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Cybersecurity Manufacturing Technology

Cyber Resilience in Manufacturing: Practical Steps to Secure Your Operations

The integration of robots, automation, and extensive data usage significantly improves manufacturing performance. However, these advancements bring risks like data theft and system hacks. But there’s good news. You can take steps to build a cyber resilient manufacturing operation. Today, we’ll discuss how to mitigate these dangers, allowing you to leverage technology safely and confidently.

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Contents:

Technological Measures to Build Cyber Resilience in Manufacturing

Protecting sensitive data and maintaining robust defenses against cyber threats is essential for sustaining growth and innovation. Find out what steps you can take to secure your company and build a resilient manufacturing operation.

build cyber resilience in manufacturing with: Regular risk assessments A risk management framework Advanced threat detection systems Network segmentation Secure access management

Regular risk assessments

First line of defense? Staying ahead with proactive prevention.

Regular risk assessments are security checkups for your organization’s digital systems. External audits and penetration testing are the best way to identify vulnerabilities before hackers do.

It’s best to do these checks every few months, or anytime big changes happen in the system or equipment. Use tools that automatically find weak spots. Also, bringing in outside security experts can give a fresh perspective on potential risks.

A risk management framework

Once you know your weak spots, enter the risk management framework.

First, look closely at how your factory works and what technology you use. Figure out where things could go wrong, like where someone could steal data or break your systems.

Next, make plans to protect these areas and keep your production running smoothly – maybe it’s mandatory password training or putting extra security on your robot network.

A plan like this points to what needs protecting (like secret blueprints or robot controls), how likely something bad might happen (a hacker), and most importantly, how to stop it (strong passwords, extra security).

Let’s take a car factory, for instance.

They might focus on protecting their assembly line systems from hackers who could shut everything down. They would add strong security measures around these systems and have a plan ready if an attack happens.

Advanced threat detection systems

What about catching hackers in the act? That’s where advanced threat detection systems come in.

The systems that use AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) continuously learn from the data they gather. They can spot unusual patterns that might suggest a security risk, like a hacker trying to break in or a virus trying to spread.

AI and ML systems can detect and react to threats in real time. They can spot a problem as it happens and take steps to stop it right away.

For example, if an AI system notices that someone is trying to access a part of the network they shouldn’t, it can immediately block that access and alert the security team.

Read more: Exploring the possibilities and potential risks of AI in cybersecurity.

You can also incorporate intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS).

They are always on guard as they check for signs of hackers or malware that could damage your operation. When they detect a threat, these systems can block harmful traffic or isolate infected areas of the network to prevent the spread of viruses. Issues can be stopped quickly, often before they cause any real damage.

Network segmentation

Network segmentation helps prevent issues in one area from affecting the whole factory. It is dividing the network into smaller, separate sections. You can keep the manufacturing systems isolated from other parts of the network.

If a cyber threat hits one part of the network, network segmentation ensures it doesn’t spread everywhere.

The critical systems are completely isolated from the rest of the network traffic. You can keep them safe and reduce the risk of a major disruption.

For example, if an office computer gets a virus, it won’t affect the machines on the production floor because they are in different segments.

Secure access management

A useful thing for managing access is multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to provide two or more verification factors to access a system, which adds an extra layer of security.

Even if someone knows your password, they still need another form of ID, like a fingerprint or a code from a phone, to get in. It’s much harder for intruders to access key systems.

Did you know that SMS time-based one-time passwords are the most common types of multifactor authenticators?

Role-based access control (RBAC) is also a great security measure for factories. Employees are given different access levels based on a person’s job role. Only people who need to use certain parts of the system for their work can get in.

For example, a machine operator might not need access to financial records, so their access is limited to what they need for their job.

Everyone can do their work without risking the security of the entire factory.

How to build cybersecurity skills among employees?

Technological measures are one thing, but do your best to train your staff so they are aware, responsible, and careful.

Below are some steps that you can take to ensure cyber resilience in your manufacturing operations.

How to build cybersecurity skills among employees? Train your employees and raise awareness of cybersecurity Create an incident response plan Secure your vendor and partner ecosystem

Train your employees and raise awareness of cybersecurity

Invest some time and money into regular cybersecurity training so that everyone can truly understand how to spot and avoid risks.

And the word regular is key here. Technology is changing all the time as do cybersecurity threads.

Employees can learn to spot suspicious emails, avoid sneaky phishing attacks, keep company data safe, and more.

On top of that, consider creating awareness programs. They are daily news updates but for cyber threats. Employees are informed about the latest hacking tricks and best practices to stay secure.

avatar-piotr-zielinski

Piotr Zieliński

Security Lead at Inwedo

At Inwedo, every new employee undergoes introductory training on general IT security and the preventive measures we employ to minimize the risks of unauthorized access to company resources. Additionally, we maintain a communication channel to share information about potential and actual threats that companies and individuals face.

Create an incident response plan

Incident response plan in invaluable for handling security issues, whether they stem from external attacks or infrastructure problems like internet outages. It involves anticipating potential problems, raising awareness of modern threats, and preparing a comprehensive procedure to address them. Develop one and update it regularly so your staff stays ready for whatever new tactics hackers might use.

Maciek Pawłowski

COO at Inwedo

Ensure everyone understands the procedures and their responsibilities as part of the plan. This prevents confusion during a crisis, as the crisis management team is already designated. The incident response plan should offer a flexible framework, allowing critical thinking and situational assessment rather than rigidly following a set procedure. Even if not fully implemented, such plans raise awareness and sensitize the team to security nuances.

And again, update the incident response plan on a regular basis due to the frequent technological innovations.

Don’t forget about conducting mock drills!

Mock drills, just like fire drills, prepare people for real emergencies, cyber drills prepare them for cyberattacks.

How to do it and how it helps?

Step #1: Plan the drill
Decide on a scenario, like a data breach or a ransomware attack. It should be realistic and relevant to your operations.

Step #2: Involve the team
Encourage all employees from every department to participate. Everyone from IT to the factory floor should know their roles during the drill.

Step #3: Run the drill
Simulate the cyber incident as planned. You may need to do things like responding to a fake ransomware notification or shutting down systems as you would in a real attack.

Step #4: Review the performance
After the drill, gather everyone to talk about how it went. Discuss what was done well and what could be improved.

Step #5: Update the plan
Use what you learned from the drill to make your incident response plan even better.

Secure your vendor and partner ecosystem

When you choose a vendor or partner, look at their cybersecurity measures.

Ask about their policies, and how they handle data security. It’s also important to assess how they manage risk. Check if they have certifications like ISO, which can indicate a strong commitment to managing security risks responsibly.

If they have strong security practices, they’re less likely to be the weak point that hackers could exploit to reach your systems.

Be sure what security measures you care about the most.

Define clear cybersecurity criteria that all partners must meet. For instance, using secure communication methods, having updated antivirus software, and implementing regular security audits.

Make these requirements part of any contract or agreement with external partners.

Once you have all these in place, you lower the risk that a security weakness in one partner could affect your entire operation.

Best practices for cyber resilient manufacturing operations

Here are some best practices to help you build a cyber resilient infrastructure and secure your digital assets effectively.

Best practices for cyber-resilient manufacturing operations: Keep Systems Updated, Automate Patch Management, Collaborate with Experts, Conduct Regular Audits.

Ensure all systems and software are up-to-date with the latest security patches

Regular updates to your systems and software mean you’re always protected against the latest threats. Each update usually brings fixes for security holes that could let attackers in.

Keep everything current to close the gaps and make it much harder for anyone to breach your defenses.

Automate patch management processes to reduce vulnerabilities

Patch the holes automatically.

Keeping your factory software up-to-date with the latest security patches is crucial, but manual updates can be a time-consuming hassle. So, automate patch management processes.

Automated patch management systems regularly check for updates across all your software and systems.

When they find an update, they automatically install it without needing manual intervention.

You don’t have to remember to update every piece of software, which can be a big task, especially in large operations.

Partner with cybersecurity experts and reliable technology partners

Do you want to always have someone knowledgeable to turn to for support with your cybersecurity needs? Invite cybersecurity experts onboard.

They know all about the latest dangers and the best ways to guard against them. They can give you specialized advice and can help you handle any security problems that come up.

Teaming up with dependable technology partners is also super vital. As an ISO-certified company, we meet international standards protecting data and ensuring security. The certification helps manage and minimize risks successfully, improving our partnerships.

Leverage external audits and assessments to continuously improve cybersecurity posture

External audits involve experts from outside your company who review your cybersecurity measures. They look at how you protect your data and systems and then suggest ways to improve.

Experts spot issues that might be hard for your own team to see because they bring a fresh perspective.

Assessments, often carried out regularly, are used to track how well your cybersecurity practices are working. They check if your defenses are strong enough and keep up with new threats.

Conclusion

Building a cyber resilient manufacturing operation isn’t a one-time fix. It’s a continual defense against ever-evolving threats.

So, make improving and adapting to new threats your bread and butter.

With our cybersecurity tips, manufacturing companies can create a layered security shield that protects data, systems, and operations.

And remember, cyber threats are here to stay, but so is your power to fight back. With a well-rounded approach and a commitment to continuous improvement, you can build a secure and resilient digital future for your company.

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