Technology and connectivity have changed the way we conduct ourselves on a daily basis. Of course, that has impacted industry as well – particularly manufacturing companies that are adding new digital machines to their production processes. While this access to more automated and digital technology can benefit the supply chain and make the day-to-day operations of the manufacturer more efficient, it also opens up the company to cyber threats or attacks and gives hackers an opening to the company’s networks and systems. Therefore, cybersecurity for manufacturing is a must for all such companies in this digital age.
The Internet of Things, which basically refers to all of the physical devices around the world that are connected to the internet and can collect or share data via a network or cloud, has opened the manufacturing industry up to new technologies, new efficiencies and new cyber dangers. Control panels, machinery, internal communication devices for line workers, scanners and much more are all connected to the company’s internal network, servers and the internet, which means they at risk of a malicious act.
Cyber crime is increasing.
Simply because there are more malicious hackers in action these days, manufacturing companies are the latest to see the number of attacks against them increasing. As more and more companies become connected to the internet and the cloud, the more likely they are to be victimized. As Cybersecurity Ventures predicts, by 2021, a business will be the victim of a cybersecurity attack every 11 seconds, and unfortunately, manufacturers are not immune.
Manufacturing is slow to adapt to new cybersecurity measures.
While the financial, healthcare and other industries have been increasing cybersecurity efforts for years, perhaps because of government compliance regulations, the manufacturing industry has been much slower to adopt cybersecurity measures, making them an easier target for malicious actors. In a recent survey of managers from more than 130 industrial companies, only one-third said they continuously monitor their systems for suspicious activity or anomalies while 50% of them have had some kind of security breach. So, while they are directly affected by cybercrime, they are still not adopting proper cybersecurity protocols. As data breaches continue to increase, this will need to change – and the sooner the better.
Intellectual Property (IP) is a hot commodity for cybercriminals.
And manufacturers are chockful of it! IP can include patents, product proposals, digital prints, trade secrets, proprietary manufacturing processes and more. It is sought-after to sell to other firms or to hold as ransom. Additionally, this information can be stolen internally, so your cybersecurity plan must include safeguards for current and former employees, like password guidelines and timelines.
Manufacturers often have a larger workforce that makes them vulnerable to attacks.
In addition to your internal team sabotaging you purposefully by stealing intellectual property, a manufacturing company is at risk of employees accidentally allowing a cybercriminal into the network. This can happen through phishing emails, using easily detectable passwords, not changing password or not protecting their connected device. Additionally, a lot of manufacturing employees aren’t used to using this new technology and can’t identify digital risks. they may not know how to identify them. Without company training on security and a full cybersecurity protocol, employees may not know how to avoid cyber-attacks.