Canadian Manufacturing

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Protecting Manufacturing Businesses from Cyber Threats

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January 31, 2024 in Manufacturing Technology / IIoT
By Jeff Farley, Senior Manager, Product Management, Acronym Solutions

Feature image(Photo: iStock)

Manufacturing and cyber security are interconnected aspects in today’s technologically driven industrial landscape. Integrating digital technologies in manufacturing processes, often called Industry 4.0, has brought about increased efficiency, automation, and connectivity. However, it has also introduced new challenges and risks related to cyber security, including the escalating frequency, complexity and impact of attacks.

In 2022, nearly a quarter of all detected cyber attacks targeted manufacturing firms, according to Statista. Due in part to the inception of smart factories, industrial IoT (IIoT)-enabled devices, advanced analytics and much more. As technology progresses, so do the threats posed.

So, how do you protect your organization from serious cyber threats?

Complex problems require sophisticated solutions: network security and data security. These solutions are also known as the offence and defence needed to protect your manufacturing business.

Man working on laptop

(Photo: iStock)

  1. Network security

Simply put, network security is all about prevention. It’s any activity that protects the usability and integrity of your network, endpoints, and data. However, the task is not simple, and the number of ways to penetrate networks continues to expand. The job of protecting your IT infrastructure should go to individuals who can stay ahead of increasingly elaborate threats.

To stay ahead of attacks, an organization’s best bet is to leave network and endpoint security to an expert team. If managed security services (MSS) haven’t been on your company’s radar, now is the time to consider them.

There are certainly financial and operational benefits to outsourcing your IT management and security – such as scalability, productivity, and lower costs. However, the most significant benefit is your access to dedicated expertise and advanced technology.

With MSS, your service provider’s entire job is to deploy and manage high-quality defences across your company’s digital landscape.

Whether IT leadership chooses to outsource IT security, manufacturers should be proactive about network security. Their cyber security team needs to thoroughly understand their network, digital assets, and the evolving threat landscape and be able to adapt and react quickly.

woman and man looking at screens

(Photo: iStock)

  1. Data/Information security

Data security is all about preparing for the worst, which means backing up your data and protecting it from cyber criminals. If your business finds its systems and data unexpectedly encrypted and is unable to conduct business as usual, professionally managed data backup will help you restore your operations.

The key is to identify mission-critical data, plan how to store it and test the restoration of your data. There are variations of backup rules, but one of the most popular is evolving. The 3-2-1 backup rule has evolved into 3-2-1-1-0, where you have:

  • Three (up-to-date) copies of your data
  • Stored on two different types of storage media or devices (e.g. in the cloud and on a network drive)
  • With at least one copy offsite
  • One offline copy
  • And zero errors when creating backups and performing data restoration tests

Each step is essential and will make all the difference in the event of a ransomware attack, but the offline part is critical. Why? Because ransomware threats often target all backups on the network or through cloud services. An offline backup set is like a backup of your backups and can be a lifeline.

So, as for onsite backups, why have them at all? For quick and easy file access, they’re still helpful. Local backups are fast and help you protect your business data, but they don’t offer a complete, secure solution on their own.

man looking at screens

(Photo: iStock)


Cyber threats will keep evolving. Increasing sophistication and technological advancement will make it harder for manufacturers to detect and protect themselves against network infiltration. The most secure organizations will be the ones that are the most proactive. They will have expert teams managing and monitoring their networks and actively searching for threats and vulnerabilities. In addition to hardening their network, endpoints and cloud services, best practices now call for placing a backup set “out of reach” to back up your backups.


About the author

Jeff Farley, Senior Manager, Product Management at Acronym Solutions. Jeff is the head of product development and management and is responsible for ensuring Acronym has the most up-to-date solutions to help businesses in their digital transformation.

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