When Production Lines Pivot: Data Security And The Supply Chain

Historically, manufacturing companies have always had to adapt due to world affairs and changes within the economy. War and economic crisis have forced manufacturers into wholesale changes at different times throughout the past few centuries. Take World War II for example. Car manufacturers had to cease their regular production systems to start making tanks and other military supplies. 

While manufacturing companies in 2020 haven’t had to adopt a military focus, many organizations have had to assist in the production of PPE supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances for all companies around the world. Admirably, several businesses have shifted their focus to helping the crisis and are moving to new production lines and markets. 

Although we’re not amidst a real war, there is an added security risk that didn’t exist during those chaotic times: cybercrime. 

The Importance of Cybersecurity for Manufacturers

Cybersecurity is absolutely vital for any and all companies. In the digital era, we are witnessing significant progress in technology. People and businesses rely on digital technology for the vast majority of business functions. While this has helped increase productivity and efficiency, it puts companies at risk of a cyber-attack. The more information and processes that are digitized, the greater the risk.

Large companies generally provide hackers with more valuable information but they tend to have high-level data security in place. SME’s are often the main targets for cybercriminals as their security is usually easier to breach.

For manufacturers and companies that utilize the supply chain, rapidly changing systems to adapt to new demands makes them very vulnerable. In 2019, 50% of manufacturing companies experienced a data breach. This suggests that at least half of the companies out there don’t have adequate network security or breach defense.

With such rapid advancements in supply chain technology, manufacturers are particularly susceptible to the following:

  • Network or computer hardware that has malware already installed.
  • Malware that infects software or hardware by some means. 
  • Vulnerabilities in endpoint security, application security, or other program security within the network.
  • Counterfeit technologies.

At a time where manufacturing companies are more vulnerable than ever, a plan for protecting manufacturers' network systems must precede any pivots in the supply chain. Organizations must prioritize security in order to protect themselves. 

Cybersecurity for the Supply Chain

There are several ways to optimize your cybersecurity systems. 

Adopt Cybersecurity Principles

The first step is to address cybersecurity as a direct threat. You should act on the basis that your systems are likely to be breached. This shifts the focus from solely preventative measures to plans of reducing the severity of an attack, as well as a data recovery strategy. 

Acknowledge that cybersecurity is not just a technology issue. It also involves people, processes, and knowledge. A data breach is just as likely to occur due to human error as to an IT fault.

Improve Your IT Security

Introduce strict IT security policies and procedures for all staff members. This should address log-in protocols, file sharing methods, phishing warnings, and other key security information. At Emerge we partner with clients to develop and implement comprehensive network security training for their staff. 

Install a strong firewall and ensure that you have the highest level of malware protection and network security. 

Hire a skilled managed IT service to provide the best in class network security available. At Emerge, we can advise you on the latest security programs to keep your data safe and more.