While technological advances have certainly had a profound impact on industrial and manufacturing companies, few factories and plants have kept up with best practices to prevent a cyberattack. For far too long, this sector has not considered itself a valuable target for cybercriminals, as they don’t usually handle any significant volume of credit card transactions nor are they known for maintaining robust customer databases filled with personally identifying information. And that’s really all these hackers want, right?! Wrong.

According to a Kaspersky Labs report published in 2017, “manufacturing companies were the most susceptible to cyber threats; their ICS computers accounted for about one-third of all attacks,” so clearly there must be value in manufacturing data for threat actors. As it turns out, the most sophisticated cybercriminals – which often include nation-state adversaries – aren’t particularly interested in stealing credit card numbers or making a quick buck by installing ransomware. They want proprietary intellectual property (IP), and that is something that abounds at manufacturing facilities.

When it comes to protecting IP, implementing some relatively basic cybersecurity solutions can have a significant impact. For example, the use of authentication software, which allows for controlling and identifying user roles and continuously tracking access, and data encryption can go a long way in protecting proprietary business intelligence. Additionally, firewalls and antivirus solutions can be used in conjunction with more sophisticated cyber security solutions as the first line of defense to help protect connected networks from potential threats.

Failing to secure IT infrastructure at manufacturing facilities can have devastating consequences to ongoing business operations and long-term competitive advantages. Don’t let a hacker take your operation offline or worse yet, steal the secrets to your success just because you failed to act. If you’re ready to learn more or want to begin the process of evaluating your current risk and implementing a comprehensive and strategic cybersecurity plan, the team at ATB is here to help by specializing in technology for manufacturing companies.

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