Canadian Manufacturing

Digital transformation key to surviving in 2021 for manufacturers

Manufacturing leaders are strengthening security programs to protect IP, operational data and personal information amidst these transformations.

February 9, 2021  by CM Staff

A number of manufacturers across industries have announced transformational changes to lead off 2021. GM announced a recent $1 billion investment to focus on electric vehicle manufacturing in Ingersoll, Ontario. CEM Specialties Inc., McRae Imaging, and a number of other organizations are exploring PPE manufacturing to battle the pandemic, and some Quebec manufacturers received key funding from the Canadian Economic Development Fund for the Quebec region concerning their efforts around 3D print manufacturing.

As the manufacturers continue to battle the pandemic from a work from home environment, organization leaders are strengthening security programs to protect IP, operational data and personal information amidst these transformations.

Theo Van Wyk, head of Cybersecurity at CDW Canada, provided some points for consideration for companies transitioning to cloud services.

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“As IT and OT are converging, manufacturers should keep in mind that OT, operational technologies are still underdeveloped in terms of cybersecurity. There are a lot of best practices when it comes to protecting IT, and a lot of the developments in this field can be carried over from organization to organization, but there’s still work to do in preparing, and defending to threats to digital operations,” he said.

Because operations often take longer to transition to cloud and digital services, organizations are often slower to update these systems, as they introduce a risk during transition. But as cloud services continue being adopted, not only do they save on operational costs, but they improve security and agility for organizations using them. Employees no longer need to be at a physical office space to save work or perform their duties. Added security protocols help protect an organizations operational technology and security breaches become less common according to Van Wyk.

“There’s no golden bullet for protecting data in a work from home environment. If operational technologies are available in a 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. Transitioning to SaaS in their operations as well will help provide added security protocols for Canadian manufacturers.” He concluded.

One of the key takeaways when speaking to Canadian Manufacturing was emphasizing the concept of applying a Zero Trust Architecture, meaning that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its perimeters, and should instead verify any and all access to proprietary data and services.

A number of cybersecurity programs are offered by companies looking to help manufacturers transition their operations to a secure cloud environment, including CDW Canada, Terranova Security and others. The work from home environment for many advanced manufacturers provides a ripe opportunity for this transition.


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