Cybercrime affects manufacturers small and large, public or private. Without clarity of your cyber exposure and the risk to your business, how can you implement the essential security solutions to prevent and detect cyber threats, and respond to events to minimize business disruption and financial losses?

A study released by The Ponemon Institute presented findings in the 2020 Cost of Insider Threats. One of the key takeaways from this study was that credential theft was the most expensive insider threat per incident. Since 2016, both the frequency and cost of such incidents have increased. The frequency of incidents per company has tripled from an average of 1 to 3.2 incidents per year. The average cost had increased from $493,093 to $871,686 in 2019.

Insider threats are an expected source of incidents within any business. However, many leadership teams do not recognize threats from their service providers. Beazley Breach Response Services released a briefing outlining the reported incidents of their policyholders in 2019.

They recorded an increasing number of ransomware incidents that resulted from attacks on managed service providers (MSPs) and other IT service and support companies. In some cases, these attacks halted operations for hundreds of businesses downstream from the attacked IT provider or vendor. Beazley reported other disturbing facts from policyholders:

·      78% of manufacturing losses were caused by hacking or malware

·      39% of all reported incidents in manufacturing were caused by ransomware

·      131% increase of ransomware incidents in 2019 over 2018

·      38% of middle-market companies were impacted by ransomware events

·      62% of small and medium businesses were impacted by ransomware

You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know the problem exists.

What is risk?

Risk is a quantitative measurement of future loss from a given scenario derived from probable frequency and probable magnitude of loss events.

Analyzing and budgeting for risk means forecasting how much money your organization might lose from a given scenario over a given timeframe.

Motives for Action

There are several reasons that a business owner or leadership team would become motivated to understand and manage their risk. Here are three common reasons that spur commitment:

Revenue Growth

  • Taking care of existing customers provides cash flow to pursue growth, factory floor automation, and other digital transformation initiatives. New contracts stipulate increased cybersecurity and insurance requirements. Specific security mandates exist for ISO, CMMC, DFARS, and ITAR compliance. An increasing number of customer contracts mandate security controls, continuous assessments, end-user training, and cyber coverage. Due to loss ratios of insurers, changes are necessary to secure a cyber insurance policy.

Loss Control

  • For many corporations, the cost of downtime is an adequate motive for better planning and execution. Other companies experience the adverse effects of third-party risk from suppliers and vendors. Some contracts have performance clauses that can lead to substantial penalties for delayed shipments. The recent awakening that MSPs and IT service providers are a significant contributor to future loss events. Preventing data breaches and ransomware also rank high on the list, but some owners have to experience a cyber event before they think it is real.


  • Some manufacturers rely upon price more than their reputation to sustain their operation. Being the low-cost leader worked for years, but things have changed. Based on the volume of digital information exchanged and the digital interfaces of systems used to produce and ship products, supply chains are more connected. You are no longer an island, and that means the risk you assume can impact the reputation of your customers.

Identify Your Weaknesses

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Before you can create adequate cybersecurity controls to repel threats, you have to identify your weaknesses and highlight the areas that require the most attention. Conducting regular assessments can help you identify your cyber exposure, evaluate the risk, and determine where to focus your resources.

Understanding the Risk Assessment Process

A cybersecurity risk assessment is the industry-standard method for identifying potential security threats that impact the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of business assets, such as systems, applications, sensitive data, and intellectual property.

Cyber risk commonly refers to the probable chance of financial loss, disruption, or damage to the reputation of an organization resulting from the failure of its information technology systems. Examples of risk scenarios include non-technical or inadequately trained staff, backup operators, technicians, hackers, MSPs, storms, floods, fires, or other environmental dangers.

Risk Assessment Process

Every cyber risk assessment differs, based upon the needs of each business. The risk assessment process generally involves the following focus areas:

  • Understand the scope of the project and why this investment is important.
  • Review the corporate cyber strategy to understand digital trust commitments.
  • Collect relevant data.
  • Analyze current policies, procedures, and security measures.
  • Perform threat and vulnerability analyses.
  • Evaluate information to generate strategic recommendations.

Key Assessment Questions

Along with identifying potential risks, these assessments should also highlight security controls and solutions that can mitigate the chances of attacks, viruses, breaches, or other threats to information assets. Thorough assessments seek to answer questions such as:

  • Where are the gaps in security?
  • Who and what are the risk scenarios most likely to impact the business and cause disruption?
  • How can we minimize the loss caused by cyber attacks?
  • Does each security solution meet the corresponding regulatory requirement?
  • Which solutions are appropriate responses to the identified risks?

The answers to these questions guide informed cybersecurity choices, ensuring companies don’t expend time, effort, and resources on unnecessary or ineffective measures of defense. What’s more, the assessment can highlight overlooked risks that may require more attention than initially planned.

Accountability and Predictability

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You can perform cybersecurity risk assessments on virtually any digital application, device, and process within your business. However, the immediate focus should be on the internal and external systems that are most critical to operations. Essentials can also include the elements that process, store, analyze or transmit sensitive information, such as personal data, confidential company figures, or intellectual property.

A complete risk management process calls for continuous assessments to monitor and review the environment for new threats, as well as align security measures with changes in business processes. Our executive oversight process for continuous cyber exposure services for accountability and predictability is called Inspectionem℠.

Executive Oversight with Inspectionem℠

STEP ONE: Security Strategy and Business Risk Analysis

The first element of your risk assessment is the security strategy and business risk analysis. The process is led by verbal interviews with key team members and executives to generate awareness around the potential cyber risk within your business. This will help you better understand the specific implications of cyber attacks on your company, as well as how we can focus the assessment efforts on your greatest concerns.

STEP TWO: Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

Once we gather the relevant information from your team, it’s time to analyze the environment to determine whether the current safeguards are effective in maintaining data confidentiality and integrity.  Our assessments include three major components:

  1. Scanning the environment to identify and understand the machines and processes used within the environment.
  2. Analyze the scan results to understand what critical vulnerabilities exist, and the potential impact that they could have.
  3. Interrogate exploitable vulnerabilities within the environment and document potential risks affecting your business.

The insights from the assessment and testing will identify how the current security systems are working per your needs and expectations. What’s more, the process may bring to light the alternatives that are the most worthwhile improvements.


In combination, the security strategy, business risk analysis, vulnerability assessment, and penetration testing form the foundation of your cybersecurity priorities. After conducting our assessment, we’ll report on the gaps that exist in your cybersecurity, and co-develop a remediation plan that utilizes advanced tactics, techniques, and procedures.

With a clear understanding of your cyber exposure, you will begin allocating resources toward probable threats that are likely to cause loss. Ongoing assessments will drive accountability and inform future decisions. After all, you cannot manage what you fail to measure.

We help ensure that you implement the products and services your business needs, aligned with your security strategy, and not over-pay for enterprise security solutions that don’t fit your budget. In the absence of that clarity, it’s difficult to protect your network, data, and supply chain without overspending.

Cybercrime affects manufacturers small and large, public, and private. If you’re interested in learning more about your risk exposure, contact us today.

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