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Advanced manufacturing in the enterprise promotes improving processes to build profits at scale. For multi-establishment businesses, business unit or firm-level decisions can be at odds with corporate-level initiatives and mandates.

When evaluating strengths and weaknesses in a decentralized manner, you expect problems as aggregated data is used for decision making and corporate planning. Many people assume that these massive businesses have comprehensive cyber security capabilities to secure and protect their advanced manufacturing capacity.

Enterprise manufacturers are still susceptible to cyber attacks. We will discuss some of the threats that enterprise manufacturing businesses are facing today. Can common enterprise security solutions meet corporate needs, or does leadership require additional focus to secure their large operations? Let’s find out.

What is advanced manufacturing?

Advanced manufacturing is the use of innovative technologies to improve processes and products. Over time, research and innovation lead to exciting developments that create new products and processes with cutting-edge technologies.

Advanced manufacturing can include production activities that depend on the information, automation, computation, software, sensing, and networking. These digital workflows require uptime and reliability to increase factory performance and product quality.

If the U.S. plans to regain leadership in advanced manufacturing, new technologies, processes, and skills, especially in the emerging fields of biomanufacturing, cyber-manufacturing, and eco-manufacturing, will be required.

Targeted: No Matter What Size

While hackers and cyber crime organizations devote resources to smaller businesses, this does not mean that criminals do not target enterprise companies. Due to COVID pandemic induced budget constraints, many large companies trimmed their cyber security budget to continue revenue-generating activities.

Compared to smaller companies, where their digital information on the Internet is limited, enterprise businesses have a large digital surface area of IPs and DNS information, also known as a footprint. Larger entities often have numerous applications and devices that are accessible to the Internet.

With limited resources dedicated to protecting these potential entry points, protecting these large companies can seem daunting or near impossible. While larger companies may have more funding for their security programs, this does not mean they are more secure than their smaller counterparts.

Hand holding smartphone over a map with different app icons.Enterprise manufacturers must manage and secure multiple facilities simultaneously.

What threats do enterprise manufacturers face?

Like the attacks that small or medium-sized manufacturing businesses, enterprise-level manufacturers face similar cyber attacks, but on a larger scale. Unlike smaller or mid-sized manufacturing companies, enterprise-level manufacturers have to worry about multiple facilities and thousands of employees to protect from attacks.

While enterprise-level businesses may have standards for conducting security operations, organizational knowledge about each facility’s security is often unknown. Additionally, companies with more employees offer cyber criminals more potential targets of compromise. Some of these threats can range from business email compromise and ransomware.

Here is a list of cyber security threats that enterprise manufacturing businesses will face in 2020:

1. Third-Party Risk

The greatest threats can sometimes come from supply chain connections. Shared network resources and a partner with lax security standards can result in an indirect breach. Hackers often realize that attacking a business head-on is not practical and will attack smaller, less secure partners. Before allowing business partners to access network resources directly, consider creating a shared point of connection. These points will enable the partner to access files transmitted from you but not access the rest of the network. Properly vetting potential third-party partners can reduce the potential for an indirect attack

2. No Incident Response Plan in Place

Manufacturers eventually learn that massive investments in various security products are ineffective. What is the company supposed to do in the case that a security event does occur? Developing an incident response plan can help companies recover quickly and resume their revenue-generating operations. Company security policies should refer to an incident response plan and include the names and contact methods for needed individuals.

3. IoT Vulnerabilities

As manufacturers continue implementing new technologies to pursue smart manufacturing initiatives, many are unaware of the potential dangers. IoT, or the Internet of Things, devices allow businesses to connect and collect data from these devices from anywhere there is access to the Internet. However, this capability can also allow hackers and criminal organizations access to your network. Many IoT devices are considered insecure due to hard-coded passwords or lack of the ability to perform firmware updates. In cases where these devices have open access to the Internet, hackers will target these flaws to access a company’s network.

4. Social Engineering

Every business has experienced some form of social engineering, yet many companies fall prey to these attacks. Social engineering can also include financial fraud and phishing attacks. Victims will receive an email from an email similar to a trusted co-worker to change a payment route. Without verification through another method, many enterprise-sized companies fall victim to these incidents. Proper training and a confirmation chain can thwart many social engineering attempts.

5. Ransomware

Since 2015, ransomware attacks have become more prevalent with each passing year. As the name suggests, ransomware is malware used to hold the data or machines of businesses for ransom. Within the last year, popular manufacturing companies Honda, Steelcase, Mattel, and Campari Group had their global operations and revenue-generating activities at a standstill due to ransomware attacks. These attacks not only affect daily operations but affected their reputations with stockholders and customers. Campari Group received threats about leaking their data to the Internet using hacked Facebook accounts to posts ads about the breach.

Recently, the Office of Foreign Assets Control has pushed to impose fines against businesses and organizations that decide to pay the ransom instead of reporting the incident. Companies will often pay the ransom without reporting the incident to save their reputation and continue business operations as fast as possible.

Are enterprise security products good enough?

No matter the organization’s size, business executives will agree on using some form of cyber security product. However, you may ask yourself if having an enterprise-level security product good enough to protect my data, business, and reputation? The simple answer to this is no. There is no single endpoint security product that will ensure your business is protected.

While more complicated, larger enterprises can better protect their networks by using security products while also lowering the risk humans bring. Integrating proper controls, policies, and training, with trusted security products together is the tried and true method for ensuring that your business stays secure. Conducting regular assessments can also ensure that the tools the company is using are working correctly.

Map and international currency icons appear over a laptop computer.An enterprise cyber security framework can help prevent or limit catastrophic damages and losses.

What are the principles of enterprise cyber security?

When protecting an enterprise-sized business, business owners and stakeholders want to ensure proper precautions are taken, but where do you begin? Companies will often follow certain principles or best practices to protect their data, customers, and reputation. At the same time, many executives would argue that these principles could impact productivity.

In the long run, these principles can help prevent or limit catastrophic damages and losses. Here are five principles that enterprise manufacturing businesses should consider utilizing:

1. Principle of Least Privilege

Users and their permissions should always reflect their role and what they regularly need to do, thus limiting the capabilities of what any user’s account can do on any system. Many businesses and organizations do not practice the principle of least privilege for various reasons; however, this flaw is what hackers and criminal organizations seek. Without any limitations on what an account can do, any user can launch malicious scripts. Additionally, using the principle of least privilege can keep malicious insider threats from accessing sensitive file locations.

2. Encrypting your Data

When protecting your sensitive data, one of the simplest ways is to incorporate some form of encryption. Protecting the confidentiality of your data through encryption can happen in two ways. Encrypted files that are not open or at rest, remain in a secure state that prevents any other user or process. For data that is moving through a network, encryption of information in transit can prevent malicious entities from seeing data captured on a network. Encrypting your data keeps it private, as a secret encryption key is required to read the data.

3. Segmentation

Compared to smaller businesses, where their networks would be considered flat, they are large and are often confusing. Network segmentation is beneficial for a few reasons. First, segmentation helps keep the numerous devices across the network organized. Devices on the network can be managed by machine type, business groups, and users’ type. Secondly, network segmentation can help IT better isolate threats and manage security updates when they are needed. Compared to trying to stop a malware infection on a flat network, it is easier to identify a group of machines and separate them from the network.

4. Multi-Factor Authentication

Enterprise-level businesses may use many different types of software. From email accounts to remote system tools, access to these accounts is essential. Hackers can use various password attacks to access sensitive accounts, but multi-factor authentication thwarts these attempts. Multi-factor authentication requires a secure always-changing key, to be submitted along with the username and password. Multi-factor authentication ensures that only approved users can access their accounts and deny access to others.

5. Regular Patching and Reporting

Committing regularly scheduled updates is one of the most straightforward principles to protect enterprise-sized businesses from various cyber attacks. Many exploits aim at versions of software that old or out-of-date. Some companies will not upgrade due to costs or the ability to do so. With this focus, criminal organizations can use these exploits and access your systems with relative ease. Regular patching can also improve system performance and efficiency. The U.S. National Security Agency shared a list of the top 25 vulnerabilities exploited by Chinese state-sponsored hacking groups. These vulnerabilities are easy to exploit and are often used by criminal organizations to gain business network access.

As a proud supporter of American manufacturing, Certitude Security® is working diligently to inform leaders and facilitate essential asset protection priorities for manufacturing businesses throughout the United States. If you are interested in learning about the empowerment services that Certitude Security® can offer, visit our website or coordinate a time to speak to a team member today.