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Manufacturing Industry Updates

Are You Doing All You Can to Protect Your Data?


Nearly half of manufacturers and distributors have been the target of cyberattacks in the past year, according to survey results released today. So, most organizations must be taking steps to address this pervasive and serious problem, right?

Nah, not so much.

Fewer than 40% of respondents in consulting firm Sikich’s 2020 Manufacturing and Distribution Report said they take steps to prevent data breaches, even though, statistically speaking, they or a supply chain partner has probably fallen victim to one.

“Cybersecurity is an essential part of a company’s operations, but too few manufacturers and distributors take the necessary precautions to protect sensitive data,” said Brad Lutgen, partner-in-charge of Sikich’s cybersecurity team. “The coronavirus pandemic, which sent many office workers to insecure remote environments, has only elevated the risk these companies face. Manufacturers and distributors must commit to a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that includes everything from technical updates to employee training.”

You lock your home or your car while you’re away (don’t you?), so why wouldn’t your organization take steps to protect itself such as penetration testing, phishing exercises on employees and by assessing vendors’ data security efforts? Cost, lack of expertise or, in 2020, COVID-19 disruption might be factors in industry’s slow adoption of protective measures.

Sikich recommended companies consider these four best practices to tighten up their cybersecurity:

  1. Review your outsourced managed services contract(s).
  2. Consider having an incident response team on retainer.
  3. Adopt two-factor authentication.
  4. Invest in a cybersecurity insurance policy.

The report also covers the impacts of major trade developments, such as the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), as well as workplace safety/security, sustainability and succession planning. Sikich conducted its survey in March of nearly 300 executives in organizations with revenues ranging from less than $50 million to more than $500 million.