FIve Common OT Security Risks Faced By Startups In The Manufacturing Industry
As manufacturing startups rely more on digital technologies, they become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Manufacturing plants are more connected than ever before, thanks to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). While these advancements are great, startups are now more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
In this article, we look at the most common OT security risks that startups in the manufacturing industry face. Whether you already have a company or planning to start one in the manufacturing sector, you need to understand various OT security risks. So, sit back and read this piece to the end!
About OT Security and the Risks It Faces
The term "operational technology" (OT) refers to a type of technology used to control and monitor physical devices, processes, and infrastructure. In manufacturing plants, OT is used to do various tasks, including:
- Monitoring and control of the production line
- Managing inventory
- Carrying out other critical tasks
However, as OT systems become more connected to other IT systems and the internet, new vulnerabilities emerge that hackers can exploit. Here are some of the most common OT security risks that startups in the manufacturing industry face:
Risks from Within the Startup or Insider Threats
Insider threats are the most common security threats that startups in the manufacturing industry face. Insider threats can be intentional or unintentional and have dire consequences for a company's reputation, finances, and operations.
Employees may inadvertently compromise system security in many ways. Usual ones include clicking on a malicious link or downloading a virus-infected file. To reduce the risk of insider threats, your startup company or organisation should have a cybersecurity guide and implement security policies and procedures such as data backup, incident response plans, and employee training.
Inadequate Awareness and Education, Especially among New Staff
One of the most serious security risks confronting manufacturing startups is a lack of awareness and education. Many startups may lack a dedicated IT or security team, leaving cybersecurity to employees unfamiliar with the most recent threats and best practices.
In such cases, regular training and awareness sessions to educate employees on the importance of cybersecurity and how to recognise and respond to potential threats are critical. You can do it every few months or when needed. That ensures every employee understands what they should do at work.
Risks Along the Manufacturing Line or Supply Chain Attacks
Supply chains in the manufacturing industry include many parties. Some are outsiders or third parties. Manufacturing plants frequently rely on third-party vendors for hardware and software components.
Components from third parties may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and if compromised, they can serve as a gateway for hackers to access the manufacturing plant's network. So, your startup should use a robust supply chain security program. It should include third-party vendor security assessments, monitoring, and vulnerability testing regularly.
Inadequate Access Control Measures
Manufacturing plants frequently have a variety of systems and devices that require access control, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and sensors. Many startups, on the other hand, may fail to implement proper access control mechanisms, leaving these systems and devices vulnerable to unauthorised access.
Your startup should use role-based access control (RBAC) and two-factor authentication (2FA) to limit access to critical systems and devices. The most important thing here is ensuring that only authorized personnel access them.
Risks Associated with Legacy Systems
Another significant challenge for manufacturing startups is the use of legacy systems. Legacy systems have outlived their usefulness and are no longer necessary for the manufacturer or vendor.
Legacy systems may be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks because they lack the most recent security features and are not regularly updated. To ensure the security and reliability of their operations, startups should replace or upgrade these systems as soon as possible.
Dealing With OT Security Risks Faced By Startups
Understanding various risks facing your startup in the manufacturing industry is not the end. Go a step further to find ways of dealing with such risks effectively. To address these common OT security risks, your manufacturing startup should implement the following measures:
Use Restrictions: Put in place measures to restrict access to critical systems and devices. You can use access controls such as role-based access control (RBAC) and two-factor authentication (2FA).
Prepare a Security Plan for Your Startup: Create a comprehensive OT security plan that outlines the security policies and procedures required to protect the OT systems at the manufacturing plant.
Assess All Your Third-Party Vendors: Keep an eye on third-party vendors for security flaws and ensure they have strong security policies and procedures. That is how to reduce the possibility of third-party vendors working as a gateway for hackers to access the manufacturing plant's network.
Upgrade Your Systems: You should upgrade their legacy systems to ensure they have the most up-to-date security features and are regularly updated. It reduces the possibility of hackers exploiting system vulnerabilities.
Training and Awareness: Regularly provide training and awareness sessions to your employees. Educate them on the importance of cybersecurity and how to recognise and respond to potential threats.
Notably, startups in the manufacturing industry can effectively manage the OT security risks they face by implementing these helpful measures. They help ensure the security and reliability of the operations of your systems. You do not have to wait for an attack to start taking corrective actions. Act proactively and grow your startup while keeping OT security risks at bay!
Manufacturing startups face several OT security risks that can jeopardise safety, reliability, and profitability operations. Thankfully, some of the most common OT security risks manufacturing startups face are avoidable. By understanding them and applying various preventive measures, it is possible to reduce the risks significantly.
This article has explained the most common OT security risks your startup and others face daily. One way to promote growth is to find ways to prevent or reduce the impact these risks have on your startup. Use the strategies suggested and boost growth as you seek to establish your company in the manufacturing industry.