The manufacturing industry is now a prime target for cybercriminals. Many manufacturing companies don’t realize 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?
Manufacturing businesses today are storing data that’s of interest to hackers. Now that other companies like banks and healthcare institutions have bolstered their cyber defenses, manufacturing companies are becoming victimized by cybercriminals. In the past, these companies didn’t store the sensitive information that they do now. And cybercriminals recognize this change.
Could Hackers Steal Your Intellectual Property?
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. Bad actors from nation states can profit from your trade secrets. And criminal organizations sell and buy these secrets on the Dark Web.
Is Your IP Safe From Competitors?
Your IP is also attractive to your competitors who can improve their processes and products at your expense. All companies aren’t honest, even though we’d like to think they are. And some want to benefit by stealing your intellectual property or defaming your company. Plus, if they can physically disrupt your manufacturing operations with IT security breaches that cause downtime, this works in their favor.
Are Insiders Stealing Your Confidential Data?
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.
We’d like to think that our employees are honest. But when money is involved, it’s amazing what some people will do. And, if a competitor can convince employees, both current and past, to reveal your confidential information, they win, and you lose.
Then there are the employees that breach your data through ignorance, carelessness, or simple human error. This is the more likely scenario and can be just as dangerous to your business.
What Should You Do To Keep Your Manufacturing Company Secure? – Shore Up Your Cyber Defenses
First, you must recognize that you’re under attack 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 cyber attack, or bad actors get hold of your company secrets, your business is at risk of failure.
Work with your IT service provider to do as the National Institute of Standards and Technology advises in their “Cybersecurity Framework Manufacturing Profile.”
- Identify – Develop the organizational 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 prioritize 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The manufacturing industry faces unique security challenges, and they require unique solutions. Manufacturing businesses in New England need an IT advisor who can provide the IT Security Services necessary to protect their intellectual property and keep their plants running smoothly. Is your manufacturing business secure?
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