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Data Security for Restoration Contractors: 1st Party vs. 3rd Party

Kelly Ruane Melchiondo

It is no secret that big data – for all of its benefits to collaboration, organization, speed and more – brings great risk. There is an ongoing privacy/efficiency exchange at play within restoration and the wider world, in which cloud-based platforms are helping optimize office and field operations in meaningful ways while also exposing contractors to vulnerabilities by way of the sacred data they share and store within.

As contractors move from pen and paper to digital documentation, inputting everything from invoices and P&L, to jobsite photos and 3D scans, to project estimates and more, they’re left wondering what happens to the data they share and how to safeguard it.

At a time when adopting new technology to increase efficiency is a growing trend – and also a top challenge – for the property restoration industry, Kelly Ruane Melchiondo, a legal expert on the intersection of construction and data privacy + security, sits down with R&R to shed light on first- and third-party data security.

Melchiondo is an attorney and partner with Bilzin Sumberg’s Construction Group. She is a member of the firm’s data security and privacy team, which focuses on counseling clients on safeguarding their data and private information.

“The construction industry is very near to my heart, but I don’t know that the industry is paying as much attention as it should be to data privacy, not only for its employee’s security and its own employee’s information, but the project information,” Melchiondo said.

This episode covers:

  • The state of big data within the construction industry today
  • The difference between first-party and third-party data settings, including the risks and benefits associated
  • If the sharing and selling of contractor data by third-party software vendors is legal, if this is happening, and if so, where the data is being shared
  • Who the owner of data is once a contractor inputs it into a third-party platform – the contractor, software vendor, policyholder whose property is being documented within the platform, another stakeholder, or all of the above.
  • How contractors can find out what is being done with the data they share on cloud-based apps
  • What happens to data stored within a third-party platform when a contractor ends their contract or subscription with a vendor
  • Best practices for contractors looking to safeguard their data and that of their policyholder customers, in first- and third-party settings
  • The value and growing prominence of cyber liability coverage
  • The importance of carefully reviewing terms of service before selecting a software vendor
  • Data privacy and protections questions to ask before investing in a new software provider
  • Legal best practices for using jobsite before-and-after photos for marketing purposes
  • The critical role employee training plays in data security
  • Whether the benefits of big data outweigh the costs for property restoration contractors

Check out this episode of Ask the Expert to learn more. You can watch the video here or listen to the audio version of our conversation here. You can also find our show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Just search for Restoration & Remediation Ask the Expert, then hit Follow.
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