Promoting Cybersecurity Necessary for Manufacturing 4.0

By April 12, 2019General

This week in Chicago, the National Association of Manufacturers hosted more than 100 cybersecurity leaders from manufacturing organizations small and large at a Leading Edge-sponsored Cybersecurity Executive Forum. The event provided an opportunity for CISOs, CIOs, CTOs and technical experts to share experiences and discuss best practices for boosting manufacturers’ cybersecurity posture. Through deep dives on the cyber-threat landscape in 2019 and the changes in the industry brought by Manufacturing 4.0, including automation and rapid technological innovation, it is clear that cybersecurity remains a top priority for operational experts across our sector. As such, getting cybersecurity policy right should remain a priority for policymakers committed to ensuring the success of manufacturing in the digital age.

We need to be clear-eyed about the challenges ahead in order to properly address them, and manufacturers are ready to lead. According to a recent survey by the Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the NAM, more than 60 percent of manufacturers expect cyber-attacks to increase in 2019. As manufacturers incorporate new, connected technologies into their processes, operations and products, these cybersecurity experts know the entry points for bad actors multiply. These challenges are heightened for manufacturers in particular given the lengthy lifecycles of manufacturing equipment and products. To remain competitive, manufacturers are incorporating big data into their operations, and to do so successfully, they must connect legacy equipment securely.

Awareness of the cybersecurity challenge has increased across the industry, and manufacturers are committed to progress and thinking about security at the outset as the industry transitions to Manufacturing 4.0. Manufacturers know safety—just step onto a shop floor and you’ll see hard hats, hazard warnings and processes engineered with employee and client wellbeing in mind. We must now ensure the same posture for the digital side of shop floors. At this week’s event, the VP of IT Security for Schneider Electric, a leader in this space, highlighted that cybersecurity is progressing across manufacturing because companies are working to expand this well-established culture of safety to create a culture of security.

As manufacturers do their part, policymakers can help by continuing to recognize the leadership across industry in cybersecurity and the benefit of public-private collaboration in the face of common cyber threats. They should also work to increase the cost on cyber criminals, improve the sharing of cyber threat information to industry and take steps to develop a cybersecurity workforce for the future. Continued industry-led advances in cybersecurity also depend on having the right policies in place on data privacy and security, including replacing the regulatory burden that comes from a patchwork of regulations on IoT, privacy and security at the international and state level with appropriate federal policies. The NAM will continue to work with policymakers to pursue policies that allow manufacturers large and small to realize the wealth of benefits from Manufacturing 4.0.

Stephanie Hall

Stephanie Hall is the Director of Innovation Policy at National Association of Manufacturers.

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