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The Importance of Cyber Essentials Plus and Infrastructure Requirements for Construction Companies using Cloud ERP Software

July 10, 2023

Construction organisations are depending more and more on cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software in the current digital era to improve efficiency and streamline operations. But with the increase in cyberattacks, it is imperative that building companies give cybersecurity first priority and make sure that strong infrastructure standards are met. This article describes the necessary infrastructure requirements for construction companies using cloud ERP software, as well as the importance of Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

Safeguarding Against Cyber Threats

Organisations in every industry now have serious cybersecurity concerns, and the construction industry is no exception. Large volumes of sensitive data, such as financial data, project specifics, and private customer information, are handled by construction companies. A recent research by the UK government found that more construction companies than most other sectors do not have adequate systems in place 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.

Enhancing Data Security

Numerous advantages are provided by cloud ERP software, including centralised data storage, real-time communication, and simplified project administration. However, in order to guarantee data security when utilising cloud-based solutions, construction enterprises must set strong infrastructure standards. Protecting sensitive data from ransomware attacks, unauthorised access, and data breaches requires the use of multi-factor authentication, robust encryption, and regular data backups. 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

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. When paired with suitable infrastructure protocols, cloud ERP software allows organisations to continue operating during such incidents. Automated backups, disaster recovery plans, and redundant data centres all contribute to preserving access to vital data while limiting downtime and financial losses.

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:

  1. Data control: You have full authority to access, modify, and delete your data whenever you need to.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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.

Enhancing Collaboration and Communication

Collaboration and effective communication are essential for construction projects to be successful. Real-time data sharing, document management, and communication between internal and external project stakeholders are made easier by cloud ERP software. To maintain continuous connectivity and efficient cooperation, construction businesses must make sure that their infrastructure requirements can support the rising bandwidth and network demands.

As construction companies embrace cloud ERP software to drive innovation and efficiency, prioritising cybersecurity and infrastructure requirements5 becomes imperative. Securing Cyber Essentials Plus certification and putting strong infrastructure safeguards in place enable organisations to safeguard confidential information, maintain business continuity, adhere to data security laws, reduce operational risks, and foster cooperation. Construction businesses may optimise the advantages of cloud ERP software while protecting their digital assets and reputation in an increasingly interconnected world by adopting a thorough cybersecurity and infrastructure strategy.

Importance of Using an Accredited Product

For construction organisations that use ERP software, protecting sensitive data is critical in the current digital environment, where cyber risks are prevalent. Choosing a Cyber Essentials-accredited solution and business partner is not just a matter of preference; it is a strategic necessity. One such product is EVision for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (MD 365 BC) from Eque2. Through adherence to the strict guidelines established by Cyber Essentials Plus, EVision for MD 365 BC guarantees strong defences against frequent cyberattacks, fortifying the IT infrastructure defences of construction companies. EVision for MD 365 BC goes above and beyond in strengthening the digital fortifications of its customers, creating confidence in the integrity and security of vital information with features like encrypted data transmission and secure user authentication. In a time when hacking into cybersecurity systems can have serious consequences, investing in cloud-based software, like EVision for MD 265 BC, from Eque2 which has earned the Cyber Essentials accreditation is a proactive way to reduce risks and build a strong digital environment for your construction company.

Benefits Your Business Can Receive from Eque2’s EVision Cloud for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Not only does EVision Cloud provide various security benefits to protect your data. Your business can receive a whole host of benefits to increase efficiency within your processes:

  • 100% Cloud-based allowing accessibility from any device at any location.
  • Role-based access that empowers your employees to excel in their work.
  • Real-time financial and business insights, leveraging a comprehensive range of reports and enhancing your business planning process.
  • Full integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions allowing you to work with familiar apps.
  • Enjoy ongoing product enhancements, that future-proof your business with Microsoft technology.

Next Step

Click here to explore more benefits of EVision Cloud for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Alternatively, you can arrange a free online demonstration tailored to your specific requirements by emailing us at construction@eque2.com or phoning us on 01628 702702.

Sources:

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2023/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2023
  2. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/business-central/dev-itpro/security/multifactor-authentication
  3. https://www.apm.org.uk/news/the-effects-of-weather-on-construction-scheduling-webinar/
  4. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/explore/trusted-cloud/privacy
  5. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/files/Cyber-Essentials-Requirements-for-Infrastructure-v3-1-April-2023.pdf
  6. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/cyber-essentials-technical-requirements-updated-for-april-2023
  7. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ppn-0923-updates-to-the-cyber-essentials-scheme
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