The manufacturing industry is under constant attack from cyber criminals looking to steal sensitive data and intellectual property, disrupt production processes, or compromise critical infrastructure.

But, approaching cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry can be daunting due to the presence of legacy systems, complex and interdependent networks, high risk of physical damage, integration of IT and OT systems, and shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel.

To address these challenges, manufacturers must adopt a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that includes implementing strong security controls, continuously monitoring for threats, and responding quickly to any security incidents.  

In this blog post, we will dive into the current cybersecurity landscape and how to address common security challenges in the manufacturing industry.

The current cybersecurity landscape in the Manufacturing industry 

The current cybersecurity landscape is rapidly evolving as the industry continues to adopt technology and digital transformation initiatives. The industry is facing numerous challenges, including: 

  1. Increase in connected devices: The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing number of connected devices in the manufacturing process has created a vast attack surface for cybercriminals to exploit. 
  1. Threats to operational technology (OT) systems: As manufacturers adopt more sophisticated technology, they are also increasing their exposure to threats to their operational technology systems. This includes threats to industrial control systems, robots, and other connected devices used in the manufacturing process. 
  1. Intellectual property (IP) theft: Manufacturing companies often invest significant time and resources in developing unique products and processes, making them vulnerable to IP theft. 
  1. Risks from third-party suppliers: The supply chain is a major area of risk for the manufacturing industry, as third-party suppliers may not have the same level of cybersecurity protection as the manufacturer. 
  1. Lack of cybersecurity skills: Many manufacturing companies face a shortage of cybersecurity talent, making it difficult for them to implement effective cybersecurity measures. 

Despite the challenges and risks associated with the threat landscape in the manufacturing industry, there are also several positive aspects, including:

  1. Increased Awareness: With the rise in cyber attacks and the increasing importance of cybersecurity, there is a growing awareness of the need for robust security measures in the manufacturing industry. This is leading to increased investment in cybersecurity and a focus on developing new and innovative solutions to protect these systems, like Difenda MXDR for OT.
  2. Collaboration and partnerships: The threat landscape in the manufacturing industry is leading to increased collaboration and partnerships between companies, government agencies, and cybersecurity experts. This collaboration is helping to develop new solutions, share best practices, and improve the overall security of these systems.
  3. Standards and regulations: The increasing focus on cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry is also leading to the development of new standards and regulations that provide guidelines for securing these systems. These standards and regulations can help companies implement robust security measures and ensure that they are adhering to best practices.

How Difenda addresses the toughest cybersecurity challenges in cybersecurity for Manufacturers  

As mentioned above, the manufacturing industry is facing numerous cybersecurity challenges as the use of technology in the sector continues to expand.  

  1. Protecting operational technology (OT) systems: The increasing use of industrial control systems, robots, and other connected devices in the manufacturing process has increased the vulnerability of OT systems to cyberattacks. Difenda can help address this challenge by providing managed extended detection and response (MXDR) services specifically designed for the OT environment, which include continuous monitoring, threat detection and response, and security automation. 

Learn more about MXDR for Operational Technology service components in the service brief here.

  1. Preventing intellectual property (IP) theft: Manufacturing companies often invest significant time and resources in developing unique products and processes. IP theft can lead to significant financial losses, loss of competitiveness, and damage to a company’s reputation. Difenda’s MXDR services can help manufacturers identify and respond to threats that could lead to IP theft, as well as implement security measures to protect sensitive information. 

Discover how a detailed OT assessment can help identify and solve gaps in your network with the sample OT Environment Assessment Report.

  1. Managing security risks from third-party suppliers: Many manufacturers rely on third-party suppliers to provide components or services, increasing the attack surface of the overall supply chain. Difenda can help manufacturers assess the cybersecurity posture of their suppliers and implement security protocols, such as regularly updating software, to reduce risk from third-party threats. 

Difenda is a cybersecurity solution designed to help manufacturers protect their critical assets from cyber threats. By integrating IT and OT security, Difenda can provide a comprehensive security solution. With continuous monitoring, threat detection and response, and security automation, Difenda helps manufacturers stay ahead of emerging threats and protect their intellectual property, operational technology, and supply chain. 

Best Practices for Ensuring Cybersecurity in the Manufacturing Industry 

Here are some key steps that companies can take to secure their systems and protect themselves from cyber threats:

  1. Conduct a Risk Assessment: The first step in approaching cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry is to conduct a risk assessment to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. This should include an assessment of both IT and OT systems and should be conducted regularly to ensure that the security measures are up-to-date and effective.
  2. Develop a Comprehensive Security Plan: Once the risk assessment has been conducted, companies should develop a comprehensive security plan that covers both IT and OT systems. This plan should include policies, procedures, and technologies that are designed to mitigate risk and protect these systems from cyber threats.
  3. Implement Effective Security Measures: Companies should implement a range of security measures to protect their systems, including firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, encryption, and access controls. It is also important to regularly update these measures to ensure that they remain effective and address new and evolving threats.
  4. Foster a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness: Companies should foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness among employees, contractors, and other stakeholders. This can be achieved through regular training and communication programs that educate employees on the importance of cybersecurity, best practices for securing systems, and the dangers of cyber attacks.
  5. Monitor and Respond to Cyber Threats: Companies should monitor their systems 24/7/365 for potential cyber threats and have a plan in place to quickly respond to any incidents. This should include a well-documented incident response plan that outlines the steps that should be taken in the event of a cyber attack.
  6. Continuously Evaluate and Update Security Measures: Companies should continuously evaluate and update their security measures to ensure that they remain effective and address new and evolving threats. This can include regularly reviewing security plans and policies, testing and evaluating security measures, and monitoring industry trends to stay informed on the latest cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

By taking these steps, manufacturers can protect their systems and data from cyberattacks and ensure the continued success of their business. 

Three Things You can do Right Now to Improve Your Security Posture

Understanding that approaching cybersecurity can be a little overwhelming, especially since many manufacturing organizations are just getting started with cybersecurity and protecting their OT environments, here are three things you can do right now to improve your security posture:  

  1. Integrate IT and OT security: Manufacturers should ensure that their IT and operational technology (OT) systems are integrated and that both are protected. This includes implementing firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and threat intelligence feed. 
  1. Implement network segmentation: Network segmentation can help prevent cyberattacks from spreading from one part of the network to another. Manufacturers should implement network segmentation to separate critical systems from non-critical systems, such as those used for administrative purposes. 
  1. Employee training: Manufacturers should train their employees on cybersecurity best practices, including how to recognize and respond to phishing attacks and how to handle sensitive information securely. Regular training can help reduce the risk of human error, which is often the weakest link in a company’s cybersecurity chain. 

By implementing these measures, manufacturers can reduce their risk of a cybersecurity breach and protect their intellectual property and other sensitive information. 

See What You Can Achieve With Difenda’s MXDR for OT 5-Step Process in the Free eBook!