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Digital transformation promises to drive expansion and increased productivity for manufacturing companies. However, it can also put these organizations at greater cyber risk if the right tools and controls are not in place. 

New avenues of attack through operational technology (OT), Internet-of-things (IoT) devices, and digital supply chains make manufacturers an increasingly appealing target for threat actors. 

Cyber-attacks on manufacturing organizations have hit the headlines frequently over the past few years. A recent instance was the ransomware attack on Boeing, but even smaller manufacturers are at risk. 

According to NIST, small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses are especially susceptible to cyber threats because “they often are less prepared for an event, have valuable information that is not well protected, are willing to pay ransoms to avoid costly disruptions, and act as entry points to other valuable targets.” 

Plus, according to a study by Deloitte, only 52 percent of executives are either very confident or extremely confident that their manufacturing organization’s assets are protected from external threats, leaving nearly half of the respondents only somewhat confident or less. 

The big question for manufacturers is how to reap the benefits of digital transformation without incurring unnecessary risk. 

Fortunately, as cyber risks continue to evolve, so do effective cybersecurity tools, regulations, and strategies. By prioritizing prevention and early detection strategies with tools like automated SIEM logging and response, manufacturers of all sizes can decrease risk and increase positive business outcomes.

Understand Your Risks

To implement the proper cyber defenses, IT teams in manufacturing must first identify how they’re most likely to get attacked. Bad actors tend to strike manufacturing companies with:

  • Ransomware Attacks. This is a prime method of choice for malicious hackers, with ransomware threats to industrial infrastructure doubling throughout 2022. When manufacturing companies fall victim to ransomware, they often experience significant production delays, costing precious time, money, and resources.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Theft or Extortion. Non-enterprise manufacturing companies can lose competitive advantages if bad actors steal intellectual property like patents, designs, or copyrights. In Deloitte’s study, 36 percent of respondents cited IP protection as a top concern.
  • Supply Chain Attacks. CSO Online reported a 60 percent increase in supply chain attacks throughout 2022. Attackers often execute attacks by breaking into a supply chain via an insecure partner, vendor, or service and disrupting the entire pipeline. 

While these stats may feel like a lot of doom and gloom, understanding your industry’s most common attack types is critical to being prepared to defend against them. Here’s what you need to know to prepare your organization.

Early Detection is Key

IBM uncovered that it takes organizations an average of 204 days to detect a breach. As you likely know, the longer a breach persists, the more damage attackers can do. For this reason, early detection must be a priority for manufacturing companies.

Luckily, even lean manufacturing IT teams can identify suspicious activities and take defensive action in a timely fashion when they leverage early detection strategies such as:

  • SIEM logging to capture events across a complex manufacturing environment and alert on suspicious activity within IoT devices, applications, etc.
  • Endpoint visibility to track the equipment and users in your plant and identify unusual or suspicious activity
  • Automated threat detection and response to rapidly isolate an ongoing threat without affecting workflows or causing production bottlenecks

These cybersecurity tools and strategies provide manufacturers with the proactive protection they need to stay productive and keep critical workflows running on the factory floor and in corporate offices. 

Blumira covers all of the above strategies and drives down the time to detect. In fact, Blumira’s average time to detect a finding is about 32 minutes, which is 99.4% faster than the industry average. 

Compliance in Manufacturing

As a bonus, implementing early detection best practices enables businesses to meet critical infrastructure compliance standards. 

For instance, ISO 27001 focuses five of its 14 Annex A controls on access controls, threat detection and prevention, data protection, and incident management — all of which can be fulfilled by early detection strategies. Plus, when companies can readily prove compliance, it’s far easier to obtain cyber insurance. 

Read more about relevant compliance frameworks for manufacturing

How Blumira Can Help Manufacturers

McKinsey states a typical medium-sized plant uses over 200 individual pieces of equipment, each with its own hardware, software, and communications protocols. It’s no small feat for manufacturers to monitor such a complex environment. 

Plus, with 75 percent of manufacturing IT teams needing more cybersecurity resources (not to mention the global cybersecurity talent shortage), organizations are often too lean to leverage enterprise-level SIEM and XDR platforms.

Blumira’s SIEM + XDR platform is purpose-built with efficiency-focused security and IT teams in mind. We support logging, endpoint security, 24/7 threat monitoring, detection, and response — consolidating and automating these critical security activities from a single platform. 

Our detection engine includes real-time, or instantaneous, individual findings that notify a customer almost immediately of a potential threat, such as detecting a virus on your network – the median time to detect for these types of findings is 50 seconds.

Time to Respond

In an analysis of Blumira’s 2021 customer dataset, the average time to respond, or how quickly our customers closed findings in our platform, was 6 hours. That is 99.7% faster than the overall average of 75 days or 1,800 hours, as found in IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report.

Our platform supports manufacturing companies like National Machinery, Atlantic Constructors, and more by identifying early indicators of suspicious activity or attacks in progress. These early insights empower our customers to stop attacks before they result in widespread damage, stolen data, or extortion. 

As Dan Kontak, IT Director at National Machinery, put it, “We want a partner in our security system, not just a service…somebody that we can rely on for any security issues. Blumira is our trusted advisor.”

Learn more about Blumira’s SIEM + XDR security tools that lean manufacturing businesses can put to use to decrease risk without unnecessary complexity: 

Request a demo today.

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