In today’s digital age, construction companies increasingly rely on cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software to streamline their operations and enhance productivity. However, with the rise in cyber threats, it is crucial for construction firms to prioritise cybersecurity and ensure robust infrastructure requirements are in place. This article explores the significance of Cyber Essentials Plus certification and outlines the essential infrastructure requirements for construction companies utilising cloud ERP software.
1. Safeguarding Against Cyber Threats
Cybersecurity has become a paramount concern for organisations across all industries, and the construction sector is no exception. Construction companies handle vast amounts of sensitive data, including financial information, project details, and confidential client data. According to a recent study by the UK government, a larger percentage of construction companies, compared to most other sectors, lack sufficient policies for software security updates or “patch management.” Approximately 26% of construction companies lack adequate measures to ensure the security of their software.1 Adopting Cyber Essentials Plus, a government-backed certification scheme, helps businesses defend against common cyber threats and demonstrates a commitment to data protection.
2. Enhancing Data Security
Cloud ERP software offers numerous benefits, such as centralised data storage, real-time collaboration, and streamlined project management. However, leveraging cloud-based solutions requires construction companies to establish robust infrastructure requirements to ensure data security. Implementing strong encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular data backups are vital to protect sensitive information from unauthorised access, data breaches, and ransomware attacks. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central utilises Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication2 (MFA) to enhance the security of accessing applications and data and strengthen the authentication process. This feature enables single sign-on and provides various verification methods, including:
– Phone calls
– Text messages
– Mobile app notifications
– One-time passwords
3. Maintaining Business Continuity
Unforeseen disruptions, such as natural disasters, system failures, or cybersecurity incidents, can significantly impact construction companies. In a recent study on the effect of weather in construction scheduling and management3, the research findings suggest that construction project durations in the UK are typically extended by an average of 21% due to weather conditions. Cloud ERP software, when combined with appropriate infrastructure measures, enables organisations to maintain business continuity during such events. Redundant data centers, disaster recovery plans, and automated backups help ensure that critical information remains accessible, reducing downtime and minimising financial losses.
4. Compliance with Data Protection Regulations
Construction firms are often subject to various data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Adhering to these regulations is not only a legal requirement but also crucial for maintaining the trust of clients and stakeholders. Cloud ERP software, with the appropriate infrastructure requirements, can assist companies in meeting regulatory obligations by offering robust data privacy and security features. Azure4, developed by Microsoft, ensures the security of your data both when it is stored and when it is being transferred, employing a range of encryption techniques, protocols, and algorithms, including double encryption. Azure adheres to four fundamental principles:
- Data control: You have full authority to access, modify, and delete your data whenever you need to.
- Data location choice: You have the flexibility to determine the geographical region where your data is stored, enabling your business to thrive based on your specific data residency strategy.
- Data security at rest and in transit: Azure employs a diverse set of encryption methods to safeguard your data while it is stored, as well as utilising industry-standard encrypted transport protocols to protect your data during transmission.
- Data protection by Microsoft: Microsoft only reveals your data when required by law and as per your explicit instructions, ensuring the defense and privacy of your data.
5. Mitigating Operational Risk
The implementation of cloud ERP software revolutionises construction companies’ operational efficiency by automating processes, streamlining workflows, and providing real-time insights. However, overlooking infrastructure requirements can expose organisations to operational risks. Adequate internet connectivity, secure networks, and scalable infrastructure are essential to ensure optimal system performance, minimise downtime, and support seamless operations. It is crucial for organisations to establish clear parameters for the scope of their IT infrastructure5, encompassing the responsible business unit, network boundaries, and physical location. By defining a comprehensive scope encompassing the entire IT infrastructure, organisations can ensure optimal protection and enhance customer trust to the maximum extent possible.
6. Enhancing Collaboration and Communication
Effective communication and collaboration are pivotal for successful construction projects. Cloud ERP software facilitates real-time data sharing, document management, and communication among project stakeholders, both internally and externally. However, construction companies must ensure that their infrastructure requirements can handle the increased bandwidth and network demands, guaranteeing uninterrupted connectivity and smooth collaboration.
As construction companies embrace cloud ERP software to drive innovation and efficiency, prioritising cybersecurity and infrastructure requirements5 becomes imperative. Achieving Cyber Essentials Plus certification and implementing robust infrastructure measures allows organisations to protect sensitive data, ensure business continuity, comply with data protection regulations, mitigate operational risks, and enhance collaboration. By embracing a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity and infrastructure, construction companies can maximise the benefits of cloud ERP software while safeguarding their digital assets and reputation in an increasingly interconnected world.
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