Member Spotlight: Demmer Corporation

With a few keystrokes an expert hacker can destroy a business and that fact is keeping thousands of manufacturing executives up at night. New technological advances allow manufacturers to do more than previous generations could imagine, yet each new technology brings new risks and new entry points that must be protected. How a business handles cyber security will determine the success of the brand, the livelihood of employees and the trust of customers.

“Technology is advancing so fast that a child born today will learn things and do things in their career that baby boomers and Generation Xers can’t imagine — employers need to understand the speed of technology and work to develop proper security precautions,” says Chad Taylor, revenue acquisition manager for Demmer Corporation. “Those who do not have adequate cyber security in place and don’t understand the risks will be the victims.”

For the executive team at Demmer Corporation, a Lansing-based manufacturer serving defense, aerospace, automotive, energy and transportation customers located around the world, there is no substitute for preparation and vigilance.

“Most manufacturers are vulnerable to hacking — that’s the nature of doing business in the 21st century,” says Taylor. “If your business has good internal communication, performs regular research on existing threats and weak points, and tests its own security standards, you’ll reduce the likelihood of a breach and be better prepared if an attack does happen.”

Demmer remains on the forefront of manufacturing’s war against cyber attacks. The company’s military contracts make it a logical target and customers demand that it meet specific cyber security standards.

“We’re vigilant and have been able to identify past threats, but hackers always develop new methods of attack — what worked yesterday won’t always work tomorrow,” says Taylor. “Just like manufacturing’s technology is growing at an exponential rate, the skills of hackers are increasing just as fast.”

As companies utilize new technologies and adapt to growing trends like light rail, autonomous vehicles and new energy advances, they must adapt existing cyber security procedures and train their talent. Client information, employee data, patents, research and development, and access to machines are all too vital to be left unsecured.

“When dealing with 21st century cyber attacks, you must have a vigilant IT department and communicate threats with your whole team,” says Taylor. “It takes everyone working together to combat these threats. Make sure your team is properly trained and that they understand why they are being trained. Once they know why these security protocols exist — and what’s at stake if a breach is successful — they’ll be that much more invested.”

Regular communication about potential cyber attacks and sharing existing best practices for avoiding them is the best defense for a manufacturer of any size.

“Manufacturers are always building something new and when you build new things, you can’t predict what challenges will arise but you can prepare to deal with them when they do. It’s the same with cyber security,” says Taylor. “Make preparing for a hack a top priority for the whole team — from top to bottom, not just the IT department — and never assume that it can’t happen to you.”

This article appeared in the March 2017 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.