The coronavirus pandemic did more than just disrupt the manufacturing industry including supply chain vendors, manufacturers, warehousing, distribution centers, and even transportation lines. It also exposed a number of cybersecurity vulnerabilities with far-reaching implications, broadening the attack surface to create a perfect storm of cybercrime. In fact, the manufacturing industry experienced the highest increase in ransomware-based cyberattacks in 2020, rising 156% over each quarter.
While ransomware was certainly prevalent, it wasn’t the only threat. Phishing and other social engineering strategies were also deployed to help malicious actors gain access to manufacturers’ data. At the crux of vulnerabilities lies many manufacturers’ continued reliance on legacy systems that operate using proprietary language. These systems typically cannot get automated updates remotely and instead must be taken offline to install patches and updates. This necessary downtime threatens operational efficiency, so many manufacturers drag their feet, leaving systems vulnerable and open to risks.
Fortunately, there is a cybersecurity solution available for manufacturers that is both simple and cost effective — Managed IT.
How Managed IT Can Improve Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Firms
Many manufacturing businesses find it hard to curate skilled talent, and that extends to their IT department. Even if they can find staff with leading-edge knowledge, in-house IT departments can rapidly become overwhelmed with mission-critical tasks, leaving routine (but important) maintenance to fall by the wayside.
And that tendency can lead to problems as plugging security gaps by updating software is a critical step in protecting sensitive data. Let’s examine how a robust Managed IT program can solve this issue and others for businesses in the manufacturing sector.
1. Keeps Infrastructure Current on Security Patches
Ensuring your infrastructure is always current with the latest hardware and software updates and security patches is critical for data security. Hackers can — and will — exploit unpatched weaknesses or vulnerabilities to gain access to data. Your Managed Services Provider (MSP) will guarantee that stable updates are installed upon their release to keep your system safer.
2. Controls Access and Monitors for Suspicious Activity
Most MSPs offer remote monitoring of your IT infrastructure to detect and prevent malicious activity. Monitoring occurs around the clock, ensuring there is always an eye on occurrences within your system. Additionally, an access control system that uses two-factor authorization, key cards, or any number of other identification systems is typically deployed to eliminate unauthorized access.
3. Performs Routine Maintenance and Backups
At the beginning of this post, we talked about the importance of regular maintenance of infrastructure components. An MSP will conduct regularly scheduled maintenance activities, as well as address problems flagged through remote monitoring. In addition, MSPs ensure that backups are completed on a regular basis, with redundant locations for extra protection against lost productivity in the event of a breach.
4. Educates and Supports
Finally, your MSP can help you develop a strong Disaster Recovery Plan and train your staff on proper cybersecurity hygiene. Understanding how hackers make inroads to your system and preparing for threats can help your staff remain vigilant and reduce your attack surface. Walking through a tabletop exercise featuring disaster and recovery procedures will further prepare critical team members in the event a breach occurs.
CDS Provides Leading-Edge Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Firms
We understand the significant challenges facing our clients in the manufacturing industry. From smaller budgets to outdated equipment, there are many factors that are holding manufacturing firms back from achieving excellence and improving revenues.
At CDS, we offer a robust Managed Technology Services (MTS) program that can provide you with the cybersecurity you need within the limits of your budget. By outsourcing this critical operation with us, you gain the knowledge and expertise of our team of IT experts for a cost-effective monthly fee.
Our team will provide around-the-clock monitoring of your infrastructure. Not only can we detect suspicious activity, but we can also alert you to equipment issues, and perform the appropriate maintenance and updates that reduce downtime and secure your data.
Alongside access control, remote monitoring, and comprehensive data and system security, our MTS program offers insights into the functionality of your system and provides continual support, troubleshooting, and repairs for one predictable monthly fee.
Keep your business operations safer this year. Contact a CDS representative today to discover how our Managed Technology Services program can help increase your data protection — and much more.