With the significant increase in cyber crime, manufacturers today require secure systems to protect their data and communications infrastructure.
As the industry has evolved, manufacturers are in constant communication with a wide range of stakeholders including customers and a host of suppliers who deliver inventory needed for product completion. Employees also have greater access to systems as they monitor operations and complete other tasks(for example, personal HR functions). Further, as facilities have become more technologically sophisticated, robotics and other internal systems play a critical role in getting products completed and these systems are integrated with the broader ecosystem.
While this technological evolution that has been extremely beneficial to the operational efficiency of manufacturers, the abundance of technology touch points has also opened up a level of security risk that is unprecedented in the industry. And when these systems are breached, the impact on the operation is significant as businesses are often shut down and large payments are required to receive a decryption key that unlocks and restores their systems. In recent months, there has been a number of high-visibility cases where these data and technology vulnerabilities have been exploited with JBS Foods being one that gained worldwide attention.
Common Cyber Threats That Many Manufacturers Face
There are a variety of security threats that manufacturers need to be prepared for. These Ransomware attacks enter the company’s systems in a variety of ways but a couple of the most common approaches include:
--Phishing: cyber attackers create emails that, when clicked on, enable the attacker to enter the organization’s network. These emails can look like they are coming from a co-worker—typically a superior—asking for some sensitive information that enable the hacker to enter the organization’s systems or they can be more general emails that entice the reader to click on a link that allows the attacker to enter the company’s network. Manufacturing is the single most targeted industry when it comes to phishing attacks. According to the 2020 State of Encrypted Attacks Report, 38.6% of all phishing attacks targeted manufacturing organizations.
--Drive-by downloads: While less prevalent than phishing, drive-by downloads occur when someone visits a website that is infected with a virus and the virus then spreads from that person’s system to each computer or program they interact with. In these situations, attackers take advantage of known vulnerabilities in the software of legitimate websites and embed malicious code or redirect the user to a site that they control using software known as exploit kits. These exploit kits enable the hacker to scan the visitor’s device for any weaknesses that they can then exploit.
These threats, along with a number of others, are challenging because they can originate from a broad range of sources and affect so many of the systems that are integral to the manufacturing process. As manufacturers have more and broader types of communication with customers, suppliers, and employees, the risk of security breaches has risen exponentially thereby increasing the importance of protecting data and communications from these threats
Using SD-WAN To Identify Threats and Protect Your Data and Communications Infrastructure
SD-WAN prevents attackers from disrupting operations or stealing critical information while securely and efficiently directing traffic across the WAN using a centralized control function. SD-WAN accomplishes this by providing a range of security features including:
--Traffic: Encryption and VPNs: High-quality SD-WAN solutions come with AES encryption and Internet Protocol Security(IPSec) within a virtual private network (VPN). These capabilities work to prevent unauthorized traffic from accessing your network, protecting your company from all types of ransomware attacks.
--Microsegmentation: With this feature, administrators can segment traffic depending on network policies. This prevents traffic from entering from unsecure locations thereby protecting viruses from reaching areas of the network housing sensitive and critical information.
--Threat Intelligence: SD-WAN provides threat intelligence services that identify security threats and mitigate them automatically. This capability uses artificial intelligence to also pinpoint suspicious traffic patterns that enable the organization to predict future security threats.
Finally, SD-WAN integrates well with a variety of other technology security services. Depending on the manufacturer's unique environment and needs, SD-WAN can be combined with a host of other security services including Zero Trust Network Access(ZTNA), Secure Web Gateways(SWG), Cloud Access Security Broker(CASB), and Remote Browser Isolation(RBI) to further strengthen their technology environment.
So, if your organization is interested in having further discussion about how SDWAN can help ensure that your production isn’t disrupted by cyber threats or how SD-WAN works in conjunction with a broader portfolio of technology security services, contact our team at Coeo. We can be reached at 844-400-2426 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our cloud communication experts can provide you with more information on SD-WAN and help you evaluate the technology that will keep your manufacturing operations running securely.