By Diana Buccella Modified February 7, 2021
Manufacturing companies have a lot to consider when it comes to physical security. Not only do they have to think about protecting the people working in the facility and the products that they are producing but also their customer and employee information, financial records, product information/trade secrets, and much more.
Now, consider the added pressure of the daily news headlines reporting security breaches. Every day there seems to be another organization that becomes a victim to hackers. Leadership teams face tough decisions on how to allocate their security budget to try and protect their business from being the next one at risk. With cyber breaches happening so often, it’s understandable why companies are increasing cybersecurity budgets, but they shouldn’t put all their eggs in one security basket.
When physical devices fail, it has the potential to put all security investments at risk. Think about a manufacturers server room. There may be data encryption and authentication to provide reliable security, but if someone breaks into the facility, those security measures are useless.
For manufacturers, protecting physical security also means protecting information, personnel and product.
As manufacturing becomes increasingly connected, it’s vital that manufacturers adopt more modern security practices that go beyond a traditional perimeter security approach. It’s safe to assume that cybercriminals will hack into your network at some point. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the most important data is locked up in a way that hackers couldn’t touch it, even if they break in.
This one might sound straightforward, but often these seemingly avoidable breaches cause the most damage to a manufacturer. There are many ways that theft can occur in manufacturing facilities.
Outsiders: Unauthorized personnel can wreak havoc on a facility with a single breach in the lock system. If an outsider has been able to breach the lock system, they will be granted access to open doors and gates, allowing them entry into confidential areas.
Insiders: Threats from internal stakeholders can be even more damaging then those from an outsider. Employees have access to video and monitors and the ability to remove records, which would remove any evidence of the crime. Another common occurrence is an employee instigating a false alarm to occupy security personnel while the crime is being carried out.
Companies with older plants could have vulnerabilities that they are unaware of and updating these could be a substantial investment. Risk assessment is the first step to improve physical security.
With an increase in cybersecurity threats, there has also been an increase in hybrid physical and cyberattacks. Things such as smart doors, networked security cameras, locks and alarms that are used to keep property secure, now become a target to hackers. Once they gain control over these systems, they are able to enter the building and can easily carry out their plans.
Security operations personnel are inundated with security signals. This can be damaging to a manufacturer if the team starts ignoring signals or isn’t sure how to prioritize them. Imagine you’re in a building where false fire alarms are always going off…after a while you start to ignore them. Even though it may not seem like a high priority, scaling a security operations team can make all the difference to be a step ahead of an event.
Sometimes avoiding a security threat can be as simple as training employees on protocols and procedures. By training users on physical security and having designated personnel that can troubleshoot security systems, manufacturers can be quick to react to events and potentially avoid loss.
Manufacturers should ensure that employees are trained on company policies such as policies about taking data home, decommissioned equipment and secure workstations.
Stolen intellectual property can lead to devastating loss for a brand. Counterfeit products not only tarnish the original brand by putting lower quality products into the market but can also harm revenue and their overall reputation.
Prioritize what type of attack would be the most damaging to your organization. A security audit application can simplify your audit and inspection management through automated processes and reminder notifications. It can also easily report on progress and track overall scores to measure the effectiveness of security policies that will give you the bigger picture allowing you to prioritize your security efforts.