IIoT security: UK manufacturers at risk from cyber threats
The lack of IIot security investments could put UK manufacturers at risk from cyber threats.
A majority of UK manufacturers, 62 percent, have plans to increase their investments in internet-connected capital equipment in the next five years as they transition to industry 4.0. However, investment plans in IIoT are not matched by the same level of investment in IIoT security, according to the EEF, the UK manufacturers’ organisation.
Only half of manufacturers have increased their investment in cyber security in the past two years and only a third have an incident response plan for cyber breaches, the EFF found in a survey. Furthermore, cyber security management is not a broad level discussion for almost half of respondents and only 24 percent monitor cyber threats through business KPIs. ”Cyber risks for manufacturers will go wider than for other sectors as a result of the 4th industrial revolution. Risks will include data manipulation, potential changes to product formulation and data held for ransom – all carrying potential health and safety risks,” said Chris Richards, senior business environment policy adviser at the EEF, in a blog post.
The lack of focus on cyber threats is by no means unique to the UK manufacturing sector. Two thirds of large UK businesses were hit by a cyber breach or attack in the past year, according to the UK government’s newly-released ”Cyber Security Breaches Survey”. And while 50 percent of FTSE 350 firms view cyber threats as their biggest threat, few have actually made cyber security a priority. Indeed, less than half of the surveyed businesses had formal written cyber security policies and only 10 percent had an incident management plan in place.
Making UK manufacturing future-proof
UK manufacturers’ intent to invest in industry 4.0 is good news as the EEF had found earlier that few UK manufacturers viewed the industrial IoT as a productivity driver. The main reason was that they simply knew too little about it, the report concluded. The UK is one of the world’s leading manufacturing economies, recently ranked seventh in the world in terms of manufacturing output. In order to maintain its leading position, the country’s manufacturers must transform IIoT intent into IIoT investments, while at the same time investing in security as internet-connected equipment increases the risk of cyber threats. ”The risk of a cyber attack is an even bigger issue for manufacturers as we enter an age where more and more production technologies and processes will be internet-connected and autonomous,” said Chris Richards. The lack of unified IIoT security standards will be yet another hurdle manufacturers will have to overcome.
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