How to Protect Your Manufacturing Business Against Cyber Attacks

Manufacturing companies are at risk of phishing attacks and ransomware because of their long supply chains and interconnected networks. They also use outdated equipment that is vulnerable to attack. Cyberattacks threaten to disrupt production and harm the business reputation of a manufacturing company. Manufacturers must prioritize cybersecurity and follow best practices to safeguard their information, plant equipment and customers.

Invest in a Secure Network

While companies in other industries are increasing their cybersecurity budgets and hiring CISO roles, manufacturers have slowly realized the need. This is partly because hackers aren’t focused solely on cold, hard cash; they also want the data in a company’s network. With its massive amount of information that could be valuable to other businesses (like financial companies, governments and others), manufacturing is a prime target for cyberattacks.

In addition, manufacturers work with a wide range of third parties to operate their businesses. From shipping companies to investors and storage facilities, these relationships are vulnerable to hackers looking for a way into the manufacturing company’s network.

Whether through malware or ransomware, attacks against manufacturing firms cause significant damage. For example, a ransomware attack can halt production and cost the manufacturer hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and the costs of restoring operations once the ransom is paid. This type of damage makes it important to invest in a secure network. To do so, consider a security solution that provides real-time monitoring and threat detection along with protections like web filtering and firewalls.

Secure Your Network

The advancement of digital technology has boosted innovation, efficiency, and growth across the manufacturing industry. However, it has also created a new landscape of cyber threats for manufacturers. As manufacturers incorporate Industry 4.0 technologies, they must simultaneously improve their security standards or risk the loss of confidential blueprints, industrial espionage, and other costly attacks.

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Firewall systems protect networks from cyber-attacks by blocking access to malicious websites and preventing unauthorized entry into the company’s network. Firewalls can also be configured to block unauthorized network applications and peer-to-peer file sharing. Manufacturers must implement cybersecurity solutions for their devices, systems, and processes. Establishing standard cybersecurity practices like ongoing employee education, device hardening, and multi-factor authentication is an important step. But, to prevent a data breach that could threaten the company’s operations, profitability, and even its existence, manufacturers must also implement solutions such as edge micro-segmentation to secure legacy devices and limit lateral movement. This strategy will make sure manufacturers are ready to protect against a growing wave of cyberattacks by using cybersecurity resources for manufacturers customized for their specific settings.

Secure Your Data

The rapid evolution has made it possible for manufacturers to produce goods faster and at a lower cost. However, these new technologies also increase attack surfaces and create vulnerabilities that make manufacturing businesses an easy target for cybercriminals.

Manufacturers are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks because of their many endpoints, legacy systems, long supply chains, and the wide-reaching impact of a breach. Furthermore, manufacturers often work with multiple partners, making it difficult to coordinate responses to cyberattacks.

As such, cybersecurity is only sometimes a top priority for the manufacturing sector. Additionally, employees may need to be aware of the risks involved in their jobs. This lack of awareness creates weaknesses that hackers can exploit.

As a result, if you are not regularly backing up your data, it cannot be easy to recover from a cyberattack. To mitigate these risks, you should establish password policies and use firewalls to prevent unauthorized access to your information. It would help if you also considered encrypting your most sensitive data to protect it from cybercriminals.

Secure Your Network Applications

While IoT systems enable greater productivity, efficiency and growth in the manufacturing sector, they also pose new risks. This is because these systems connect to business networks via the Internet and can be accessed by outside parties, thereby putting your company’s information at risk of cyber intrusions.

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This can include financial records, tax data, product designs and more. The best way to mitigate this risk is to ensure that you have the correct security settings in place and that your databases are automatically backed up regularly, such as once a day or once a week.

Moreover, your employees should be trained to spot suspicious emails and avoid clicking on links. This will improve your employee’s cybersecurity hygiene and reduce the likelihood of a successful attack. Notably, most cyberattacks use commodity tools and techniques that a defense-in-depth strategy can easily counter. This will give your business the resilience to cope with more bespoke attacks.

Secure Your Supply Chain

Manufacturing companies need to be more proactive in securing their supply chains. This includes addressing the security of their tech suppliers and engaging those at key steps in the supply chain to ensure they have the right policies in place.

Cyber attacks aren’t solely focused on cold, hard cash; hackers want to get their hands on information that has value to them. This could be personal information, government data, or even the company’s intellectual property and operational information. Manufacturing companies with inadequate cybersecurity plans often have this type of information that could be valuable to hackers. Plus, small and medium-sized businesses are often less prepared for cyber attacks, making them a more attractive target as their networks are easier to access.

To prevent attacks, mapping out all access points to sensitive data should be a priority. In addition, implementing questionnaires for all vendors to complete and reviewing those regularly should be part of an organization’s security strategy. Also, it is essential to ensure that procurement teams ask for the right documentation from their tech suppliers.

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