Cybersecurity as a Business Strategy

Manufacturers face a constant onslaught of cyber threats, most of which go undetected until it gets passed down to customers or up to suppliers. Cybersecurity isn’t just an I.T. problem, it must be woven into a company’s business strategy.

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Between June of 2018 and June of 2019, 50% of manufacturers surveyed in the 2019 M&D Report faced a cyber breach or attack. Cybersecurity and cyber threats have evolved in tandem. Cybersecurity is no longer just preparing or preventing hypothetical attacks. Today, manufacturers must defend against attacks that are going to happen.

Incorporating Cybersecurity into a Business Strategy

The manufacturing industry is a prime target for cybercriminals. These businesses are associated with countless private and public sectors; pharmaceuticals, defense, transportation, retail, other manufacturers. The Department of Defense, in particular, has become a catalyst for pushing forward cybersecurity regulations. Often, a business might not even be aware of how ingrained they are in a specific industry because of the lack of transparency throughout the supply chain. New rules and regulations are being developed to ensure manufacturers are more prepared to respond and defend against cyber threats. A single weak link in the supply chain can hinder countless organizations’ ability to conduct business as usual or much worse.

It takes much more than a webinar, hiring a cybersecurity expert, or bringing on a new IT provider to create an environment that can fend off and bounce back from cyber attacks. To truly become cyber secure, a manufacturer must incorporate cybersecurity into its business strategy.

PwC released the 2019 Digital Insights survey and it showed that 77% of the trailblazing businesses that took part said their cybersecurity teams communicate with senior executives regularly. This communication and connectivity are essential to provide a true sense of the company’s risk level related to core business practices. Cyber attacks do not discriminate, either. They don’t single out executives or a person working on the shop floor. They breach and infect an entire organization.

To truly secure a facility and be able to recover from a cyber attack quickly with minimal damage, it requires complete organizational buy-in, a new mindset, and 21st-century practices and procedures.

An entire organization must be educated on the threats and potential damages a cyber attack can cause. From the shop floor to the c-suite, everyone must undergo the necessary training to avoid a breach. Reaction plans must be developed that give businesses a clear road map on how to efficiently and effectively handle the slew of potential cyber threats when one occurs. Physical and digital threats are everywhere. Often when it comes to cybersecurity, businesses don’t consider the physical threats. Training and education to identify these physical threats are just as, if not more important than protecting digital assets.

Cybersecurity is a Business Problem

Each supplier and every customer stands to suffer if a manufacturer falls victim to a cyber attack. This suffering doesn’t just include missed orders or opportunities. Often a supplier or customer may not know a manufacturer has been infected until it is far too late. Business could be running as usual for months until a cyber breach is detected. This means that every email, every file shared, or service provided poses a substantial risk of spreading malicious software to those connected to a manufacturer. Manufacturers could unknowingly be infecting their supply chain and every customer while the malicious software simultaneously steals precious intellectual property or private data.

By infecting suppliers and customers, business damage can expand far beyond the scope of what the malicious software caused. Long-lasting business relationships and public trust can be destroyed. 

The cost of a cyber breach, without having a way to identify, eliminate, and effectively communicate and inform suppliers and customers can lead to a catastrophe. This isn’t an exaggeration. Any owner knows how challenging it is to restore a damaged business relationship. Many companies may not be able to recover from damaged business relationships, an unknown amount of downtime, and an unplanned IT overhaul.

Incoming Cybersecurity Regulations for DoD Supply Chain

The United States government is taking massive steps forward to protect our nation’s cybersecurity. Both private and public sectors are under constant bombardment from global cyber threats. In 2019 and beyond, any organization will benefit from developing a business strategy focused on remaining cyber secure. However, those in the DoD supply chain will be at risk of losing contracts if they don’t comply with NIST 800-171. 

New cybersecurity standards and regulations are coming. The NIST 800-171 Special Publication is a suite of business solutions that combine Hardware, Software, Security and Response plans that are required for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors or subcontractors. No matter the level involvement manufacturers have within the DoDspace, NIST 800-171 compliances will be required. Furthermore, these rules and regulations are scalable and the best line of defense for a business regardless of its supply chain or industry. On top of defending against cyber breaches, having a reaction plan in place is essential. 

No matter how prepared a business maybe, a cyber threat can sneak through and wreak havoc. NIST 8001-171 cybersecurity requirements is an all-encompassing cybersecurity process designed to seamlessly meld with a company’s business strategy. 

NJMEP is the leading expert on these new rules and regulations and has the capacity and expertise to address New Jersey manufacturer’s cybersecurity compliance concerns. Subject matter experts and a pool of industry resources are standing by to help create a customized solution that makes sense for your business.

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