How to Launch a Manufacturing Cybersecurity Plan Infinavate IT Consulting

How to Launch a Manufacturing Cybersecurity Plan

In our last blog, we explored how advanced manufacturing operations are being augmented with IoT technology. These smart systems create connected digital ecosystems with increasingly complex manufacturing cybersecurity risks.

Building out these systems without an established cybersecurity program in place opens up the entire operation to vulnerabilities. A recent Deloitte study reveals that decisions regarding cyber security are mainly strategic (or theoretical). Most companies have not implemented robust security measures at a company-wide, operational level. 

As operational technology (OT) and IT systems integrate, putting a manufacturing cyber security plan in place requires strategic collaboration and clear delegation of responsibilities across a company. 

In the past, OT investment decisions have been made on the factory floor by leaders within operations, with little involvement from corporate IT or security departments. Because new tech now cross over departments and combine technologies with different security control capabilities, senior management have an increasingly important role in developing, maintaining, and understanding the cyber security protections in their own facilities. 

How to Start Implementing Manufacturing Cybersecurity Plans

In most cases, the first critical step is to inventory devices and assets. This process can clarify which individuals and teams are best positioned to help develop and maintain a robust cyber security program. 

Identity and access management has become an important strategy for not only tracking these components, but getting systems, machines, hardware, software, and appliances to recognize and work with each other. Additionally, OT and legacy systems that have not historically needed cyber security protection will need to be integrated to IT network infrastructures. 

Secondly, personnel along the chain of command will need to learn how to work with IT professionals in new ways. It also means having more and more open collaboration with IT teams. Conversely, IT team members will have to adapt their communication styles to effectively work with more internal teams. Especially staff members not used to technical language or complicated processes. 

Another crucial step is clarifying organizational ownership and responsibilities for key components of the cyber risk program. It’s critical to have one dedicated leader on each team who sees the “big picture” of your cyber security strategy and takes responsibility for managing those key components. Additional sponsorship from executive leaders helps for all employees to take these steps more seriously.

Additionally, training on new systems, technologies, protocols, and security best practices need to be rolled out company-wide. At a minimum, because phishing attacks are so prevalent, everyone in your organization with access to a computer should be trained in identifying and avoiding phishing scams.

Changing Tech Means Changing Culture

The changing relationships between OT and IT must be reflected in changes to the way various team members at work together and commit to real organizational change. An important talking point is how many ways effective cyber security can benefit your business: from productivity to loss prevention, customer reach and satisfaction, to helping you build better relationships and manufacture more products.

Are you ready to start the conversation about cyber security at your manufacturing company? Let’s put solutions in place that empower you to integrate your new IT systems with peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more about how to approach your manufacturing cyber security plan.

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