Manufacturing Cyber Security Risks (& How to Protect Your Company)

Manufacturing Cyber Security

In manufacturing, cyber security is absolutely essential. You have more risks than other companies and those risks are to people in addition to profits. A cyber threat to your product is likely to impact not just product safety but also the safety of individuals who are working to produce your product.

Often a single device is manufactured in a segmented form. It could be by different companies or divisions, sometimes in different locations — even  in different countries. If you have a breach in one, there could be a ripple effect through all of them.

As a manufacturer, your cyber security risks if breached include:

  • Manufacturing downtime
  • A dramatic loss of confidence in your product or components 
  • Reduction in the quality ratings of your product
  • Fines from lack of compliance or other regulatory issues
  • Manufacturing data integrity severely diminished (the biggest threat of all!)

>>Download our free Ransomware Response Checklist. Know what to do in an attack.

Integrity of Your Manufacturing Data

As a manufacturer, you know that the high integrity of your data  ensures your products’ operational quality and compliance with regulations. In short, it is what makes your product successful. If your data is breached or there is an interruption in production, it puts not just that product at risk, but the whole company. 

Generally speaking, industrial systems are not designed with protection against data breaches. Like many other industries, small and large,  in the recent past,  industrial systems were thought to be impervious to such things. After all, who would want to damage those systems? 

The answer of course is any cyber criminal who thinks he or she can ransom you into paying to get your data back or who threatens to cripple your production.

Your data and the storage of it needs the best protection against these breaches. 

The secure  transportation of data from one system to another is critical as data goes to and from remote locations, potential buyers or government regulatory agencies. It needs to be protected during its creation as well as in backup and storage. It’s not just having the right data storage systems, it’s about configuring them correctly.

Also, the type and level of required security often varies depending upon the device or component that you manufacture. Smaller and medium sized manufacturers might have difficulty in handling this type of high security. They might not even know where to start.

Managed service providers (MSPs) such as SWAT can help explain, facilitate and implement that type of high security. 

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How to Protect Your Manufacturing Company

The first step is recognizing that there is a real threat. But, it’s not that easy to identify the security risks or to choose which type of protection you might need. You used to only have to worry about OT (operational technology)  and IT (informational technology). Now, there is also IoT (internet of things), which involves just about any personal or business device that interacts over the internet, from the alarm clock that gets you up in the morning to the smart sensors on the factory floor. Every IoT device is a potential security risk.

Breaches (invasions by cyber criminals) can and will come in all forms in manufacturing as well as in other businesses:  surreptitious worms, viruses, bogus emails, texts, network systems, phishing, identity theft and many others. It’s vital that you train your staff to recognize these threats on their computers, phones and all other devices that connect to the internet.

Here at SWAT, our team is experienced in dealing with these types of threats for manufacturers and can help you mitigate your risks and continue to produce safe products. And all our managed service agreements include cyber security and ongoing cyber security training for your team. We’re local, experienced and invested in the success of our customers. Contact us or book a meeting.  A quick discussion, online or in person, will give you valuable insights into your IT needs and risks. 

Don’t take the bait! Download our Phishing Prevention Cheat Sheet

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Steve Fawthrop

Steve Fawthrop joined SWAT Systems July 2020 as Manager, New Client Development. He has a career in B2B sales, with additional background in advertising and marketing, working with clients as a direct account manager and sales team manager. He is from the Seattle area, including a graduate of the University of Washington.

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