The strength and frequency of cyberattacks are always on the rise. This makes it paramount for manufacturers to stay up to date on cyber security tips so that they're tracking changes in this volatile field. It’s not a matter of IF your systems will be attacked, but WHEN they’ll be attacked – so it’s important to be prepared and make sure your system is ready to defend an attack, and that people inside your company aren’t using procedures that could open doors to hackers.
What are some of the main things hackers are stealing from manufacturers? Some of the primary targets include:
- Intellectual property
- Company strategy documents
- Ransomware (to make you pay to get operational again)
Never assume your company is safe from hackers – even small companies are vulnerable. For manufacturing especially, patented production techniques and customer bases are all hackers need to poke a hole in your system. Here are some tips to help keep your company—and code—safe.
Maintain a Strong Firewall
A firewall is a software program that creates a wall between your computer and the Internet to filter out hackers and other viruses from getting into your system.
Application firewall: This firewall allows you to prevent all inputs and outputs. It protects you on web application and interconnection levels. It offers you more protection than a packet filter firewall that would require added intrusion prevention layers.
Educate Your Employees
Have an education plan for your employees to ensure their devices are less susceptible to attack. This entry point is steadily rising as more people work away from the office on laptops and phones. It's your job to create awareness among your employees to lessen the liklihood of an attack. You can do this a few ways:
- Have quarterly sessions to talk about cyber security. Update your employees on different tactics hackers have been using, what phishing and email scams look like, and if there are any current threats to your industry.
- Test employee knowledge. Testing employee knowledge on cyber security and safety steps to see where your network might be vulnerable will help you make sure everything stays uniform. Training should be a top priority, as explained in this VARinsights article: Most Data Breaches Due to Employee Errors Making Cyber Education Critical
- Have protocol in place. If an employee gets a suspicious email or notices a cyber attack, they should be aware of a series of steps to take in order to remove it from the system. That might mean forwarding the suspicious email to the IT department for closer inspection, alerting managerial personnel, or shutting down their computer until someone can get a better look at it.
Keep an Eye on Your Passwords
It’s so simple that it almost seems silly to include on this list, but it’s important. A strong password will…
- Have at least 15 characters.
- Have uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Include a symbol.
- Include a number.
Make sure you don’t use the same password for everything. This, combined with the uniqueness of creating a strong password, will make them hard to remember. To help with password management, I would recommend using LastPass to help you manage passwords.
Update Your Programs Regularly
One of the largest ransomware attacks took place in May of this year. The vulnerability was discovered in Windows and released by hackers. A patch was sent out by Windows, but systems that weren’t updated were made vulnerable. The attack locked users out of their systems and demanded money from them to regain control.
Updates always seem inconvenient, but the safety of your network could rely on that upgrade.
The landscape of cyber security is ever changing because of new threats emerging on a daily basis. As the attacks grow and change, your network and computers must change with it. It’s best to talk with your IT provider and make sure you understand how you’re being protected and what you can do to help them keep you and your company’s information secure.
Industry changes keep you on your toes – we get it. On top of security concerns are rapid changes in technology, marketing and sales techniques, as well as the challenge of adapting to a new type of customer base. Our free co-produced eBook can help you keep up – download it today!