A High-Level Approach to Securing Manufacturing Data Against Cyberattacks

As we enter an election year, there’s big buzz about election interference. Evidence of hacking attempts in 2016 have paved the way for reports of more attempts in 2018 and 2019, targeting elections of various sizes and magnitudes. It’s indicative of a problem that’s only growing larger: foreign interference in the form of cyberattacks. And while the focus is on politics, industry has just as much reason to fear these attacks.

A grim look at the state of cybersecurity

Some staggering numbers were recently outlined in the 2019 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report ― a report designed to gauge the security of global cyber infrastructure against foreign attacks. More than 391,689 new modes of cyberattack were identified, along with 74,000 “never-before-seen” complex attacks. It all adds up to one eye-popping statistic: a 217% increase in Internet of Things (IoT) cybercrimes.

As manufacturing marches into a new age and the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) grows in importance, industry has become a magnet for cyberattacks. The target? Confidential data on everything from proprietary manufacturing plans, to personnel files, to financial data, and more.

Make data protection a priority

With the rise in IIoT cyberattacks, manufacturers have to consider better data security practices. This stems not only from data storage, but data handling and access as well. Manufacturers need to practice National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) data protection standards at every phase. Here’s how:

  • Identify and understand potential data security risks
  • Create and implement cybersecurity policies and practices
  • Train employees on proper data handling and security
  • Control and limit access to information at every phase
  • Set up systems for detecting cyberattacks or data abuse
  • Create a response process for cybersecurity incidents
  • Create backups and audits for managing and protecting data

The idea is to create a continuum of protection that stretches from the point of data creation, through the storage and accessibility of that data. And, in the event of a data breach, it’s critical to have a plan for recognizing how the attack happened, what was taken, how to recover it and, most importantly, how to prevent it from occurring again.

Recognize the potential for data abuse

Manufacturing becomes more connected at every level with each passing month. Cloud infrastructure has enabled both large and small digitization. In some cases, it’s as simple as having a shared email server for all C-level managers. In other cases, it’s a robust framework of IIoT-enabled sensors generating a constant stream of machine data.

As the amount of data grows, data management is critical. More data means more reason for cyber attackers to target your facility. Valuable information can be stolen and sold or used against you. Even intangible data that’s only important to the owner can be used for ransom or blackmail to more critical information. All data, no matter how innocuous, needs protection.

Whether your factory has been affected by a cyberattack or has successfully evaded one thus far, now’s the time to prioritize data protection. Manufacturing is on track to become even more digital as time marches on. Start your framework for data management and protection now, so you can scale it as needed.

Limiting access to data also extends outside of your factory. That means partnering with a reliable, reputable service provider for outside repairs and maintenance. You can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
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