Interactions with technology are advancing at an exponential rate, and so are the risks of a cyber-attack. It seems like every other day there is another story in the news of a malicious virus sweeping the global marketplace and negatively impacting local economies.

Perhaps your manufacturing business just implemented real-time financial reporting in the cloud, invoices customers via the internet, or conducts a multitude of online banking transactions. Imagine just a few of the possible impacts of a cyber-attack in this new e-commerce environment:

  • Your company data becomes inaccessible as an unknown individual holds your information for ransom. How can you continue to operate without this information? Will you pay this ransom?
  •  Your operations floor comes to a sudden halt. Machines abruptly shut down as the related technology suffers a cyber-attack. How long will it take to recover and reboot? How much will this cost? How will you fulfill your customers’ demands?
  • Vital software programs become inoperative. Your employees are not able to perform their day to day tasks. A security professional informs you that an attack to your servers has come through an employee’s personal tablet. What other access points are prone to attack?

According to a recent article published by Automation World, utilizing a recent study performed by Cisco, many manufacturers are devoting more resources to cybersecurity. The key is to not only commit these resources, but to do so in an efficient manner. Here are a few points to consider when addressing cybersecurity:

  • Gradual and Continuous Process: Building up your cybersecurity can become very expensive. Some of the major costs can include programs, equipment, and experienced employees or consultants. You should consider these costs against the risks of potential threats. Create a plan that will help spread the cash flow, but also prevent extensive damage. Threats will continue to adapt, so this plan should be periodically monitored and updated.
  • Information Technology and Operational Technology: Manufacturing floors are increasingly being built upon and supported by technology. The connection between information technology and the operational technology on the manufacturing floors needs to be established and maintained in a careful manner, so that the operational technology is protected from the potential threats to the information technology. The benefits of connection between these two technologies should be considered against these threats.
  • Internet of Things: Internet access can be established through many technological devices: computers, phones, operating machinery, watches, vehicles, buildings, etc. For each device that is provided access to business information, a new avenue is created that can be exploited by attackers. Proper security should be established prior to enabling the use of new devices.

All in all, technology is providing extreme operational efficiencies. You would be mistaken not to consider the use of these technologies. However, you would be further mistaken not to consider the cybersecurity measures that should be established and maintained with each and every change in your business use of technology. Keep your business effective. Keep your business secure.

For More Information

Please follow the link below for the full discussion of the Cisco study presented by Automation World. Let us know if you have accounting or taxation questions as you build your cybersecurity.