3 Common Security Risks for Discrete Manufacturers

November 3, 2021 | Data Security
Discrete Manufacturing Plant

Discrete manufacturers face distinct challenges that are unique to their industry. For example, they rely heavily on data they receive through networks connecting various equipment for both production and safety. As a result, threats to discrete manufacturers can compromise production and the creation of products that are the foundation of a manufacturing company. They can also compromise safety on a production floor if motion sensors or other safety measures are disrupted. If successful, these attacks can compromise the entire production line and shut down manufacturing costing thousands of dollars. Here’s a look at three security risks for discrete manufacturers to consider.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides valuable information in real-time to manufacturers helping them increase production and proactively make adjustments to streamline the supply chain and make hiring or overtime decisions based on product demand and supply accessibility. Components connected to the internet and each other bring both increased productivity and a higher risk of cyber attacks and other vulnerabilities. Sometimes viruses can spread from one entity to another through email or other means; be sure to check all components of your enterprise for weaknesses and compatibility.

Cloud-based ERP solutions and IoT applications of smart devices improve the security of IT systems and data and are becoming cheaper and more accessible. It allows manufacturers to utilize technology to solve their business challenges while building smart factories that are protected from cyberhackers.

When implementing IoT within your company infrastructure, inspect each new device’s security capabilities before linking it to the company system. Each accepted device should be checked and equipped with updatable software. Implementation of IoT should not be left out of routine maintenance and security audits.

Security Breaches

Ransomware is no longer an obscure occurrence. Hackers take control of essential software and demand money in exchange for the return of the controls back to the company. Most manufacturers keep tight production schedules so any threat of delays in getting products to customers gets their immediate attention. Outside of holding an organization hostage, cybercriminals can cause damage in these ways through phishing, malware, and other strategies designed to infiltrate systems and collect valuable data or proprietary information. Training staff members to recognize suspicious emails, requests and activities can keep ill-intended threats from getting inside your organization.  

Hackers aren’t the only ones who can steal important and sensitive information about a company. Vendors and employees also have access to information that could be misused, either intentionally or accidentally. Keep sensitive data protected by using role-based access permissions that can be easily set up with an ERP system. This gives read-only access to staff and vendors who don’t need full permissions to do their job. 

Failing or Outdated Equipment

Outdated or failing equipment can break down a tightly running system. Make sure that all components of your enterprise are compatible and working the way they should. Hackers look for vulnerable spots in systems that provide easy access to sensitive data, proprietary information, and production control. Updating software and running patches can help security gaps. An ERP solution can help maintain updates and patches to software as soon as they are accessible without mandated downtime. 

At Decision Resources, Inc., we have been helping discrete manufacturers get the most from their business systems and technology for more than 40 years. If you have questions about how DRI can help your business implement an ERP data solution or guide you through ERP data security, call us at 412-562-9660 or email info@decision.com. We can help you customize your platform to meet your needs. 

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