Manufacturing Industry Falling Behind in Cybersecurity

Manufacturing Industry Falling Behind in Cybersecurity

Today’s businesses are more at risk of cyber attacks than ever — but they’re also more prepared to handle these attacks. However, new reports show that many manufacturing businesses are still failing to have the proper cybersecurity planning and processes in place. In doing this, they’re still extremely vulnerable to having their operating systems attacked.

The manufacturing industry is a major part of the global workforce, with 12.5 million manufacturing workers in the U.S. alone. And according to Rebecca Taylor, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, many manufacturing companies keep their cybersecurity attacks secret or don’t even realize they’re happening.

In a recent poll, 47% of manufacturing businesses say they have not experienced any cybersecurity attacks. But research shows that manufacturers remain among some of the most vulnerable businesses to cyber attacks.

One possible reason for this vulnerability is that many manufacturers are trying to use new, modern technology with out-of-date operating systems. Additionally, many companies struggle to secure their industrial control system because they can no longer rely on physical isolation alone.

Unfortunately, today’s hackers are developing new and improved methods of breaking through business security system every day. Among manufacturers, one of the biggest threats remains flash drives, which can be brought in and out of facilities without much notice. In fact, 18% of manufacturers polled admitted to having a removable media breach. But methods of ransomware can vary and can easily trick unsuspecting employees into giving up data, information, or even money.

Because of the ever-changing methods of cyber attacks, it can be difficult for companies to prepare for them. But the recent data reported by Taylor shows alarming unpreparedness among manufacturers. Data shows that only 40% of manufacturers polled reported employing a chief cybersecurity officer, with even fewer having a specific person responsible for manufacturing cybersecurity.

The amount of data created each day has grown to incredible amounts over the past several years. IDC expects the digital universe to reach over 40 ZB before 2020. With that much information, hackers have easier access to obtaining information they shouldn’t have. This is why data security is so important, and why it’s a major concern that the manufacturing industry is falling behind.

Manufacturers should focus on having a cybersecurity plan that covers digital supply networks, connected devices, and smart factories. According to Taylor, manufacturing companies, in particular, should “Do a risk assessment and identify vulnerabilities.” While this won’t solve the cybersecurity problem, it’s a good place to start.


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