Manufacturing industries these days are adopting digital technologies to power their systems. But, digital technologies come with the added risk of cyberattacks like phishing and ransomware. 

According to Morphisec’s 2021 Manufacturing Cybersecurity Threat Index, nearly 1 out of 5 manufacturing businesses are victims of a cyberattack. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the cybersecurity risks have substantially increased. Also, research shows that a lack of cybersecurity will cost manufacturers around $6 trillion/annum by 2021. Since manufacturing sector employees started using personal networks at home, hackers found a way to intrude into the web to create havoc.

World over, various federal and state laws govern cybersecurity. For example, in the US, major cybersecurity legislations involve Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 1996, Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and more. Similarly, in India, cybersecurity comes under the purview of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

In this blog, let us understand why the manufacturing industry is vulnerable to cybersecurity risks and how to strengthen cybersecurity at the manufacturing workplace.

Let’s begin!

3 Reasons to Establish Cybersecurity Measures

The manufacturing industry requires cybersecurity measures due to numerous entry points of attack, lack of experience, and the increase in remote work culture.

Let’s understand these reasons in detail.

  • Lack of experience: The 4th industrial revolution resulted in the automation of the manufacturing industry, starting in 2011. Because of the nascent state of automation in manufacturing, the industry leaders lack the experience to devise a full-proof strategy to combat cybersecurity risks.
  • Numerous entry points for cybercriminals: The manufacturing industry is more vulnerable to phishing attacks due to its interconnected setup. Interconnected digital supply networks (DSNs) and IoT (Internet of Things) devices transfer a lot of information. If one device is hacked, the entire supply chain can break down.
  • Increase in remote work culture: With the pandemic fueling the remote work culture, the majority of the manufacturing sector employees work from home using their personal network. It may not have the required firewall protection of an office network. Hence, cybercriminals can easily break through to take advantage of the loopholes. On the other hand, employees themselves may misuse company data, thereby leaking sensitive information.

Ways to Put Cybersecurity Measures in the Manufacturing Industry

Cybersecurity measures in the manufacturing industry can range from employee training, software updates to regular backup of company data.

Let us understand these cybersecurity measures in detail.

  • Training employees to spot and prevent cyber threats: When your employees are well-trained to spot cyber threats, they become proactive in preventing them. For example, they may not open suspicious emails or click on malicious links. In this way, the sensitive business data remains safe in the company servers.
  • Regular software updates (including security patches): Some versions of your software can have bugs that make it more hack prone. Hence, with regular software updates, you can fix the bugs to prevent data hacking. Also, cybercriminals find it challenging to spot security loopholes with standard new software versions. 
  • Backing up office data: Experts suggest that you need to back up your server data at least once a week. If not, a cyber attack can leave you empty-handed and cause business losses. With backup, you may still have access to sensitive personal data for your business.
  • Use multifactor authentication: Multifactor authentication on websites, devices, or applications prevents unauthorized access to your network. For example, you can ask the user to enter a one-time password sent on their mobile phones in addition to login details. Usually, OTP expires after a definite time; hence hackers can find it challenging to guess the OTP.

Final Thoughts: Manufacturing Cybersecurity is the Need of the Hour

Cybersecurity has become a dire need in a world of interconnected digital devices. With numerous entry points and a lack of experience, cybercriminals find an easy route to hack the manufacturing industry systems. As a business, ensure that you keep your software updated, use multifactor authentication, and train your employees to handle cybersecurity risks better.