A survey of 310 companies in various industrial sectors was conducted by Sikich LLP, a company specializing in accounting, advisory, technology and managed services. This report provides an evaluation of American manufacturing companies today.

40% of Executives site IT integration as challenging

Experts comment that “Roughly 40% of executives surveyed cited integration of IT systems, lack of technical expertise/skills, security concerns, the time required to see benefits, and funding/cost as extremely or very challenging when it comes to using, or planning to use, the latest technologies.” In accessing technical expertise and addressing security, companies often find that the most cost-effective approach is to supplement their internal resources by partnering with specialized vendors.

Cybersecurity is one of the main concerns among manufacturing business executives: “Half of the companies reported they had suffered a data breach or cyber attack involving their computer systems or networks over the previous 12 months.” 11% among the surveyed replied suffering from a major disruption. Despite these facts, only 45% of surveyed companies have an executive responsible for managing cybersecurity solely or primarily. For small and medium-sized companies this number is equal to 14%. Such companies have limited IT resources and expertise. They are advised to consider “outsourcing the entire cybersecurity program”, according to the report. The vendor services include and are not limited to “conducting cyber audits (63% larger companies vs 38% smaller companies), hiring internal professionals with cybersecurity expertise (69% vs 37%), and performing phishing exercises on employees (63% vs 31%).”

The cybersecurity program is the major step to take for companies considering e-commerce, the Internet of Things, or adopting new technologies and automation.


Cybersecurity as an afterthought?

Another report by Siemens, published by Harvard Business Review, reveals that cybersecurity in industrial companies is often “an afterthought”, according to experts. Usually, manufacturing companies are managing their operational risks from “property damage, worker safety, interruption of critical services (power, water), and even loss of life”. However, the digitalization brings new risks and greater damage they are not aware of, according to HBR. “The cybercrime cost the world between $445 billion and $608 billion in 2017”. The average cost for a single attack was estimated for different industries below:

The lack of company expertise in cybersecurity was reported as well. “[Unfortunately,] the executives who determine how this automation plays in industrial environments don’t have instincts in cyber, and many of them don’t have deep instincts in technology. That’s a problem,” says Ed Amoroso, CEO of TAG Cyber and former chief information security officer (CISO) of AT&T. Other experts suggest approaching the cybersecurity as business owners approach their financial risks. This requires accountability from the security team and all business units to “include the security as part of their overall calculus of risk and reward, investment, and return.”

Today, cybersecurity is not just a preventative measure against hackers but a new service that will help companies to gain trust and loyalty among clients and partners.  “In this age of heightened risk, that’s a powerful advantage to have,” reported in the survey.

At 5NINES we are committed to educate and provide cybersecurity services small and medium-sized companies. As a founding member of the Wisconsin Small Business Cybersecurity Initiative, our expertise and best practices include vulnerability assessment, mitigation, and managed services. Our team will evaluate your documentation, process, training and policy to identify weaknesses and high-risk areas in the network, systems, media and physical assets. Customized solutions on how to mitigate vulnerabilities, fix architecture and add highly-trusted firewall hardware will be explained during a personal consultation with our specialists. Our security expert will also review your security procedures. The plan is designed to satisfy your company budget and timeline accordingly.

Sources Cited:

  1. Cybersecurity in the Modern Industrial World. (2018). [online] Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Available at: https://hbr.org/sponsored/2019/02/cybersecurity-in-the-modern-industrial-world [Accessed 5 Aug. 2019].
  2. Manufacturing & Distribution Servey Report. (2019). [online] SIKICH, LLP. Available at: https://www.sikich.com/md-report/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2019].