The manufacturing industry is more reliant on advanced technologies and networks than ever before. While this enables most companies to increase efficiency, save money, and amp up production, using more technology puts manufacturing companies at a greater risk for cybercrime. To reduce cybersecurity risks, manufacturing companies should remain diligent in taking the necessary steps to reduce their risk.

employees assessing cyber risk manufacturing factory

In 2016, Deloitte collaborated with MAPI to create a report titled “Cyber risk in advanced manufacturing,” which explored the kinds of risks manufacturing companies face when using technology, as well as what companies can do to protect operations from cybercrime. The insights revealed in this report are helpful for companies of all sizes.

All manufacturing companies should be aware of their risks and vulnerabilities in order to better protect operations by increasing their security levels, monitoring technology systems, and preparing for cyber incidents.

Types of Cyber Risk in Manufacturing

There are six main themes of cyber risk that manufacturing companies should be aware of. These include:

  • Executive and board engagement
  • Talent and human capital
  • Intellectual property
  • Industrial control systems
  • Connected products
  • Industrial ecosystems
technology being used at a manufacturing company

Strategies to Manage Manufacturing Cyber Security Risks

There are steps that manufacturing companies can take to significantly reduce vulnerability to cyber security risks. Here are 10 basic strategies that your company can use to manage its risk level:

  1. Identify current risk profile using a risk map. It’s important to keep the risk map updated with new possible risks that could impact the company. It is impossible to mitigate risks if no one knows about them.
  2. Conduct a thorough cyber risk assessment across any and all enterprise, ICS, and connected products currently in use. Ideally, this assessment will be conducted by a third party that can more objectively see current operations.
  3. Align leadership and staff on risk reduction efforts. Sharing risk assessment results with executive and department leaders can help to get everyone on the same page. Review recommended risk reduction strategies and decide which to implement.
  4. Create a risk escalation framework that incorporates the company’s acceptable level of risk and thresholds for when risks should be reported and addressed. It isn’t possible to 100% remove risk so it is important to proactively decide what is acceptable.
  5. Ensure that your company’s cyber risk program meets current industry standards. If you’re unsure of what other manufacturing companies do to mitigate cybersecurity risk, it can make sense to meet with an expert in this space to discuss current best practices.
  6. Customize cybersecurity awareness programs to meet your company’s risk level and employee knowledge. Even companies with tech-savvy employees can increase their security level by implementing regular education programs and awareness initiatives on the latest threats.
  7. Invest in cyber monitoring capabilities and other cybersecurity services for manufacturing companies to increase the likelihood of detecting a breach. The sooner that a cybercrime can be detected, the faster it can be dealt with. This reduces the long term impacts of the breach.
  8. Identify any third-party risks that could impact your operations and do what you can to protect your company against these risks.
  9. Improve (or develop) your company’s incident response plan for when a breach is detected.
  10. Continue to increase staff awareness of cybersecurity risks and educate them about how their actions have a direct impact on the company’s cybersecurity efforts.
assembly line manufacturing company

At Middleground, we can assist your manufacturing company in increasing cybersecurity to protect against growing threats. We can implement backup and disaster recovery plans, advanced threat detection systems, 24/7 monitoring, and threat hunting and analytics. We can even help train staff on cybersecurity awareness.

Contact Middleground today or request a free assessment.