Manufacturing and OT Cybersecurity

Manufacturing and OT Cybersecurity

Manufacturing and Cybersecurity

The manufacturing industry is a crucial industry to the nation as well as the global supply chain. Providing products and services to the public as well as working with the federal government makes manufacturers essential to maintaining and creating a healthy economy. Unfortunately this means that the entire industry in addition to operational technologies (OT) face complex and advanced security threats that may result in loss of operation if not taken seriously. According to the IBM, manufacturing has become the number one most targeted industry in the last 5 years. Securing manufacturers has never been more important than it is now.

Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT)

The relationship between OT and IT is an important one. In the past many manufacturers have gotten away with “air gapping” their OT systems — separating them from the main network and isolating them from the internet. This helped prevent attacks from externally exploiting the machinery and devices that make day-to-day operations possible. The landscape is changing however, and operational technology is integrating with IT systems more and more often. It’s almost impossible not to have some sort of OT and IT connection in modern manufacturing companies. This integration brings forth a multitude of benefits for companies looking to increase throughput and maximize profits. Some of the greatest benefits include:

  • Streamlined processes
  • In depth monitoring and reporting
  • Lower costs/higher profits
  • sustainability

Every manufacturer has incentive to change how their IT and OT systems interact, but with these changes come inherent risks.

Legacy devices that are still in use will become open to attack from external bad actors, unpatched systems and misconfiguration pose greater threats when given access to the network, and interference with safety systems are all risks that come with the territory. Large companies may be able to implement controls and protocols to account for this increased security risk, but many SMB’s don’t have the resources to maintain an effective security posture. Many small businesses only have one or two employees managing their security, when faced with the sheer volume both attacks and attack vectors, this isn’t enough to create a secure business environment. Compound this with the compliance regulations that DOD contractors face, a manufacturer has no choice but to take security seriously.

How Can Manufacturers Secure OT

What can manufacturers do to ensure they don’t become a victim of ransomware, social engineering, or any of the hundred malware strains currently active? Businesses must first take stock of all their assets and where they are in their environment.

Is your machine connected to the internet? Then it’s a potential risk.

Does a third-party company monitor or audit a device or machine? Then it’s a potential back door into your network. Even air-gapped systems that are isolated from the internet can become risks if they aren’t properly secured.

Knowing where your physical and network assets lie and how they work together is the first step in creating a secure manufacturing environment.

Some of the most vicious forms of attacks can be stopped by the most practical security steps. Implementing password policies and MFA on all of your applications and accounts is the most basic step in protecting your operational assets. Having your workers undergo security awareness training to educate them on the risks they face is another way to help foster a culture of security.

An MSP like CorpInfoTech can also provide you with the tools and expertise to bolster your security plan. We can help by implementing and maintaining your firewall, monitoring your network traffic, and rooting out any lingering vulnerabilities on your system. We can also make sure that your organization is compliant with any of the applicable security frameworks including DFARS, CMMC, and NIST 800-171.

Contact CorpInfoTech today to see how we can better secure your OT and IT environment!

CorpInfoTech (Corporate Information Technologies) provides small to mid-market organizations with expert I.T. services including compliance assessment, cybersecurity penetration tests, and comprehensive business continuity planning services. CorpInfoTech can help organizations, quantify, create, refine, and mitigate the risks presented by business threatening disasters in whatever form they may be disguised.

This website is for informational and educational purposes only and does not render professional advice nor is it a substitute for dedicated professional guidance from a competent and duly accredited cybersecurity professional specific to your needs and implementation. There is no endorsement of any kind for products or services listed on this website; it is entirely the readers responsibility to conduct appropriate due diligence and due care in selecting and engaging with any product or service.

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