Data Security Tips for Manufacturers

15 September 2021

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In 2021 IBM reported that for the first time in five years, manufacturing overtook finance and insurance to become the most targeted sector for cybercrime, with many of these attacks resulting in financial loss and major disruption.

With this in mind, it is imperative that manufacturers continually update their data security and stay on top of technological advances.

Business data is highly sensitive. It can include confidential intellectual property (IP), production, processes, planning, customer information – all of which can be the target of cyber criminals.

Having intellectual property stolen can be detrimental to your business, not only for your bottom line but also for your reputation.

That’s why implementing proper data security is vital to running a successful manufacturing business in the 21st century.

The manufacturing industry is slowly going digital, resulting in better security options, but it also puts those who are technologically outdated at greater risk.

Increasing digitalisation of manufacturing means that there are more opportunities, or ‘entry points’, for cyber criminals to access your data.

The IBM report said vulnerability exploitation was the main entry point for attackers, making up 47% of cyber-attacks in 2021, with phishing making up 40%, removeable media 7%, brute force 3% and stolen credentials 3%.

It is important to implement security across all those targeted areas, especially because malware (software designed to disrupt and cause damage) and ransomware (malware that threatens to publish private data unless a ransom is paid) are growing stronger, increasingly using cloud-based services to blend in and are constantly being changed and experimented on by groups.

Here are a few ways you could make your manufacturing business safer from cyber-attacks:

  • Ensure policy compliance:
    • Cyber Essentials accreditation - Cyber Essentials is an effective, Government-backed scheme that can help you to protect your business, whatever its size, against a whole range of the most common cyber-attacks.
    • Follow GDPR - The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to enhance individuals' control and rights over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business.
  • Reduce human error - This requires decisions in the boardroom and training for employees. Control who has access to your data and make sure this extends to passwords as well.
  • Multi-factor authorisation - Most cyber criminals attack SMEs with complicated supply chains. This is because there are more entry points and they tend to be behind in the implementation of security tech. Multi-factor authorisation has proven effective at reducing cybercrime.
  • Up-to-date applications – Keep applications and software updated, as the older they are the more vulnerable to attack they become.
  • Ransomware – Have a ransomware plan and keep backups. Ransomware has caused huge damage to businesses and is on the increase. For example, the global ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack in 2017 caused losses of around $4 billion to businesses. Many manufacturers were hit, such as automotive giant Renault-Nissan. Although the amount it cost the company is undisclosed, it had to close five plants to stop the attack.

How can POET help?

POET can complement your cybersecurity efforts. Our secure, cloud-based system offers seamless integration across your entire organisation. Only licensed users can access your real time performance data and analytics, adding another level of security to your business and peace of mind for your employees.

Get in touch to learn more.