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Guide to Cyber security for Manufacturing Businesses: How to Ensure the Cyber security of your Manufacturing Company

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As manufacturers continue to embrace technology to outpace, outsmart, and outdeliver their competition, they will want to bear in mind the crucial importance of cyber security! Just like how work and life have become digital, so too have criminality and security.

This piece delves into the current cyber security landscape for manufacturers in the USA, highlights the top cyber security threats, and offers a simple yet comprehensive five-step process to secure your manufacturing business against these looming dangers.

A Top Target: The Current Cyber security Situation of Manufacturers in the USA

Manufacturing is one of the top targets of cyber threats today; in 2022, they were the most targeted sector, with a 15% growth in attacks reported into 2023. Within the world of IT support and managed service providers, 32% of them report that clients within construction and manufacturing are among the most targeted; but why?

Manufacturers have a lot to offer cyber criminals compared to most other types of businesses; they can harbor sensitive personal and financial data, intellectual property, digital supply chain connections, and more, while on the flip-side, they tend to have weaker cyber security measures compared to other sectors, while disruption can be particularly costly to them, giving them more of an incentive to give in to ransom payment demands.

One glaring weakness in the manufacturing sector’s cyber security posture is the security weaknesses of their legacy systems and operational technology (OT).

Many manufacturers rely on outdated software and hardware that lack the necessary security features to ward off modern cyber threats. Additionally, there’s often a lack of cyber security awareness among employees, making it easier for attackers to exploit people through tactics like convincing phishing emails, for example.

We’ll examine the top three cyber security threats to manufacturers, the key measures you can take to thwart these threats, followed by a five-step process you can use to secure your manufacturing business.

The Top 3 Cyber security Threats to Manufacturers

The motivations behind cyber criminals here will vary; some are looking for intellectual property on behalf of competitor businesses and nation states. There are also cyber gangs that try to extort money directly from their targets.

The top three methods that they use to compromise manufacturers are:

Ransomware Attacks: A type of malware (harmful software), ransomware locks down access to data and systems until a ransom is paid by the business, making it a big threat to the business continuity, reputation, and finances of manufacturers across the USA and the wider world.

Phishing Emails: Most cyber attacks are connected with user-error at some point in the chain of events. Phishing emails involve cyber criminals donning a disguise as a trusted figure and contacting your users to take an action, like clicking a malicious link. This is often used as a stepping stone for a wider cyber attack on the business.

Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks: The use of devices like smart sensors is revolutionizing the world of manufacturing, but the security of these internet connected devices can often be ignored; they present more digital doorways for cyber threats if they are left unsecured.

Key Cyber security Measures for Manufacturers: A Checklist For Your Business

We’re going to give you a 5-step process for securing your manufacturing business, but first let’s go on a brief survey of the key steps manufacturers can use to secure themselves, with some being swift and significant changes you can make.

Here are some key cyber security measures manufacturers should have in place:

· Regular vulnerability assessments (2x per year)

· Secure password setup (complex, unique, securely stored)

· Data backup and recovery

· Multi-factor authentication

· Encryption of data and devices

· Endpoint (device) protection

· 24/7 network monitoring

· A Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) system

· Network firewall

· User security awareness training

· User access controls, including on OT systems

· Patch/update management solutions

· An incident response plan

· Data governance and compliance software

If your business is not looking too good against this list, not to fret! Taking the steps to ensure the cyber security of your manufacturing business, whether its near us in Denver or elsewhere, can be done with a simple but systematic 5-step approach.

Secure Your Business and Peace of Mind: Get a Free Cyber Risk Assessment

Unsure of your security and compliance posture and need some helpful guidance through the woods? We’re here to help! Book your cyber risk assessment with us today to book a no-obligation insights session, and we’ll help you take your next steps towards a secure business.

A Simple Five-Step Process for Securing Your Manufacturing Business Using Cyber security

Step 1: Conduct a Cyber Security Risk Assessment

Begin by understanding your current cyber security posture so that you can prioritize and roadmap a cyber security plan for your business.

Identify all your digital assets, assess the vulnerabilities in your systems, and evaluate the potential impact of various cyber threats. This assessment will help prioritize your cyber security efforts.

You can work with IT support or managed services providers to get your network a vulnerability assessment alongside penetration testing; these two measures will tell you two things: where there are vulnerabilities in your IT environment, and secondly, what cyber criminals would be able to see and do if they gained access to your network through exploiting these vulnerabilities.

Step 2: Create a Cyber Security Roadmap

You can use the checklist above and the findings of your risk assessments to start roadmapping your way to a cyber-secure manufacturing business.

Prioritize the most common and simple measures first, such as multi-factor authentication and ensuring that all devices are updated, as they can add up to a big difference. You can work with an IT service provider to build a roadmap that is properly prioritized, budgeted, and configured for total security.

Step 3: Implement The Cyber Security Roadmap Although each project in your cyber security roadmap will vary in complexity, ensure that each is well resourced, planned, and holistically implemented. Make successful implementation measurable and testable, and take care to update and align your IT policies with your cyber security measures.

To give an example, if you’re rolling out multi-factor authentication, survey every software in use to see if it is available, consider third-party MFA solutions, and map out all relevant accounts that need to roll out the change. Finally, consider how this will be verified after implementation.

Step 4: Develop and Test an Incident Response Plan

Despite your best efforts, cyberattacks can still occur. Prepare an incident response plan that outlines the steps to take in the event of a security breach. Regularly test and update this plan as your business and security evolves to ensure that your team can respond swiftly and effectively to mitigate the impact of an attack.

Step 5: Reviews and Training

Two things are sure to elevate the chances of business compromise: getting lax on your security posture, and not including the human element in your cyber security. While user awareness training may be a part of your roadmap, it’s important to ensure it’s enshrined in regular trainings and into your onboarding processes for the best results.

Secondly, take care to keep your IT processes, policies, and strategy up-to-date and to test their effectiveness regularly and measurably; in this way, you can keep your foundations firm while innovating as a business.

How can an IT Services Provider Help With My Manufacturing Business’s Cyber security?

An IT services provider or managed services provider can help your manufacturing business to become a leader in cyber security by simplifying and speeding up the process for you, while enriching and ensuring the secure implementation of safeguards across the board. Most IT service providers, including our team here in Denver, have the tools and expertise needed to find and address cyber risks for your business and can offer ongoing support and security management, so you can focus on what you do best with peace of mind.

Final Thoughts

As manufacturers continue to embrace digital innovation, the importance of cyber security cannot be overstated. By understanding the current threats, taking proactive steps to secure your business, and preparing for the possibility of an attack, you can significantly reduce your vulnerability to cyber threats.

Vital to the continuity, long-term profitability and compliance of your business, cyber security is more than just an IT issue, it’s a strategic cornerstone for succeeding in a digital age. Taking the steps to keep your manufacturing business secure today will pay itself off many times into the future ahead; here’s to a secure one!

Discover The Best IT Solutions for Your Manufacturing Business: Talk-Tech with A Free Consultation On Us

Curious to see where IT can make the biggest difference for your business? We’d be glad to help you! This won’t be any ordinary consultation; we make it all about you – answering your questions, asking you the right ones, and helping you to deal with your operational challenges using the power of technology.

We take the pain out of talking-tech; we’ll help you discover better for your business without dragging you through the bits and bytes of it all. After your consultation, you’ll have clear, actionable insights for your business that help you to move forward with clarity and confidence.

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