Technology has improved manufacturing, and continues to improve manufacturing. That’s undeniable. But as technology becomes more advanced and factories become increasingly digital, cyber security becomes a bigger issue.
There was a time when you had to sneak into factories in the dead of night and tamper with the machinery, or lurk outside in the shadows offering bribes in return for secret candy recipes if you wanted to sabotage your competition. Now, if someone has the skills and the incentive to fiddle with your factory, it’s as simple as punching a few keys from behind the safety of a computer screen.
Cyber security is something that will continue to grow in importance as The Internet of Things becomes more connected, and phones, homes, vehicles, and factories continue to get “smarter”.
Pretty much anything that is connected to the Internet has the potential to be hacked. The Industrial Internet of things is connecting old manufacturing devices and industrial robots not only in an internal network, but to outside sources as well.
In the same way that the IoT is making our lives easier and more convenient, it is also sweetening the pot for hackers and cyber criminals.
Bank routing numbers, passwords, and important personal information are hovering around in the cloud, and if someone has the know-how, they can tap into it and take whatever information they want. Losing the password to your dog’s Twitter account, or having your toaster get hacked, won’t cause much collateral damage, but losing your bank account information can cause some serious problems.
And that’s just on the personal level. Businesses are even bigger targets for cyber attacks and have even more to lose.
A report from IBM found that manufacturing is the second-most targeted industry for cyber attacks.
A couple of years ago there was a big news story about Chinese hackers stealing trade secrets from U.S. businesses, some of which were manufacturers. It involved foreign military, governments, and some old and powerful businesses. It was a big deal.
However, with increased connectivity and an increased importance in IoT, cyber attacks are going to become more common and less headline-grabbing. Maybe your local competitor steals your client list, or the guy in the next town over hires some tech goons to slow down your machine speed by 2%.
There are three big cyber security risks that manufacturers should be aware of.
- Forced downtime
- Production sabotage
- Theft of information
Yes, the Industrial Internet of Things can greatly benefit your business, but it can also leave you more susceptible to cyber attacks. If you’re going to invest in IIoT – and if you’re in manufacturing, you most definitely should – you should be sure to invest in cyber security to keep your business safe.
Of course, if you’re going to invest in IIoT, you also need to have a system that’s running smoothly. Give us a call for any of your Indramat repair needs!