Top 7 steps to reduce the chance of cyber attacks

Posted by Angela Messenger on August 1, 2018

To capture the business value from emerging technologies and reduce the chance of cyber attacks, manufacturers need to remain secure, vigilant and resilient.

If a cyber breach occurs, are you prepared? With manufacturing facing such a dynamic cyber risk landscape, these seven steps are crucial to protecting your business.

1. Set the tone at the top

Employees need to be supported from the top to have a real impact.

Emphasising both the importance and consequences of cyber threats in the boardroom will ensure it’s respected and taken seriously company-wide.

The investments you’re making in emerging manufacturing technologies and connected products should all be covered by your cyber risk programme. But you don’t necessarily need to rely on your in-house team to drive this forwards.

2. Perform a broad cyber risk assessment

Risks change and evolve over time, so performing regular reviews and assessments can help identify potential areas of weakness in your IT estate.

3. Share the results

If the results of your cyber risk assessment are filed away, you’re missing a huge opportunity to create a visible, security-first culture within the business.

Share the results of the assessment and the strategy it has inspired. Have discussions with each team about the impact of cyber risk on their work, and how preventative measures can help the organisation be more resilient to attacks.

4. Think data

Data is an asset. It’s essential to make sure you know where valuable data resides in your business, and how its risk profile changes as it makes its way through the organisation from the supply chain, into business systems, the shop floor and out to third parties.

5. Consider third party risk

Working closely with third parties has the potential to expose your business to any cyber risks and vulnerabilities they have in their organisation.

Look at the critical relationships you have and how vulnerabilities in the ecosystem might have a knock-on impact to your risk profile.

6. Monitor constantly

To determine when and how a cyber breach could take place in key areas of the business, you’ll need to be vigilant in monitoring your IT estate. Cyber attackers exploit vulnerabilities, such as unpatched software and default passwords.

Implementing vulnerability scanning can reduce the opportunities for attackers to access your systems.

7. Get employees on board

The best cyber risk programme you could imagine is next to useless if it doesn’t gain buy in company-wide. Everyone has their part to play in a company’s cyber risk strategy, but do individuals and teams in your organisation know their responsibilities? Make it clear where the responsibilities lie for the crucial components of your cyber risk programme.

Drive awareness of your cyber strategies, and make people aware of their responsibilities. This approach mitigates phishing and social engineering risks, protects your IP and keeps sensitive data out of harm’s way.

Most importantly, ensure there are appropriate escalation processes in place that enable the reporting of unusual activity or areas of concern.

To find out more, download Cyber Security Protection: 3 key questions to ask in the boardroom.

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