By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-11-16


Why Manufacturers Are Particularly Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

Deloitte Survey Finds Manufacturers Highly Vulnerable to Cyber-Threats
A Deloitte study finds that manufacturers are ill-prepared to defend themselves from cyber-attacks and data breaches, leading to revenue and production losses.

Why Manufacturers Are Particularly Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

Manufacturing Industry Executives Lack Confidence in Cyber-Defenses
Top executives at manufacturing companies are extremely concerned about security risks.
In fact, nearly 50 percent of respondents said they aren’t confident they have the technology and know-how to protect their companies from threats.

Why Manufacturers Are Particularly Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

They Lack Funding for Security Systems
One of the problems with protecting against threats is having adequate funding. However, 48 percent of executives said they don’t have the cash they need to keep their operations safe from the many threats they face.

The Biggest Concern is Defending IP Networks
When analyzing the biggest threats they face, 36 percent of executives said that adequately protecting their IP networks is a top concern.

Enterprise networks aren’t nearly as safe as executives would want, the executives said.

Industrial Control Systems are a Particular Worry
Industrial control systems (ICS) are critical to manufacturing activities. However, just 50 percent of companies segment or isolate ICS networks from their standard networks.

That translates to 50 percent of companies facing ICS trouble if their standard networks are breached.

Assessments are Important, but Don’t Always Happen
Assessments can make the difference between a secure network and a breached network.

But 31 percent of executives said they’ve never conducted an ICS assessment. What’s more, just half of respondents said they test for ICS vulnerabilities at least once per month.

Survey Respondents Report Network Breaches
Over the last 12 months, 39 percent of companies that responded said that they had fallen victim to a network security breach.
Still, 27 percent of companies don’t include ICS in their incident response plans, according to Deloitte’s study.

Security Breach Losses Can Mount Up
When a major manufacturing company experiences a breach, the costs are massive. More than a quarter of respondents—about 28 percent—said their breaches cost them between $1 million and $10 million.

Too Few Companies Conduct War-Gaming Exercises
War gaming gives companies the opportunity to try out different hacking scenarios so they can learn the best way to respond and react quickly.
Some security experts say it’s a key component in any security plan. However, just 12 percent of executives said their companies engage in war games.

Attacks Target Employees
When hackers actually breach manufacturing networks, often they’ll find their way in by targeting employees in phishing attacks, the Deloitte survey shows.

A full 40 percent of respondents said the attacks they faced were caused by a hack that targeted employees.

The Skills Gap is Real
A lack of the right security skills is contributing to security vulnerabilities in the manufacturing industry.

Three-quarters of executives said they don’t have the IT resources they need to protect their companies and sidestep threats.

Cyber-threats are a concern for companies in any industry around the world.

But a recent study by Deloitte’s Center for Industry Insights reported that the manufacturing industry “is particularly vulnerable to cyber-risks.” Its study, which includes interviews with 35 manufacturing executives and 225 survey responses from industry executives, shows that cyber-security threats are especially worrisome in manufacturing. When a malicious party successfully hacks an organization—something that’s happening far too often—the affected companies could face millions of dollars in losses.
In the manufacturing industry, that means millions of dollars of lost production and revenue. What’s worse, executives reported they don’t have the right people to protect their networks and data from cyber-attacks and, in many cases, they’re ill-prepared to defend against potential security breaches.

As a result, the manufacturing industry has a particularly urgent need to build up its cyber-defenses.

This slide show will discuss the key findings from the Deloitte survey to explain why.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis’
Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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