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Navigating Cyber Threats to the Manufacturing Industry

Every business needs a solid IT strategy to keep up with the rise in cybercrime and the swift pace of technological innovation. Manufacturing companies face unique risks to their productivity if they don’t optimize their cybersecurity. This is partly due to vulnerabilities they might consider less critical than core manufacturing systems. Here’s an overview of manufacturing plant security.

Why are Ransomware Attacks Risky to Manufacturing Organizations?

When cybercriminals can find vulnerabilities in your network, they will shut down or lock you out of crucial business systems. This could cause all kinds of havoc. Hackers can take hold of things like HVAC systems, security cameras, and other devices connected to your network.

When hackers are able to take over your network, they can hold assets hostage and demand payment to give themback. This can halt production, causing a ripple effect of slowdowns throughout your entire operation. This will hurtoutput, supply chain management, and profits, let alone the cost of ransomware payouts.

Security Risks in Industrial Automation Make Manufacturing an Easy Target

Automation and “smart factories” have revolutionized the efficiency and productivity of many manufacturers today. Modern operational technology (OT) systems are designed to track, manage, and optimize processes, but they require advanced cybersecurity to keep intruders out.

Network endpoints are especially vulnerable as they often come with security issues since they’re not always secure by design. One study from IDC determined that 70% of data breaches originated from network endpoints. This means that any manufacturing business with automated or smart machines is at an elevated risk for targeted cyber-attacks.

Dangers of Outdated Technology for Manufacturing Security

Although connectivity can enhance factors like quality control, production, and syndication, more digitized devices means more cyber risk. That’s why, like any endpoint, you should ensure your devices are updated with the latest software patches and align well with your cybersecurity strategy.

When operations and IT teams work independently, the cybersecurity risks involved in advanced OT systems might get overlooked. As machines, software, and IT networks all work in tandem with each other, the weakest link could cause a business-wide outage in the event of an attack.

Technology Roadmaps & Keeping Up with Changes in Cyber Capabilities

One term thrown around in the IT services world is “technology road-mapping”. This is the practice of planning regular technology refreshes as a form of proactive cybersecurity. This can prevent a cyber incident before it occurs, by taking your device’s viable lifetime into account.

When devices get too old, they can potentially become incompatible with manufacturer software updates, leaving them vulnerable to attack. By planning ahead and replacing technology before their vulnerabilities cause cyber catastrophes, you can work this expense into your budget. This empowers you to control your IT costs with minimal surprises while protecting your business from cyber threats.

Invest in Quick, Helpful Support to Take the Headache Out of Manufacturing Cybersecurity

Taking control of your cybersecurity strategy starts with conducting thorough risk assessments to determine your level of risk. These can help you uncover any vulnerabilities in your network and any unsecured endpoints.

A managed service provider (MSP) will perform this evaluation. Look for a provider familiar with your industry, so they know what vulnerabilities and needs to anticipate.