Connectivity is integral to the Internet of Things (IoT): billions of connected devices in our cars, on our bodies and in our manufacturing facilities. And manufacturers drive these innovations with connected device production.
Simultaneously, the very technology manufacturers create transforms their processes. These transformations can result in increased productivity but can also expose manufacturers to substantial and growing cyberrisks.
Manufacturers realize the problem. In fact, 92% of manufacturers cited cybersecurity concerns in 2016.
Cyberrisk is high for manufacturers
Several technological advances can make manufacturers vulnerable:
- Industrial control systems connected to the internet, including old systems retrofitted for networking
- Flaws in connected products, which manufacturers use to stay linked to customers
- Complex, risky global networks
- Back-office business applications, which manufacturers use to connect to their ICS
External threats aren’t the only risks: 40% of cybersecurity incidents involve employees and can include internal problems such as phishing or pharming, malicious IT system use, errors and mobile device use.
Whatever the source, manufacturers must protect themselves. Unfortunately, rapid technology change doesn’t make defense easy.
Cybersecurity recommendations for manufacturers include:
- Get executives and the board to understand risk magnitude and develop a cyberrisk program.
- Focus on finding cybersecurity talent and eliminating fragmentation in cybersecurity oversight.
- Take all possible measures to protect intellectual property, realizing it should be the top priority.
- Increase security, vigilantly monitor systems, and develop incident response plans.
- Before deploying connected products, embed cybersecurity management mechanisms.
- Stay current on emerging manufacturing cyberrisk threats.
Another wise defensive move is to use a trusted maintenance and repair service to ensure connected equipment operates optimally and is as protected as possible from a cyberbreach.
IoT connectivity leads to many productivity-enhancing manufacturing innovations. However, manufacturers can’t afford to ignore associated connectivity cyberrisks.