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Why Cybersecurity Is Critical in Manufacturing

Cloud Security
June 9, 2022

As more and more manufacturing companies adopt Industry 4.0 technology, cybersecurity is always at the top of the list of concerns. After all, data shows that IoT devices can be subject to attack within five minutes of being connected.

With billions on the line in the form of increased efficiency, lower costs, and improved operational excellence, the trend of manufacturers moving toward Industrial IoT will continue. As a result, cybersecurity strategies and best practices are critical to a company’s competitiveness and success.

The Case for Greater Security Infrastructure

While most companies have some level of threat protection, a majority do not have a comprehensive strategy for managing all threat options. But as device proliferation continues and is embedded deeper into operations, several factors point to the need for more robust security requirements within manufacturing.

  1. Cyber Crimes Will Continue to Grow – Just as device connection and IoT technology will continue to provide new and innovative services for manufacturing, cyber threats are on pace to grow with them. It’s estimated that by 2025, cybercrime alone will result in up to $10.5 trillion in damages.
  2. New Technology Means New Learning Curves – Manufacturing is undergoing a revolutionary transition in adopting Industrial IoT. And like any new technology, you don’t often know the threats until you’ve become a victim. Manufacturers need to develop a comprehensive and holistic strategy for building and securing their IIoT infrastructure.
  3. Cyberattacks Can Be Big or Small – Cyberattacks range from extraordinarily complex and sophisticated programming such as DDS and other attacks on the system to tiny afterthoughts such as a simple password that’s easily compromised. Planning for both requires extensive network security efforts and strict training protocols for users performing everyday tasks.
  4. Understand the Value of Manufacturing Data – Manufacturing, to most people, is a “nuts and bolts” job. It conjures images of endless production lines churning out goods on mechanical machinery. That view has often been held by management as well. But Industrial IoT reveals the value of a company’s data. Customer lists, intellectual processes, trade secrets, and staff skillsets can all be exploited to inflict damage. Companies are quickly learning that their data is as vital to their success as the product coming off a production line, and something of that value needs protection.

Tying Systems Together

The manufacturing mindset is accustomed to purchasing machines and equipment incrementally because of its cost. And most manufacturing companies approach security the same way. They may purchase a quality management system one year and a CRM two years later. There may be an upgrade to a new ERP or MES or some other system over further time.

But these systems often silo data and may not be interoperable at all. The result is that when they begin adding IIoT connectivity, this conglomeration of siloed, fragmented systems leaves them open to greater risk of cyberattack.

By learning the value of data as an asset, companies can begin to tie all their systems together to create comprehensive safety pathways for all systems. And the best way to do this is with a proven platform created by manufacturers for manufacturers.

For example, the Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform;allows you to eliminate silos and manage all your data under a single source of truth by using the power of connected IoT devices. This safer way forward also provides real-time actionable insights and seamless, transparent control over business processes.

With data from all systems reporting to a central platform, the need for multiple cybersecurity solutions for separate solutions is eliminated, and companies can deploy centralized security precautions that cover all processes. This solution is more cost-effective and allows manufacturers to leverage the power of smart manufacturing as an integral part of their comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

As you continue to adopt manufacturing technology meant to enhance operations, take care to view your options through the lens of cybersecurity. Look for third-party validation such as the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Certification for added confidence, knowing that the very tools meant to get you ahead won’t introduce additional risk into your organization.

To learn how manufacturers revolutionize their operations while protecting data and limiting risk, visit our security page.

About the Author

Plex Team