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Question of the Year: Is Your Factory Secure?


December 8, 2016 - 0 Comments

It’s that time of year again – the annual board meeting.

As the Head of Manufacturing, you’re ready to go with your presentation and review for the year. Slides look good – production was up and safety improved to just one minor incident. A new factory is coming online this year, and current progress on its build-out is on track. The team is ready for production of a new product line that will be a game-changer for the company.

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All in all, a pretty good year.

As you present, the board asks some tough questions, but you’re able to answer them all and present the roadmap and targets for next year. Then you get a final question from a board member.

“How secure do you think the plant is?”

She’s been hearing a lot about how security is becoming more of an issue. She’s been reading a lot about hacked plants, stolen intellectual property, ransomware incidents, and even just plain human error that’s slowed production at other sites. Are there potential issues with your facilities as well?

It’s the one question you don’t have a solid answer for, because it’s so complex.

Senior Technician Working at Computer Station

There are cameras across the plants, but a lot of employees and contractors come in and out, and you can’t keep tabs on all of them. There’s a mix of older machinery and newer, state-of-the-art equipment, some connected and some not. Just keeping on top of some of the new compliance policies has required dedicated resources and more employee training. Your answer is straightforward – it’s a work in progress and we need to work on a plan.

The board appreciates the candor, but everyone’s now more concerned. They want a plan in place to understand how potentially vulnerable the plant is, plus quarterly reports on progress.

You agree – this is a top priority, but in the back of your head you just aren’t sure where to start exactly. There are so many factors with security that you didn’t have to worry about before, and this task looks daunting….

Assessing Your Security Risk

The scenario above is a fictional example, but the reality is that these types of conversations are now happening all the time, and for good reason. A recent cybersecurity report from MAPI explains why security is becoming such a big concern for manufacturers:

  • 36% cited IP protection as their top concern
  • 39% had experienced a breach
  • 28% had losses of 1-10 million+
  • Almost a third hadn’t performed a cybersecurity assessment of their shop floors and industrial control systems

The report notes that while there’s no silver bullet to cybersecurity for manufacturers, it’s important to prepare, assess, clarify, and drive awareness within your organization to build a security framework.

To help build that foundation, we’ve developed a risk assessment checklist that outlines how you can begin. If you’re not seeing enough checks in the boxes, we’ll be happy to help you review your current infrastructure, make recommendations, and help you align and prioritize your business and security needs.

When it comes to securing your factory, doing nothing is no longer an option.

To learn more about assessing risk and setting a security strategy, visit our interactive security experience for manufacturing:

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