Cyber Security: Protecting Your Business & Where You Can Turn

Cyber security has been a recurring topic among the manufacturing community and for very good reason. Facilities are becoming increasingly connected along with all links throughout the supply chain. This connectivity, although fostering innovation and open communication, can create new issues for manufacturers. A manufacturer might not be aware of the cyber threats, but more businesses each year have to deal with problems stemming from relaxed cyber security.

We’ve spoken about the physical impact of cyber attacks on businesses:

But now we will investigate how leaving cyber security on the back burner can put a target on any company’s private intellectual property (IP) and trade secrets, how to protect private data, and where to turn if your business becomes a victim.

The issue with IP law is that when the entity that makes off with valuable private data is located outside of your state or country, there is not much the federal government can do for your business. Manufacturers are extremely reliant on their business’ private data and processes. When this is stolen, a foreign company can use all of your tricks to compete against you. This is not only unfair, it is illegal and damaging to the global economy as a whole.

Cyber criminals continue to become incredibly sophisticated and savvy to the oversight or ignorance when it comes to business’ view of cyber security. Not only are businesses letting cyber security go by the wayside, manufacturers are beginning to become connected on an entirely new scale.

The emergence and popularity of the Industrial Internet of Things is offering manufacturers a new way to gain insight and control of their manufacturing operations. From production speed, all the way down to the smallest detail like internal room temperature, all of this data is being collected, analyzed and stored in servers on location and external cloud servers. This kind of connectivity offers incredible benefits for the manufacturers making use of them, but on the other hand, increased connectivity opens up new doors for these cyber criminals to walk through.

Now we can focus on something other than the scary stuff. What is being done?

The UK already has an initiative underway to explore where the IoT is lacking in security and how to address the issue. As for the US, President Obama announced a new, nationwide Cyber Security plan to revamp and rework the nations cyber security response and protections. These initiatives will be the first step in combating the worlds outdated view on cyber security.

Looking beyond federal actions, there are ways you can boost your own business’ cyber security without investing into costly new firewalls or other services (even though that is a fantastic first step).

‘Tip’s To Keep Manufacturers Protected From Cyber Attacks’:

But what if you’ve already fallen victim to a cyber crime and now you’re forced to compete with your own technology, process improvement, or anything else that would have given your business the competitive edge?

Now, there is a program set up to protect a manufacturer in the state they’re located. The National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation (NAJI) was formed in hopes of protecting US businesses where the federal government has failed. Operating for only two years, NAJI has already won seven cases which put over $5 million back into US manufacturers ¬†hands. These businesses had their IP stolen from overseas competitors and the NAJI struck back. Their goal is to cut off the foreign companies ability to export into the states where these manufacturers are located. A local manufacturer can then regain market share in their home state. This incredible initiative was founded just in time. Cyber attacks are on the rise, and so too is the damage being caused by them.

More on the NAJI:

Manufacturers need to be much more conscience of the threats that are lurking behind the screen. The lines between the physical and digital world continue to blur. A sound cyber security plan is necessary for doing business in the 21st century. As governments put their heads together to come up with the best course of action, it will be on the manufacturer to ensure they are protected. If a business finds themselves competing against their own IP, the NAJI might be able to help you out. But the best course of action will be to keep these attackers at bay by understanding exactly how these attackers get their hands on vital data and ensure they stay locked out.

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