Manufacturing Cybersecurity: Critical Components for Risk Assessment

By the second quarter of 2020, cyberattacks targeting manufacturers accounted for 33% of all incidents across all industries with losses totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Small businesses are also at risk.

Critical components need to be assessed to achieve a robust cybersecurity system.
Critical components need to be assessed to achieve a robust cybersecurity system.

According to a new report from PMMI Business Intelligence, many manufacturers are still not aware of the tangible risks that result from a lax cybersecurity approach, even despite the growing frequency of cyberattacks directed at manufacturers and the heavy financial burden of costly fixes and expensive downtime. And the speed of industry innovation has often outpaced the digital security infrastructure at manufacturing sites.

Cybersecurity for manufacturers encompasses more than log-in security and email scams. Every sensor connected to a machine, every machine connected to a network, and every network connected to a centralized control system are potential pathways for cyber criminals.


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Since every connected device at an operation can potentially be exploited in a cyberattack, manufacturers must be cognizant of the fact that their systems, physical infrastructure, and employees, must all be protected from nefarious outside forces seeking to gain entry into the operation.

There are critical components that need to be assessed to achieve a robust cybersecurity system:

• Perimeter or network detection and firewalls to safeguard vulnerable points, such as: sensors, actuators, anything with an IP address.

• Implementing cybersecurity best practices and end-point management.

• Cybersecurity budgeting, staff training, and keeping up to date.

Said one Director of a managed services provider, “Best practices for cybersecurity require a holistic approach across the entire company at every vulnerable point of entry.” And another Managing Director at Cyber Partner said, “At this time in our world, it is not if there will be an attack on your company, it is when, and that statement applies to all companies regardless of size.”


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In the first quarter of 2020, attacks targeting the manufacturing sector accounted for 11% of all cyberattacks that occurred across all industries, and by the second quarter, cyberattacks targeting manufacturers accounted for 33% of all incidents across all industries. In 2020, 28% of all breaches recorded occurred at small businesses.

This increase in attacks is especially alarming given the growing cost to manufacturers that experience a cyberattack. According to the report, in 2020, the average cost of a cyberattack stood at around $3.86 million, and that does not include the impacts of lost opportunity or damaged customer loyalty. It often takes manufacturers a significant amount of time to identify, isolate, and resolve a cyber intrusion – on average 280 days to identify and contain, but to completely resolve an attack and address any damage, affected operations must be shut down for an average of two weeks.


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Despite these facts, 34% of manufacturers state that the risks of a cyberattack and the need to implement a cybersecurity defense are not even on their radar for consideration. And in many cases, manufacturers have not kept up with plans to safeguard their technology infrastructure, even if they had them previously.

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Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, “2021 Cybersecurity: Assess Your Risk”

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