Canadian Manufacturing

Many manufacturers view IIoT investments as increasing their security risks, survey finds

Canadian Manufacturing's survey found that 78% of executives believe that investing in new technologies raises the company’s cybersecurity risk, up from 65% who responded the same last year.

August 23, 2021  by Sadi Muktadir

PHOTO: Data Security/Blogtrepreneur via Flickr

The Advanced Manufacturing roundtable that took place on Aug. 17 revealed a number of key insights that will be coming out in Sept./Oct. 2021 in the full report. One of those insights involves cybersecurity and the recent number of increased breaches in 2021. Research from Toronto-based eSentire says that six known criminal gangs hit at least 292 new victim organizations globally in 2021 so far, including Montreal-based Bombardier.

With this in mind, the 2022 Advanced Manufacturing survey polled manufacturing executives with cybersecurity in mind, asking pointed questions about breaches, strategies and concerns regarding the increased number of attacks in 2021.

The survey found that 78% of manufacturing executives believed that investing in new technologies raises the company’s cybersecurity risk, up from 65% who responded the same last year.

Rory Macleod, Area VP of Manufacturing, Automotive, Energy at Salesforce, said “There’s a perception that investing in newer technologies basically increases your cybersecurity risk, as opposed to decreasing it. The reality is that if you’re on legacy applications, they’re not being updated and they’re incredibly susceptible. It’s interesting that they would view a cloud upgrade investment as an increased security risk.”

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Additionally, the survey found that when asked if the executives felt that they had done enough to protect their business form cyber-attacks, 93% of respondents felt that they had, up from 68% from last year.

These numbers are telling, suggesting that executives believe an IIoT-related cyber-security investment is a one-time priority, and that after some measures have been put into place, they are protecting their business.

When speaking to Theo Van Wyk, Head of Cybersecurity at CDW in Feb. 2021, he’d made it clear to Canadian Manufacturing that a regular review of cybersecurity protocols was needed.

“There’s no golden bullet for protecting data in a new work-from-home environment. It all depends on a company’s preparedness and whether they have the infrastructure to support employees and prevent data breaches. That includes a continual, rolling review of cyber-security strategies. It’s not just a one-time investment. There needs to be a regular, on-going review of strategies and updates to it as needed,” he says.

This was also echoed in an interview with Tony Perrotta, CEO of Greentec, when speaking about strategies manufacturers could take to improve their security initiatives.

According to the 2022 survey, 95% of respondents have taken some sort of measures to protect themselves from cyber-attacks, powered by a significant increase of companies that have applied a new cybersecurity risk assessment or strategy over the pandemic year.

Cybersecurity remains a key issue for manufacturers adopting new technologies, and will be examined closely as cyber-attacks continue to evolve and change.