Why Cyber Security Matters in Manufacturing

The issue of cyber security is one of the most important topics facing our businesses today. From data breaches to the theft of intellectual property (IP), there are a huge number of risks which poor cyber security can pose to the manufacturing industry. And with the news that hackers targeted 1 in 5 UK businesses in 2017, this threat is increasing – especially as digital hacks are now more common than ever.

While digitisation such as cloud manufacturing software has transformed the efficiency and physical safety of manufacturing, it’s unfortunately also opened the door to cyber criminals. If you’d like to find out more, read on. In this article, we’ll be explaining why cyber security is so important in the manufacturing sector.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the inter-connectedness of different devices, many of which are active in the manufacturing industry. This connectivity has proved invaluable in boosting efficiency, productivity, and convenience – however, it’s also left many manufacturing devices vulnerable to cyberattacks. Because of this, finding new ways to improve their cyber security is of great importance.

How Do Cyberattacks Harm Manufacturing?

Another reason why cyber security is so important in the manufacturing industry is because the effects of cyberattacks can be incredibly harmful – not to mention far-reaching. From losing the trust of their customers to suffering the disruption of their supply chain, manufacturing companies have to carry out intense damage-control in the wake of an attack, and this can be a heavy blow to their productivity.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the key ways in which cyberattacks can harm the manufacturing industry:

Loss of trust

Manufacturing companies store a huge amount of data in their online systems. As they are often the middle men between suppliers and end users, many companies have to store multiple sets of details – and if a data breach compromises any of these datasets, it can cause a business to lose the trust of some of its most crucial contacts.

Drain on financial resources

Large-scale data breaches can lead to legal problems, both for the company itself and for its affected business partners. The subsequent loss of productivity, combined with legal fees, can easily devastate smaller companies.

In some cases, a manufacturing company which has suffered a breach can also be required to pay financial compensation to any clients or suppliers which have been compromised.

What Should Manufacturers Do to Boost Cyber Security?

The good news is that there are ways in which manufacturers can help protect themselves from potential cyberattacks. One of the most important things a company can do is to identify the digital systems which could place them at risk, before taking steps to plug the gap.

Practices such as penetration testing – the act of launching hacks against your own system in order to find its weak spots – can be invaluable to businesses in the manufacturing sector. Whether it’s inventory software which contains the details of their suppliers, or an employee database, securing these platforms can be an effective starting point for any company that’s keen to arm themselves against online threats.

With the number of cyberattacks increasing year on year, it’s never been more important for manufacturers to make their cyber security a priority.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

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