What manufacturing SMEs need to know about hacks and cybersecurity

servicemuse - what manufacturing SMEs need to know about cybersecurity

Cyber-attacks are on the rise, and hackers are getting bolder. This has forced manufacturing SMEs to implement new technical capabilities.

Unfortunately, many of them don’t have the technological know-how to tackle the unknown risks. They don’t believe that any hacker could target a small business located in a rural area. However, this is the wrong strategy. Managers of small manufacturing businesses need to understand several things relating to the cybersecurity environment.

Cybercriminals don’t discriminate

Hackers don’t attack a business because it has large revenues or hires many employees. Instead, they attack businesses with vulnerabilities. Therefore, the time to secure your operations, information and the network is now. That is because the projected risk of compromised business operations outweighs the cost of setting up a working IT management system.

How does cybersecurity impact SMEs?

Cybersecurity lapses can devastate the business’s operations. Some companies have filed for bankruptcy after ransomware attacks compromised their systems. At the same time, if your data is compromised, you may be taken to court and fined. Small and medium manufacturing (SMM) firms must implement specific security protocols to secure their client’s data. The security protocols can create trust between a business and the entire supply chain.

Is the manufacturing industry at greater risk?

Data from the United States’ Department of Homeland Security supports the idea that the manufacturing industry is a prime target of cybersecurity attacks. Hackers believe that small manufacturing firms are easy targets because they don’t have extensive security protocols. These hackers are bold because many small manufacturing businesses have weak security measures, especially when compared to those of large corporations. There are many items that hackers can steal from a manufacturing firm. Previous cybersecurity attacks have resulted in the loss of intellectual property and essential employee information. Other security attacks resulted in the loss of clients’ data. Your business can lose millions of dollars when your data is stolen.

What Can SMMs do to protect themselves?

Most manufacturing firms believe that being hacked is inevitable. This is a misconception that you should not listen to. Any small and medium manufacturing business can do several things to protect their businesses. Thankfully, each of these solutions is affordable, and will not impact your operating costs.

Your employees are the most vulnerable point of your security apparatus. Hackers will target your employees on social media, email and other internet platforms. If you have employees who don’t know the major security protocols, your business is at risk of being hacked. It is essential to teach your employees about the latest phishing strategies.

Your manufacturing company must develop a social media policy. That policy will determine how and when employees can access social media from your company’s servers and networks. While it’s not possible to prevent your employees from spending time on social media, you can limit their interaction with social media platforms.

Similarly, the policy can create an isolated network for employees to access online resources during the day. This means that even if a hacker compromises that employee’s device, the hacker won’t access your networks and systems.

What should you do first?

Creating a solid cybersecurity framework is an excellent place to start. Your cybersecurity framework should include protocols, guidelines, standards, and expected risks. It doesn’t have to be a complex cybersecurity framework like the one commonly used by large corporations. You need an accurate but cost-effective system that any SMM business can use to secure their cyberspace. Moreover, this framework must dictate who will manage the significant decisions in case any cyber-attack occurs. Finally, your cybersecurity framework should create a priority list where your business’s leading defences secure principal functions.

The main steps you should follow are:

Identification of critical company data

Not all the information in your company is critical. Every firm has some details that could cripple the company if they were lost or compromised. For example, if your company is manufacturing chocolate chip cookies, the recipe’s loss will compromise your business’s edge. That is because anybody can now use the formula to create similar chocolate chip cookies.

Protect the data

Once you have identified your critical data, you must implement strategies to protect it. The protection measures will depend on the type of data and projected vulnerabilities. Small manufacturing firms don’t have to create extensive data protection mechanisms. In many cases, all they have to do is secure their emails and websites. They may also need to secure their phone systems.

Detecting threats and vulnerabilities

The fact that you have secured your data does not mean that hackers can’t compromise your business. Therefore, there should be processes to identify any new cybersecurity infiltration. This process involves the installation of anti-virus, anti-spyware and virus-detection systems. All employees should be aware of what to do if malicious actors compromise the company’s cybersecurity system.

Final thoughts

SMM businesses are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. You need to quickly act to secure your business’s cybersecurity operations from hackers. We hope you will use these steps to create a reliable cybersecurity platform.