Mitigating Manufacturing Security Threats

It used to be that only certain sectors, such as healthcare and government, were targets of cybercrime. However, now with the widespread advancements in technology, cybercriminals have expanded their focus and are pursuing new industries such as manufacturing.

Manufacturing organizations are falling victim to cyber-attacks, including the notable WannaCry and Nyetya ransomware attacks. These attacks are causing real damage, as Cisco’s 2017 Midyear Cybersecurity Report (MCR) found that 28% of manufacturing organizations reported an average of 14% revenue loss due to attacks.

The Manufacturing Ecosystem

To understand the threats and risks associated, organizations must recognize the current pace of digital transformation within the industry.

Industry 4.0

According to the World Economic Forum, the globe is currently entering Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A term coined by Klaus Schwab, the merging of physical, digital and biological technologies categorizes this fourth industrial era. This revolution benefits industries and organizations through rapid automation and connectivity.

Digital Supply Network (DSN)

Within the manufacturing industry specifically, this transformation changes the way industrial organizations work fundamentally. Historically, these organizations functioned on a traditional linear supply chain. With new technologies, organizations are developing digital supply networks (DSN), using a variety of information sources and locations for designing, producing and distributing.

As a result, these systems are naturally more open, dynamic, integrated and interconnected. With heavy adoption, DSN’s are used as a competitive advantage, as it allows manufacturers to increase efficiency and lower operational costs.

Age of the Machines

DSN’s often require several technologies, whether directly in the manufacturing plant or indirectly through a third-party contractor. The necessary tech stacks typically consist of the common Internet of Things (IoTs) devices including desktops, tablets, printers and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices. IIoT devices are critical for the machine-to-machine communication required in manufacturing.

Industry Evolution Welcomes Vulnerabilities

The introduction of advanced technology has made the manufacturing industry particularly vulnerable to security risks and threats. The following trends make manufacturing plants more susceptible to breaches and cybercrime:

Reliance on Connected Devices

Manufacturing companies are putting an increased reliance on technologies with little to no security considerations, such as IoT and IIoT devices. These devices are constantly being compromised by botnets and malware, often leading to a cyber attack such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Shortage of Security Personnel

Manufacturing organizations are experiencing a lack of skilled cybersecurity personnel, who are responsible for implementing and maintaining a formal security strategy. The shortage of talent is resulting in organizations having no or outdated security programs.

Poor Vendor Management

Almost more than half of manufacturing organizations use six or more vendors. Managing numerous vendors can become very complex, causing security gaps, inefficient change management, lower quality standards, and increased risk of non-compliance.

Security Best Practices

Although there are many emerging vulnerabilities within the manufacturing industry, there are still many ways in which an organization can prepare and prevent an attack. Organizations can begin to mitigate manufacturing security threats by following these best practices:

Beyond organizational best practices, manufacturers can also utilize existing compliance and cybersecurity assessments to analyze, test, and measure the effectiveness of their security programs and environment. Industry-related solutions include ISO 9001, SOC 2, Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessments

To learn more about compliance and audit solutions configured for manufacturers and their specific needs, contact us or call 1-888-702-5446 to have an experienced professional answer your questions.