What steps are you taking to make sure your manufacturing organization isn’t the victim of cyber hacking and an information systems security breach?

Cyberattacks on manufacturers are increasing with attackers stealing valuable intellectual property (IP) and trade secrets and positioning themselves for financial gain.

The threats are real and on the rise

According to a study from Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI)  on “Cyber Risk in Advance Manufacturing,” nearly half of surveyed manufacturing executives lack confidence that their assets are protected from external threats.

Results of the study indicate nearly 40 percent of surveyed manufacturing companies were affected by cyber incidents in the past 12 months, and 38 percent of those impacted indicated cyber breaches resulted in damages of more than $1 million.

Accelerated pace of change in technology

The study found that the manufacturing industry is likely to see increased application of technology due to emerging trends, such as:

  • Large scale investments in IP and exponential technologies
  • Exploration of industry 4.0 digital manufacturing opportunities and increased interconnectivity of the industrial ecosystem
  • Rapid adoption of sensor technology, smart products and Internet of Things (IoT) strategies and analytics to drive increased customer service and business efficiency

The existing technology footprint coupled with the accelerating pace of change in business and manufacturing technology will have a huge impact on the breadth and complexity of the cyber risks manufacturers will need to address moving forward.

Responding to the threats

Large Canadian resource corporations are facing new digital threats including cyber-security breaches, online ransom requests and the leaking of confidential records.

In a recent example, Microsoft Services, on advisement from Microsoft Cyber Security experts, presented to one of Canada’s largest resources companies that they were vulnerable to security threats. While the company didn’t react immediately, a few days after the warning they contacted Microsoft Services regarding a cyber ransom request.

Microsoft responded quickly to the security breach and saved this resource manufacturer from further damages, by providing them with greater digital security. The company has now put the following into place to minimize risk:

  • An appointed security architect
  • Setting up multi factor authentication
  • Hardening the findings from the breach with a Microsoft Active Directory Dedicated Support Engineer
  • Modernizing legacy servers

The project team continues to work closely with the client to deliver solutions and build out long term road maps detailing the steps needed for them to transform and better react to future incidents. Microsoft Services was uniquely positioned to bring all the various experts together to quickly respond to an urgent threat challenging the business operations of a valued customer. For them, it is imperative to mitigate corporate cybersecurity risks to maintain confidence with investors.

Microsoft’s Investment in Security

More than a billion dollars in security research and development is spent every year, and Microsoft recently announced its Cyber Defense Operations Centre; a state-of-the-art facility that brings together security response experts from across the company to help protect, detect and respond to threats in real time.

In addition to this, Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS has Credential Guard, Device Guard and improved security features such as BitLocker, which means security events related to client device management requiring IT remediation are reduced or avoided altogether.

Prevention Methods for Manufacturers

If you haven’t already done so, Microsoft Services can work with you to ensure the following key activities are implemented to help ward off Cyber Crime in your organization:

  • Vulnerability Management Plan – helping identify holes where often hackers find their way in
  • Prioritization of Security Awareness – educating employees on suspicious emails/activity
  • Incident Response Plan – ensuring maximum effectiveness should a breach occur
  • Securing systems and servers – ensuring hardened security features implemented

Manufacturers can never be certain that they are 100 percent protected from a cyber-attack. However, by enforcing effective measures, they will be able to build resilience from the potential threats.