Whether you are bullish or bearish about business conditions through year-end, inflation will continue to drive motives for efficiencies. Manufacturers rely on people, information, and technologies to run their operations. With limited resources and many priorities, the manufacturing industry needs cybersecurity guidance and practical and cost-effective solutions to limit waste and harm.

Cybersecurity In Manufacturing

Keeping customers coming back can be a real challenge, so how do you know what to do to keep your customers happy? The old trifecta was price, quality, and turnaround. The future of manufacturing will include risk, which makes building resilience in operations vital.

Supply chain dependencies continue to impact production volumes and input costs. Labor and material shortages are not the only pressure; cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry continues to capture headlines. The devastating outages caused by data breaches impact the manufacturer and its customers. Depending upon the manufacturing business, some or all of those customers are other manufacturers.

Regarding that purchase order, there will be delays in production and shipment. This theme is not the conversation you want to hear, and even worse, this is not the conversation you want to have with your customers. Leadership teams can make cybersecurity contributors their biggest allies to grow and protect the business by embracing discipline and well-defined processes.

This threat scenario occurred; the line is down due to mechanical failure.This threat scenario occurred; the line is down due to mechanical failure.

Threats To Manufacturing

It is advisable to define a threat, which many people often misunderstand. A threat is a who or a what that needs explaining within the context of your scenarios. Is it a human, mechanical, or Mother Nature-related threat event?

Then we need to consider the threat action. Is it malicious, human error, mechanical or process failure, weather, or other events? These considerations build a context for the threats within your manufacturing business or across business units.

These threats would not exist without assets. This scenario explains the concept of asset, threat, and loss well. Mark from the Finance department takes a laptop home to work on a report. He stops at a gas station to pick up bubble gum for his son’s baseball game during the drive home. Mark is in and out in a flash.

His son’s team squeaked out a come-from-behind victory in the 9th, and Mark is ecstatic. They return home that evening, and Mark opens the back door after pulling into the garage. Where’s the laptop? No, not under the jacket or on the floor. Where did it go?

In this scenario, you likely think an opportunistic person (threat) swiped (action) the laptop (asset) from the car at the gas station or baseball game. That would be a reasonable conclusion based on the little details.

However, a substantial amount of confidential financial and customer data resides on the laptop. In this case, the data has more value as an asset than the laptop’s cost. Mark protected the information on the computer with a six-character account password, which didn’t take long to break.

The criminal possession and control of the stolen laptop containing confidential financial and customer data violates confidentiality and triggers a series of loss events for the manufacturer.

Cybersecurity for the Manufacturing Industry

Cybersecurity for smart manufacturing is holistic. Successful change efforts do not require Six Sigma to integrate visibility between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). These changes in human behavior occur when everyone is working toward a better result.

Industry 4.0 manufacturing gives you access to the real-time data and insights you need to make smarter, faster decisions about your business and supply chain. Integrating advanced computing to manage and optimize manufacturing processes with the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, IT, and OT.

Securing data assets from disclosure and disruption is critical to realize the efficiencies and profitability of smart manufacturing investments. Most manufacturing customers expect their sensitive information to be protected from theft, disclosure, or misuse. Will your customers overlook indiscretions that break trust?

Manufacturing data security varies significantly from application security to identity and access management. Information security in manufacturing is not as many vendors try to convince you. The best practice, point and click, everyone is doing it, one size fits all lack of critical thinking continues to plague the manufacturing industry.

Productivity and first-pass yield improve through stability initiatives.Productivity and first-pass yield improve through stability initiatives.

Manufacturing Security Solutions

Cybersecurity for manufacturing companies must evolve because threats to your business change over time. Verizon research states that the top three resources used in breaches are servers, people, and user devices (desktops, laptops, mobile phones). Stakeholders need to review their cybersecurity effectiveness regularly to avoid funding obsolescence.

There are five practices you and your employees can begin implementing immediately to protect your people, devices, and data. The NIST framework offers the following five steps: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover to improve cybersecurity for manufacturing companies.

  • Identify: Develop an organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities. This first step is where most companies have skipped during their haste to feel better about doing something.
  • Protect: Develop and implement appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical services.
  • Detect: Develop and implement appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event.
  • Respond: Develop and implement appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity incident.
  • Recover: Develop and implement appropriate activities to maintain resilience plans and restore any impaired capabilities or services from a cybersecurity incident.

The best cybersecurity tools for manufacturing businesses are not enough without enforcing these three steps. All three are observable through action and not words alone.

  1. The IT team and system users must admit when they have problems.
  2. Immediately speak up when deadline delays may occur.
  3. Executive leadership views cybersecurity as a strategy to retain and gain customers.
Improved reliability reduces safety stock inventory and frees cash flow. Improved reliability reduces safety stock inventory and frees cash flow.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Customers From Attacks

Assumptions and bias continue to derail efficiency efforts because misplaced beliefs continue to be accepted as accurate or as confident without proof. Business security ratings as sufficient for data security weaknesses during quarterly priorities evaluations. Resources to understand the flaws that require action are either postponed or ignored.

Disruptions from cyber threats occur daily and render successful manufacturing operations unable to transact. Shared understanding is your force multiplier, allowing for effectiveness through higher-value conversations, knowledge transfer, and actionable insights. Improved decision-making awaits as you focus on budget preparations to build your business and protect your assets.

It is impossible to understand all your risks completely. You begin to eliminate uncertainty and regain financial control. Partnering with an outside firm remains a prudent choice for enhancing cybersecurity. Suppose you were to partner up with us.

In that case, our mutual objective is to begin at step one and Identify what information and assets are truly critical to your business. Then Identify the level of tolerance leadership can withstand in the event of loss or unauthorized access.

You can coordinate a time to speak to a team member today or find a series of cybersecurity resources to aid you in this journey. A SWOT analysis matrix is helpful to tackle decisions with purpose.

As a proud supporter of American companies, Certitude Security® is working diligently to inform leaders and facilitate essential asset protection priorities for manufacturers and supply chains throughout the United States.

Problem discussions can be a defining moment in your career. If you are interested in value creation, learn about SPOT-Beam™ by Certitude Security®. We look forward to helping you and your business succeed!