This article appeared in the July 2021 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
All one has to do is glance at the headlines these days to learn about the latest cyber security attack. Cyber security has become a major concern not just for large corporations that handle macro amounts of consumer data, like banks and health care providers, but for manufacturers as well.
“Cyber attackers really don’t care what you do, how long you’ve been in business, how big you are, how small you are or even what kind of data you have. They’re just looking to exploit companies and they get paid for it,” says Katie Saglimbene, Director of Marketing for Application Specialist Kompany (ASK). ASK is a Michigan-based company that provides managed IT services, cyber security, data backup and recovery, and a whole host of other technology solutions.
Hackers will target any company they see as having vulnerabilities — whether that’s a company handling millions of personal records, or a small manufacturer that plays an important role in the supply chain. If anything, hackers will view the smaller businesses as less secure thus being low-hanging fruit. And with companies relying more and more on technology, that creates more opportunities for potential threats.
“Recent ransomware attacks have really brought to light that anybody can be a target,” says Saglimbene.
Data integrity and security issues can also arise within the supply chain. For example, any manufacturer doing business with the Department of Defense will soon be required to have Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), and it is a requirement on some contracts currently. Having that certification has been a differentiator for ASK, says Saglimbene.
At times, companies may be unaware they’re even producing work for the DOD because they represent one link in a vast supply chain.
“There are definitely instances when a mom and pop manufacturing business will have an agreement with another company that has an agreement with the DOD,” says Saglimbene. “And that middle company may have regulations. It’s going to be a chain reaction where there has to be some level of data security involved with that.”
As manufacturing companies and their technologies have evolved, so has ASK. With more businesses adopting Industry 4.0 concepts — such as automation, robotics, data collection and analysis — the technology platforms are becoming more sophisticated and thus require more security and support. It is important for manufacturers to have a good handle on each of the “Three Pillars” of technology services — IT management, cyber security and data backup and recovery. If one area becomes unstable, that will affect the other two which could impact everything from processes to production, according to Saglimbene.
Living in this technology-driven information age is a fact of life for everybody, especially businesses who have assets to protect. Taking steps to protect those assets from threats such as cyber attacks has become a critical piece for businesses in a variety of sectors and sizes.
“Think of cyber security as insurance,” says Saglimbene. “If you want to drive a car, you need insurance. And if you want to run a business, you need to have some level of protection around your company’s data and technology infrastructure because it could go away just like that.”
Learn more about , at mimfg.org or contact MMA’s Brenda Nalett at 517-487-8512 or email@example.com.
See Member Benefits to learn more about how MMA members can protect themselves with MMA’s Cyber Threat Protection, powered by ASK, or contact MMA’s Brenda Nalett at 517-487-8512 or firstname.lastname@example.org.