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Your Cyber Security Strategy in Industry

Written by SysGroup Marketing

A manufacturer's guide to cyber security

The entire manufacturing sector is adapting in the current phase of the industrial revolution, often referred to as 'industry 4.0'. Legacy shop-floor equipment is being replaced with 'smart' versions, incorporating robotics and network-connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices in new ways to improve efficiency. Of course, these new technologies have brought their own significant challenges, making the manufacturing sector a new target for cyber crime at an alarming rate.

According to one report, the manufacturing sector has been experiencing an increase in financially-motivated breaches in recent years, but espionage (searching for intellectual property to steal) is still a strong motivator. Particularly in the UK, more than half of manufacturers have experienced a cyber attack. Most of the data breaches in this sector involve phishing and the use of stolen credentials.

This article explores 3 main cyber security challenges for the manufacturing sector, with a particular focus on how WatchGuard Technologies, including firewalls, secure Wi-Fi, MFA and network segmentation can help protect manufacturers from the threats they face.

1) Industrial IoT Vulnerabilities

Industry 4.0 has brought a massive wave of new devices to enhance the manufacturing sector. These work because of sensors attached to a physical device, making inventory monitoring, connected robotics and asset location faster and centrally-managed. The sensors collect data to drive artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, changing the way products are made and delivered and doing it with increased efficiency, better safety for their human operators and significant cost savings.

Unfortunately, many of these devices have been produced with overly-simplistic software that can easily be breached by a determined hacker.

  • Secure Wi-Fi 

WatchGuard Cloud-managed access points have built-in Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS), extending and enhancing security to your facilities’ wireless IoT devices. Leveraging patented Marker Packet technology, WatchGuard provides the most reliable WIPS in the industry, and with the lowest rate of false positives.

  • IoT Segmentation

Partitioning your network into segments (IoT, Guest Wi-Fi, Corporate, etc.) helps to isolate IoT devices from mainstream equipment, which limits the disruptive spread of an attack, should one occur.

Network segmentation can easily be accomplished with a UTM firewall like WatchGuard’s rackmount and tabletop Firebox models. These devices also provide critical services like an intrusion prevention service (IPS) to detect and block exploitation of IoT devices, without disrupting network access.

2) Intellectual Property (IP) Theft

The theft of IP has been a long-standing menace within the manufacturing sector, and unfortunately shows no signs of losing steam – a staggering 47% of breaches that take place within a manufacturing business involve the theft of IP. This data robbery could include anything from product proposals to proprietary manufacturing processes, all of which represents tempting fodder for competitors and ransomware-armed hackers alike, potentially leading to loss revenue and customers

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) 

A critical step to securing access of valuable data within your network is to deploy MFA, or a multi-factor authentication solution. WatchGuard’s AuthPoint goes beyond traditional 2FA by considering innovative ways to positively identify users looking to access the network, and their large ecosystem of 3rd party integrations means that you can use MFA to not only protect access to the network, but also VPNs and Cloud applications.

3) The Cyber Security Skills Gap 

A global shortage of IT talent has left large staffing gaps across all industries, with a projected shortage of 3.5 million cyber security professionals worldwide by 2021.

This is especially worrying for the manufacturing sector, as it relies on a different digital infrastructure than that of other industries, further limiting qualified candidates. These include the hardware and software utilised on the production floor and ICS (Industrial Control System), the systems and instrumentation used for industrial process control.

Additionally, inadequate cyber security staffing increases the risk of employees falling for targeted attacks like phishing, a growing threat typically deterred by IT department-administered education and awareness.

With manufacturing taking an average of five months to fill open positions, businesses looking to maintain a strong security posture – regardless of job postings – should evaluate solutions that don’t require a large or dedicated IT workforce to maintain efficacy.

  • Managed IT Security 

Take the stress out of IT Security with a managed IT security solution. The SysGroup team of dedicated cyber security professionals have experience implementing solutions for businesses in all major sectors, including manufacturing. Not only can your network and data be hosted in a state-of-the-art data centre with exceptional levels of security, but 24/7 network monitoring and support come standard.

For a much lower cost than recruiting them internally, managed IT services connect you to experts in PCI DSS, disaster recovery, cyber-security and more. You gain the best bits of their knowledge, alongside 24/7/365 support to enhance your team's skills.


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