Last week I had the privilege of attending the Construction Financial Management Association Dallas/Ft Worth Chapter’s monthly membership education luncheon as a prospective member. The educational topic was Cybersecurity and the Construction Industry and presented in a panel format. The panelists were Jon Schildt, Vice President of Technology & Cyber Practice for Hub International Midwest Limited’s Professional and Executive Risk (ProEx) Group and Jim Harryman, CEO of Kinetic Technology Group, a leading IT and cybersecurity firm based in Dallas, Texas. Daniel Rutter of HUB International served as the moderator.

Relying upon their years of experience with cybersecurity issues, Jon Schildt and Jim Harryman provided valuable insight regarding advice on best cybersecurity protection practices, insurance products, attack trends, and training. No company or industry is immune from potentially devastating cyber attacks that result in financial and institutional damage. Specifically, it was noted that ransomware and phishing remain amongst the most common methods of attack. Best practices according to the panelists include regular employee cybersecurity training, multifactor authentication, and insurance coverage.

Cybersecurity is invasive and costly on many fronts. When cyber criminals successfully attack your company sensitive data, financial resources, and operational logistics are all at risk. Regarding data protection be sure to check out these recent articles regarding the new Texas Data Privacy Act from my colleagues Daryl Bailey, Chris Davis, and London England, as well as, Gray Reed Advisory’s Lynn Rohland. Most interesting to me are issues related to the “internet of things” as it relates to the construction industry. More specifically, there are so many modern building components and pieces of equipment, such as HVAC units, generators, thermostats, etc. that require internet connectivity to properly function. Constant internet connectivity makes them vulnerable to hackers. These are often overlooked weak spots that serve as entry points for an attack. Once attacked the fallout can be devastating from a financial and operational standpoint, not to mention potentially placing the attacked company in violation of the new data privacy acts such as that in Texas.      

If your company is interested in evaluating its cybersecurity practices and exploring the related legal issues, Gray Reed and Gray Reed Advisory can help.  We believe that effectively representing construction businesses requires an industry-based practice. It’s not enough to know the law—we need to know the industry, how it operates, and how a project progresses. Our attorneys provide a full range of legal services to manufacturers, contractors, and owners ranging from small, family-owned businesses to ENR Top 400 Contractors, state and local government agencies and Fortune 500 Corporations. To learn more about Gray Reed’s construction practice group, click here.