By using cybersecurity hygiene practices, manufacturers can protect sensitive data and internet-connected assets from potentially detrimental attacks.
Manufacturing has changed for the better in the past few decades. With the rise of IoT, manufacturers can view and analyze data from all points of the production process to improve efficiency and cut down on waste.
Unfortunately, technological advancements come with a hefty price: cyberattacks threaten to destroy companies by exploiting data and damaging industrial assets.
Thankfully, manufacturers can avoid these attacks by implementing cybersecurity practices into their businesses. Learn more about the importance of cybersecurity in manufacturing below.
Securing your manufacturing process against cyber threats
What is cybersecurity and when did it become a concern?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting and securing internet-connected systems, programs, data, and networks from malicious cyberattacks.
Malicious individuals or groups, commonly known as attackers, hackers, or cyberthreats, attempt to infiltrate systems through methods such as malware, ransomware attacks, and social engineering.
Malware is software that can harm a computer or network. Ransomware attacks are when hackers lock an individual’s computer and demand payment or information to unlock it. Social engineering uses trickery and human interaction to coax individuals into falling for attacks.
Cybersecurity became a concern in manufacturing in 2010 when Iranian PLCs were hacked by computer “worms” called Stuxnet that made sensitive data vulnerable and caused centrifuges to self-destruct.
After this attack, the manufacturing world convened to raise awareness about cyberthreats and encourage companies to protect their systems.
Why is cybersecurity so important in advanced manufacturing plants?
Manufacturing is the most common targeted industry for cyberattacks.
As manufacturing progresses with more integrated systems and the advancement of IoT technology, manufacturing plants and facilities are becoming even more vulnerable to attacks like Stuxnet.
By establishing secure systems, programs, and networks, manufacturers can continue improving their processes with smart tech without the fear of an attack. Other benefits of practicing cybersecurity and risk management include:
- Protection of your employees’ data
- Improved recovery time after a breach
- Confidence to use data to pursue more efficient manufacturing conditions
How to secure your systems and data against hackers
Set up your business for success by taking the time to secure your internet-connected devices and equipment against hackers.
Take these steps to improve your security and protect your data:
- Perform a risk assessment to determine your current level of security.
- Hire a cybersecurity professional and integrate them with your IT department. They can develop firewalls and other security frameworks to defend your systems.
- Educate employees on how to avoid cybersecurity attacks, such as phishing.
- Become knowledgeable in cybersecurity literature and standards, such as those by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
- Consistently monitor and evaluate potential security threats.
- Be prepared for a breach. Practicing exercises such as simulations will prepare your teams for a breach and ensure that every team member acts accordingly.
Staying on top of security is a constant yet necessary task. By adding these routines and practices into your manufacturing business, you can protect precious data and assets from exploitation while continuing to grow your business.
Want to start on the path to a smarter factory?
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