How a Cyberattack Can Derail Manufacturing Production

Cyberattacks can devastate a manufacturer in more ways than one. While most organizations are worried about the cost of ransom payments and potential monetary fines and fees, it’s also important to understand the impact on productivity. If your production lines grind to a halt due to a cyberattack, every minute of downtime will cost you.

A wide breadth of threats

Cyberattacks can disrupt manufacturing production in multiple ways. Often, it depends on the nature of the attack and the way it affects a manufacturer’s ability to maintain operations. Some of the most disruptive attacks include ransomware, denial of service (DoS), and malware. Ransomware attacks can bring production lines to a halt, while DoS attacks disrupt production by preventing workers from accessing critical control systems. Malware attacks can damage or destroy data, disrupt systems, and even cause physical damage to equipment.

As organizations seek to comprehend the threat, part of this understanding must be in how it affects production. For instance, a malware attack that disables automation or shuts down a manufacturing execution system can stall production. On the other hand, a ransomware attack might not necessarily limit production capabilities while the company seeks to resolve it. Every situation is unique, which is why prevention is essential.

The impact of cyberattacks on production

The impact of a cyberattack on manufacturing production can vary depending on the type of attack, its severity, and the company’s preparedness. But even a minor attack can cause significant disruption and financial losses. Cyberattacks interrupt production by:

  • Encrypting or destroying production data or making it inaccessible
  • Disabling or damaging systems used to facilitate production
  • Disrupting the supply chain, making it difficult to obtain raw materials
  • Locking or faulting equipment, which leads to costly repairs and downtime

A recent IBM study estimated the average cost of a data breach to a manufacturing company is $4.47 million. The study also found the average time for a manufacturing company to recover from a data breach is 280 days. In other words, even as production resumes, lingering disruptions can reduce production efficiency and profitability.

As most manufacturers already know, every minute of unplanned downtime equates to dollars lost. It’s a compounding factor that could skew the financial losses of a cyberattack much higher than reported.

How to protect against cyberattacks

Manufacturers can take a number of steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks, including the following tips:

  • Implement a comprehensive cybersecurity program with policies and procedures for risk management, incident response, and employee training.
  • Install and maintain network security solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software.
  • Employ network segmentation to keep operational systems separate from administrative systems and delegate mission-critical resources to secure channels.
  • Regularly back up data so it can be restored if lost or encrypted, and establish disaster recovery processes specific to cyberattacks.

There’s no better way to safeguard against cyber-related production threats than to create a culture of security within the organization. When factory workers understand the impact cyberattacks can have on their work, they’re more likely to take a vested interest in mitigating them.

Cybersecurity safeguards should extend beyond your facility to the partners with whom you choose to work. When it comes to cybersecurity best practices, 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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