The United States is experiencing unprecedented low unemployment, forcing many in the manufacturing industry to consider other options to remain competitive, such as greater automation and reliance on innovation. While a turn towards smart operations will help streamline processes for many, manufacturers face inherent risks when implementing digital strategies.

Sikich’s 2019 M&D Report surveyed manufacturing industry executives to better understand the ways in which businesses are using technology and connectivity to optimize output and increase efficiency. What they found was an industry ripe for change, but with cybersecurity concerns that could cripple organizations not fully committed to protecting themselves from online attack.

Cyber Attacks Will Happen

As the Sikich report explains, “Cybersecurity is no longer about preparing for a hypothetical event. Instead, it’s about defending against attacks that are sure to come.” Half of all surveyed manufacturing executives said they experienced a data breach last year. Despite this, many organizations are not implementing the necessary training and IT protocols it takes to protect against a criminal hack.

Only 39 percent of organizations with revenues less than $500 million perform phishing campaigns on their employees (compared to 69 percent of companies above $500 million), even though phishing scams are still the method cybercriminals prefer when attempting to infiltrate a company’s firewall. The disparity is roughly the same when it comes to conducting cyber audits and hiring employees with cybersecurity expertise.

All this leads to a noticeable difference in security confidence between large companies and small to medium-size organizations. More than 70 percent of executives at large manufacturing businesses have confidence in their ability to manage a data breach, compared to only half of executives at smaller organizations.

Cyber Security Comes to Manufacturing

Modernization has always played a pivotal role in manufacturing. Businesses that can adapt to new technology will find long-term success in a sometimes volatile industry. As the Sikich report continues to note, it is essential for “leaders to embrace innovation, modernize their business technologies and implement creative talent acquisition strategies.” This is especially true in our modern age, as virtually all everyday systems have shifted online.

However, embracing innovation is only effective if complemented by robust cybersecurity protections. Organizations that move forward without implementing these protections are opening themselves to potential ransomware, data breaches or cryptojacking that could cause unavoidable public relations and economic land minds.

Strong cybersecurity includes firewall protection, password encryption, employee training and cyber insurance. An insurance broker can guide organizations through a detailed plan to protect manufacturers from online threats as they embrace innovation.

Interested in exploring cyber security options for your organization? Contact us today.