Data Breaches Are Killing Manufacturing

Manufacturing is an ever-changing line of work, complete with more interconnected digital systems and Internet of Things-enabled devices than ever before. To be successful in manufacturing, equipment has to be working precisely and lines of communication have to be open. Data breaches can affect both these variables, throwing the whole operation into chaos.

The truth of the matter is, companies that engage in manufacturing are at high risk of a data breach. The right combination of preventative cybersecurity measures and cyber liability coverage can reduce the likelihood of a damaging hack and help with cleanup costs if a threat does slip through the cracks, respectively. But companies must know the risks up front in order to address them.

Deloitte recently surveyed 225 manufacturing executives about cyber risks; nearly 50 percent of respondents lack the confidence that they're protected. Three-fourths admitted that their companies lack skilled cybersecurity resources. But here's the real kicker: 39 percent of executives said they've experienced a breach within the last year (and 38 percent of those affected had losses between $1 million and $10 million dollars).

Data breach is a broad term-how exactly can hackers infiltrate manufacturing systems and wreak havoc? As one professor specializing in cybersecurity tells the Dallas Business Journal, there are a myriad of possible consequences:

− Business interruption/loss of productivity in the wake of a cyberattack
− Expensive ransomware payments while a hacker holds information hostage
− Competitors using your own leaked intellectual property

Imagine you've spent months or years streamlining a new, proprietary workflow process. Your value as a company depends on this ingenious process because you're the only one doing it. One data breach later, the world could know your secrets (after a hacker sells them to the highest bidder or leaks them to the public). Suddenly your company's value nosedives because you don't hold the rights to your exclusive methodology anymore. And, as we all know, intellectual property is make-or-break in manufacturing.

The manufacturing industry is also especially vulnerable to cyber breaches because of its dependence on the Internet of Things (IoT). No longer are CPUs, production equipment and products distinct; devices of all kinds connect to a company's network, making it a valuable trove for hackers. As the National Association of Manufacturing writes, \"Billions of connected devices are pervasive throughout manufactured products and on the shop floors where they are made. This technology is creating enormous opportunity and driving transformative change. It has made all manufacturers into technology companies.\"

Another issue is the shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals. Manufacturing Business Technology points out that manufacturers must prioritize hiring cybersecurity-savvy employees, preferably those who hold accreditation like the globally recognized Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. In addition to adequate expertise and preparation (like creating an employee handbook on technology use), all manufacturers need a thorough response plan in case a hacker breaches their defenses.

If you join the ranks of the many manufacturing companies who have experienced a cyberattack, cyber liability coverage can help cover the costs of investigating the source of the breach, paying ransomware costs and staying afloat during subsequent downtime. Find a fitting policy with a free quote from CyberPolicy!

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