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  • WRITTEN BY Jorge Rojas POSTED ON July 23,2019

Is Your Manufacturing Business Truly Secure?

Each day more manufacturing plants are being hit with cyber-attacks. So why the sudden increase? The answer is that cybercriminals have found that too many manufacturing companies do not have high-level security to protect their database. They’re an easy target, so why not steal from the candy store that has the easiest lock on its door?

Many manufacturing companies don’t realise this and haven’t taken the measures to keep their data secure. They believe that because they don’t process many online transactions, or store large databases with customer information, that they won’t be attractive to hackers — They’re just plain wrong.

Are You A Prime Target For Hackers?

In your database, you have the name of companies, their lead people or CEO, you also have addresses, phone numbers—And you may even have credit card or banking information.

This type of information is extremely valuable to those who do business on the Dark Web. Thieves work hard every day buying and selling valuable information to interested parties. Certain types of data bring more money on the Black Market. These include healthcare, legal, manufacturing, and financial organizations.

Is Your Intellectual Property Protected?

Intellectual property (IP) such as product proposals, digital prints, and trade secrets regarding proprietary manufacturing processes is valuable to cybercriminals both inside and outside our country. Cyber criminals have upped their game. They are supported by huge governments now so they have a very long reach. If they steal your trade secrets and sell them to the highest bidder, how will that affect your manufacturing company?

What If Competitors Get Your Trade Secrets?

Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where no one ever lied, cheated or stole anything? That’s just not the way it is these days. Your IP is attractive to your competitors. They can use this information to improve their processes and products at your expense.

Plus, if they can steal your IP, they can disrupt your manufacturing operations. Your profits will go down. It’s a win-win for your competitors.

How Much Confidential Data Is Being Stolen Each Year?

According to an article in “Electronic Design,” in June 2018, Tesla revealed that they caught a malicious insider in their midst. They experienced two frightening insider scenarios: the exfiltration of valuable intellectual property and the alteration of critical code from their manufacturing operations.

If this can happen to Tesla, then everyone is at risk. When a lot of money is involved, it’s amazing what some people will do.

Of course, you have to be concerned about simple human error. Your employees must be well-trained about phishing scams. They can open an infected email, download a ransomware virus and just like that—your whole operation is at a standstill.

I wish these were things that just happened occasionally but the truth is that hackers penetrate the defenses of a company’s database almost on a daily basis. They’re targeting small and mid-size businesses … anyone who doesn’t have the best cybersecurity. They’re searching for easy targets.

What Should You Do To Keep Your Manufacturing Company Secure?

First, it’s important to recognize that businesses are under attack including manufacturing plants. Whether you know it or not, we’re in a cyberwar, and you must be on the defense. If your operations are knocked offline due to a cyberattack, or bad actors get hold of your company secrets, your business is at risk of failure.

Your IT service provider can help you comply with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Their “Cybersecurity Framework Manufacturing Profile” lays out some strong measures that you should be taking:

  1. Detect – Develop and implement the appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event. The activities in the Detect Function enable timely discovery of cybersecurity events. Examples of outcome categories within this function include Anomalies and Events; Security Continuous Monitoring; and Detection Processes.
  2. Protect – Develop and implement the appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical infrastructure services. The activities in the Protect Function support the ability to limit or contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity event. Examples of outcome categories within this function include Access Control; Awareness and Training; Data Security; Information Protection Processes and Procedures; Maintenance; and Protective Technology.
  3. Identify – Develop the organisational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities. The activities in the Identify Function are foundational for effective use of the Framework. Understanding the business context, the resources that support critical functions and the related cybersecurity risks enables an organization to focus and prioritise its efforts, consistent with its risk management strategy and business needs. Examples of outcome categories within this function include Asset Management; Business Environment; Governance; Risk Assessment; and Risk Management Strategy.
  4. Respond – Develop and implement the appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity event. The activities in the Respond Function support the ability to contain the impact of a potential cybersecurity event. Examples of outcome categories within this function include Response Planning; Communications; Analysis; Mitigation; and Improvements.
  5. Recover – Develop and implement the appropriate activities to maintain plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity event. The activities in the Recover Function support timely recovery to normal operations to reduce the impact from a cybersecurity event. Examples of outcome categories within this function include Recovery Planning; Improvements; and Communications.

What Are The Challenges Manufacturers Face?

The manufacturing industry faces unique security challenges, and they require unique solutions. Manufacturing businesses in Toronto could benefit from having an experienced advisor to recommend the IT Security Services necessary to protect their intellectual property and keep their plant running smoothly. The day and age we live in requires more vigilance than ever to protect what belongs to you.

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