Small manufacturers play important role in supply chain security

Though the manufacturing sector does not attract the sheer volume of total cyberattacks as other areas of the economy, research has shown that coordinated cyber espionage targets manufacturing more than any other sector.

supply chain security

ISACA and the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) recently partnered to conduct a survey that explored the cybersecurity challenges faced by the global manufacturing industry.

Survey findings showed that manufacturers still face security concerns, including those related to IoT-integrated devices and employee error, and that they continue to struggle with finding skilled cybersecurity staff and may be underspending on security training.

Survey results revealed some areas of strength related to the manufacturing industry’s approach to cybersecurity when compared against all industries:

  • 78 percent of manufacturing organizations have a formal process for dealing with cybersecurity incidents, and 68 percent have one for ransomware attacks.
  • 77 percent expressed confidence in their security team’s abilities to detect and respond to advanced persistent threats (APTs).
  • 34 percent noted they were experiencing more cybersecurity attacks today than a year ago, compared to 62 percent across all industries from ISACA’s 2018 State of Cybersecurity survey.
  • 74 percent indicated they believed their organization’s cybersecurity training budgets would either increase or at least be maintained at current levels; only 4 percent anticipated a decrease in the coming year.

Despite these positive data points, the survey results also revealed areas where the industry still needs to make progress:

  • 75 percent of manufacturing organizations have a program in place to promote cybersecurity awareness among their employees, but only 37 percent believe that their programs are very to completely effective.
  • 47 percent of manufacturing organizations are spending less than US $1,000 on average each year on continuing education opportunities for their staff—versus 25 percent in other industries—and nearly 1 in 10 reported that their enterprises spent nothing on average each year on these educational opportunities.
  • 81 percent of manufacturing organizations are somewhat to very concerned about the potential cybersecurity risks with personal, internet-connected devices. 58 percent don’t allow those devices to connect to the corporate network and 72 percent don’t allow those devices to connect to the corporate network on the manufacturing floor.
  • Finding skilled cyber-staff remains challenging; a 1.8 million worker shortage is anticipated by 2022. Respondents indicated it takes an average of five months to fill open positions and 61 percent of hiring managers said less than half of applicants are qualified.

“Though the manufacturing industry has made great strides in addressing security issues, this research illustrates the need for organizations to elevate cybersecurity as a priority to build the foundation of its cybersecurity culture, better secure their operations, and strengthen the global digital economic ecosystem,” says Frank Downs, Director of Cybersecurity Practices at ISACA.

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Small manufacturers play important role in supply chain security