This blog series is posted once a month and focuses on the following: Manufacturing Technology and Innovation, IoT, Industry 4.0, Cluster development and other relevant trends and topics of importance to Small to Medium-sized manufacturers.

This month our focus is on cybersecurity and the role it plays in protecting your intellectual property, complying with regulatory and contractual obligations and preparing your company for Industry 4.0.

Are Manufacturers Protecting Their Intellectual Property?

The article Protecting Your “Secret Sauce” – Why Data Centric Security is Key, Vishal Gupta, Information and Rights Management Expert identifies that data security is not top of mind for manufacturing companies in the United States. This is not surprising in some respects. Owners and CEO’s of a small to midsize Canadian manufacturers may think they are not a target and point to their company never being hacked.

The article emphasizes that owners and CEO’s need to ensure that their intellectual property, contractual and compliance obligations are being met and can be verified Do they know for sure that critical information and intellectual property within their organization is protected? Do they know that proprietary CAD drawings, confidential correspondence, documents and event customer lists aren’t getting into the wrong hands? Do they know for sure that cybercriminal activity isn’t infecting their business internally, via social engineering, or externally through various types of attacks?

Three Things to Do When Connecting Your Factory Floor

The article, Is Your Plant Floor Capable of Connection?, Steve Malyszko, President and CEO of Malisko Engineering says that the “three important areas that manufacturers need to focus on our [information] security, physical infrastructure and the logical topology”. What’s important about this article for owners and CEOs is knowing what’s required to make sure they can connect their operating technologies (OT) and information technologies so they can work together. Data can, and in some cases, is being gathered by manufacturers on their shop/plant floor but it’s not being fully accessed, mined and used to help the business make more money and profit.

Connecting the plant/shop floor, securely, is a necessary step if a manufacturer wants to prepare and adopt Industry 4.0 operating models and technologies including IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things).

Are There Security Frameworks for Small to Midsized Manufacturers

Is the Industrial Internet Consortium’s (IIC) Security Maturity Model (SMM) the answer to helping business owners/CEOs and their teams ensure their company is protected from cybercrime? If you ask a cybersecurity consultant you’ll likely get the answer: “it depends”. Frameworks and best practices, especially for cybersecurity, do benefit companies but many frameworks and models are developed for larger organizations and simply don’t make sense for small businesses.

Some frameworks, like the IIC’s for example, are developed by technology companies themselves who have invested interest in adopting standards that they’ve defined. This isn’t unusual but it’s important to know this fact. We’ve chosen this article because it introduces the concept of security frameworks. Give it a read here.

MTechHub has released our recommendations for a security stack designed specifically for small to midsized manufacturers. We’ve developed a systematic approach to cost-effectively protect your manufacturing business from security attacks. This approach addresses the common complaint that security is getting more expensive and difficult to manage. Learn more about our cybersecurity seminar.