Why Cybersecurity Is Essential for Contractors Today

March 16, 2022
4 min read

This article is the first in a series of cyber security articles we intend to publish in our newsletter and blogs. While we are not security experts, we can relay what we are doing for ourselves and what we see our best contractor clients doing. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there has been a dramatic heightening of discussions about cyberthreats. Independent contractor organization leaders are completely reliant on internal and external security experts to keep their companies safe, but the onus is on them to have a baseline level of knowledge.

The war in Ukraine is not creating new threats but is exacerbating existing threats and, therefore, it is more imperative than ever for leaders to have these risks understood and in order.

Where do cyber threats come from and what do they look like?

Threats come from a variety of sources, including:

  • State sponsored elements
  • Cyber criminals who consider their activities to be a legitimate commercial operation
  • Misguided bored people who have some gripe with society or a specific company or individual

The types of threats are changing all the time but there are three high level broad categories.

  • Espionage or critical technology access such as IP theft
  • Infrastructure disruption, which is anything to disrupt economic activity of the business
  • Misinformation to manipulate external sentiment
    *While the last item may not seem like an obvious risk, contractors are now using social media more and more, so it is another vulnerability point to be mindful of.

Combatting cyberthreats

All contractors are potential targets for hacking or cyber-attacks. Perpetrators don’t care how much revenue or how many employees you have. Their only focus is about getting to your data to cause business disruption or the more common data ransom profit motivation. The threats can be both within your company or external.

To combat cyberthreats, software and devices can be deployed to deal with certain aspects of the risk. However, your employees are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain of threats and contractors need to ensure that their staff play a significant role in their cyberthreat defensive planning.

It may be inevitable that someone in your company will be targeted and breeched, so what steps can you take today to mitigate cyberthreat risk?

For contractor staff, the most common targets for cyberthreats are:

  • Staff logins and passwords
  • Customer data
  • Staff personal data
  • Financial information

Data that may seem harmless to your employees, like customer phone numbers or email addresses, can be used by cyber criminals for further hacking and scamming. Knowing what data cyber criminals are looking for is a great first step to educate your staff. The first thing contractors should consider thinking about is how a hacker might plan on getting the data and develop prevention strategies from there.

Staff are the prime target for a cyber-attack, especially as staff continue to increase their digital footprint without being aware of the associated risks. Probably the most common ways hackers approach their targets are via phishing and social hacking. Contractors can establish a strong risk mitigation strategy by offering training and education programs to ensure your staff identify and prevent threats.

Another important way to prevent a security breach is to plan for the worst-case scenario. If a breach does happen, contractors with established plans will be able to respond faster and implement mitigation plans to resolve the situation before serious damage occurs. As with preventative maintenance, contractors should proactively develop and test contingency plans and be prepared to respond when something bad happens.

Just like in the building equipment world, data protection is constantly evolving, and you cannot expect to find a one-size-fits-all solution. By implementing and evolving cybersecurity plans early on and proactively, companies can significantly reduce the risk of data being exposed. 

Check out these 10 ways contractors can protect their company from hackers and cyber attacks.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the field service world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.