For several years now, cybersecurity experts have often cited the following industries as the “most targeted” or “most vulnerable to cyber attacks”: healthcare, government agencies, financial services, higher education, and small to midsize businesses. It’s easy to see why. Many of them have databases holding millions of personal information, they handle large volumes of online transactions, and they hold valuable intellectual properties (IP).
On the other hand, manufacturing is one of the sectors that is listed in some years but overlooked in others. Do not be fooled into a false sense of security by this, because in 2016, the manufacturing industry was the second most-attacked industry behind healthcare. But while other industries suffered bigger, more headline-grabbing attacks in subsequent years, the threat to manufacturers still continued.
For hackers, manufacturing companies remain primary targets due to their continued use of obsolete machinery, which no longer receive support from their manufacturers. This makes them more vulnerable to cybercriminals’ attempts to steal valuable IPs and sensitive information for ransom or for sale to competitors.
The threat is real… and global
A Chinese hacking group has been targeting several Japanese manufacturing, infrastructure, and heavy industry companies for several years now. South Korean electronic manufacturing companies have had their IP and blueprints stolen by hackers. In Germany, cyberthieves stole technical trade secrets from a steel manufacturing plant. Worse, these criminals may do more than just steal. In one incident, a cyberattack on a German mill led to the meltdown of its furnace; luckily, no casualties were reported.
In October 2017, the US government issued a rare public warning to energy and industry firms that they were targets of hackers. Alarmingly, the manufacturing sector is still not held to a high standard of security compliance, unlike healthcare or financial services. But manufacturers, especially those in the Inland Empire, need not wait for the government to impose security standards.
Here’s how Inland Empire manufacturers can protect their networks from threats outside and within.
Watch out for these 10 commonly overlooked cybersecurity risks
- Risk #1 Failure to properly define and enforce policies — It’s difficult to enforce rules and make people accountable when you don’t have clearly defined policies in the first place.
- Risk #2 Not having several layers of defense — Having only a single line of defense for your cybersecurity system makes your network highly vulnerable, no matter how sophisticated your defense system is.
- Risk #3 Too much accessibility — Not everyone should have access to everything. Accessibility should be limited only to those who need particular data.
- Risk #4 Unsecured workflows — Wrong configurations expose the system to vulnerabilities.
- Risk #5 Default installation of software — Cybercriminals love to exploit the vulnerabilities of default software. For hackers, the more popular the software, the more inviting it is to hack.
- Risk #6 Default configurations are vulnerable — It is common for most default configurations to allow devices to join a network, which is unsafe.
- Risk #7 Authentication methods are weak — Nowadays, it’s not enough to rely on passwords. Two- or even multifactor authentication is now necessary to keep hackers at bay.
- Risk #8 Inadequate testing — Security systems need to be properly tested to ensure that vulnerabilities are addressed and necessary changes are made.
- Risk #9 Failure to put adequate auditing process — Auditing involves proper risk assessment and management, as well as adequate internal controls.
- Risk #10 Lack of or inadequate business continuity plans — A continuity plan is necessary so that your business processes can continue in case there’s an emergency or a disaster.
Invest in OT and IT security
Manufacturers should invest in security for both operational technology (OT, also known as ICS or SCADA security) and information technology (IT). OT security prevents disruptions in production, while IT security prevents downtime and data or IP theft.
Invest in manpower for your cybersecurity
Most manufacturers do not have the right manpower to address threats to their IT. They can put up their own internal IT department, which is capital-intensive. Or they can partner with a trusted managed IT services provider (MSP) like Zeta Sky.
By outsourcing their cybersecurity and other IT needs to Zeta Sky, manufacturers can enjoy peace of mind. Our experts can set up automated tools that can minimize downtime and protect their systems from cyber threats. And we can easily scale up or down the scope and range of services, depending on their needs.
Start with a Complimentary Network Security Assessment, no strings attached!
Are you unsure where to start with improving your cybersecurity? Then take advantage of Zeta Sky’s complimentary Network Security Assessment. We will identify your operational security issues and recommend how to fix them. The assessment takes place in three steps:
- Onsite audit — A Zeta Sky consultant comes onsite to interview your key staff members and learn about your business processes. He analyzes your systems to uncover security risks.
- Report of Findings — The consultant outlines any identifiable threats and the best ways to fix them.
- Zeta Sky improvement roadmap — After a comprehensive analysis, our team sits down with you and proposes recommended solutions, citing their pros and cons. We develop a plan that you can execute in-house, with your current vendor or with Zeta Sky.
Zeta Sky has helped other California manufacturers stay secure with managed IT services. See what Injen, one of our manufacturing clients, has to say.
Still wondering if your cybersecurity is up to scratch? Contact us today to schedule a complimentary Network Assessment, no strings attached!