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Imagine a chemical facility with large boilers and steamers containing hazardous substances. Hundreds of people are inside and in the immediate vicinity of the facility. One of the boilers malfunctions and blows up, and its dangerous contents are let out. Catastrophic damage ensues in a matter of minutes.
Now, imagine a random person doing this through their computer from halfway across the world. Not only is this scenario possible, but it is also quite likely in these times.
We are living in the ‘cyber era’. Anything and everything can be done using computers. Though we still need physical labour to produce things, a number of operations have been taken over by machines. And machines are controlled through computers. Even the physical domain of Manufacturing is turning digital. And with the benefits of digitization come its dangers. According to a survey conducted by IBM, almost half of the players in manufacturing have faced cyberattacks, with some reporting damages of more than $1 million.
How can manufacturers avoid cyber attacks?
While the big ones are attacked for greater rewards, small and medium-sized manufacturing companies are also prone to cyberattacks. As the latter is not adequately equipped to defend against high-level cyber incursions, the criminals involved are at lower risk. The manufacturing sector, in general, is an easy target for cybercriminals. Though this is mostly due to a lack of consistent policies across the sector, individual manufacturers are also to blame. Below, we have expounded on some of the aspects manufacturers can strengthen to improve their cybersecurity.
- Technical upgrades
Install appropriate antivirus and firewall software. It’s your first wall of defence against malware, viruses and other nefarious tools cybercriminals use. While an antivirus will keep your system protected from internal threats, a firewall is necessary to secure the Internet network used by your employees.
- Employee training and authorization
Your employees use the network and other company resources daily. Consequently, they are also the most probable point of entry for attackers. Conduct regular training and workshops to keep your employees updated on online protective measures. Let only a few employees access sensitive data. These measures narrow the entry channel for cyber attackers. Perform an extensive background check on employees before providing them access to the most critical organizational functions and areas.
- General safety principles
A fundamental safety measure against cybercrime is to use strong passwords. This is as true for multi-million dollar systems at manufacturing companies as it is for your personal email. Use complex passwords that have no relevance to you or your organization. Another important step is to take regular backups of your data. This will help you recover lost data in case the system is compromised. Make sure to back up your data on separate servers or preferably on the cloud. This can prove pivotal if the data breach in the organization is deep and the attacker tries to destroy backup files too.
- Professional assistance
There are various insurance schemes available to protect manufacturing companies against cybercrimes. Staying insured may not help you recover lost data, but it can help you cover any resulting financial losses. One of the simplest ways to avoid facing cyber emergencies is to avail of cloud data storage services. You can easily move your data to virtual cloud storage offered by a range of companies. They not only offer better data protection but also eliminate the hassle of data maintenance. Besides, using cloud storage can help you save money on in-house servers, data rooms, cooling systems, etc.
Before the parting words, a sombre fact — not all cybercrimes can be prevented. New ways to attack manufacturing companies and their systems are being developed every day. There is always going to be some damage. The best we can hope for is to mitigate these disasters and recover from them as quickly as possible. By preparing yourself and your organization from the worst, you can deal with most forms of cyberattacks reasonably well. As cyberattacks are an inescapable reality of our times, we might as well stay prepared and ready to counter them.