planner, and AMCS Aggregate Planner are examples of best-in-class SaaS that run on the Microsoft Azure cloud. AMCS SaaS leverages Microsoft Azure’s customised hardware with security controls integrated into the hardware and firmware

What makes Microsoft Azure so powerful?

It enables you to identify threats with services that are informed by real-time global cybersecurity intelligence. This intelligence is then delivered at cloud scale. Analysts use machine learning, behavioural analytics and application-based intelligence to detect security breaches in floods of data that include billions of web pages and emails, just to name a few sources. The insights they gain are then used to help you detect threats.

Microsoft also invests $1 billion each year on security across their global data centres. They put together teams of in-house hackers to find vulnerabilities and launch attacks. Meanwhile, another in-house team analyses and responds to these attacks. This is how Microsoft is able to stay ahead of cybercriminals, and why platforms built on Microsoft Azure carry so much reassurance that business continuity will not be disrupted.

Make security a priority

AMCS’s SaaS technologies put security at the forefront with Microsoft Azure. You should also know that AMCS is SOC 1 and SOC 2 compliant.

There are also other reasons to use AMCS’s SaaS planners and modules. Users report that they reduce planning time by up to 75%, mileage by up to 25%, CO² emissions by up to 25% and the number of vehicles needed, by up to 10%. All of this leads to efficiencies, which helps users to work with agility – and it’s why they’ve improved their customer service by up to 33%.

To learn more about the security and other benefits of AMCS Cement Planner, AMCS Concrete Planner, and AMCS Aggregate Planner, we urge you to get in touch.

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