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Cybersecurity Investment: A Strategic Imperative for Manufacturing and Engineering Sectors

by Gordon Sayers, CEO, SoConnect Ltd.

It's easy to put off increasing your cybersecurity budget when you can't see what you're getting from it. However, when you consider the average cost of a breach to be £4.1 million, you begin to understand the worth of robust cybersecurity measures. The ever-evolving nature of cyber threats puts pressure on businesses worldwide to constantly review how they protect their assets. There's no exception in the Manufacturing and Engineering sectors. 

Not investing in cybersecurity could lead to devastating consequences, such as a major data breach that exposes sensitive customer information, resulting in legal liabilities, reputational damage, and loss of customer trust.  

In recent years, we've seen a significant rise in cyberattacks targeting the sector. 

In October of last year, Volex, A UK-based company specialising in producing various power products for data centres and electric vehicles, experienced a cyber attack in which hackers accessed their IT system.

Meanwhile, Brunswick Corporation, a manufacturer of marine products, has estimated that a recent ransomware attack on its systems will cost up to $85 million. 

Manufacturing, Scientific, and Technical Services account for nearly 35% of all ransomware victims (1). We're aware too that 60% of SMEs hit by ransomware cease trading within six months of the attack. As technology becomes more deeply ingrained in your operations, the threat surface expands, and this makes the call for heightened cybersecurity investment compelling and urgent. 

Cybersecurity is no longer simply an IT concern but a strategic business imperative.

This means that it's not just about protecting your data and systems, but also about safeguarding your reputation, keeping customer trust, and ensuring business continuity. It's a fundamental part of your business strategy that can directly impact your bottom line and long-term success.  

Cost of Cybersecurity vs. Cost of Cyber Threats 

While assessing the return on investment (ROI) in cybersecurity can be complex, the repercussions of overlooking this area are becoming increasingly clear. Cyber incidents disrupt operations, undermine stakeholder confidence, and damage business reputation. If you place cybersecurity expenditure within the broader context of risk management, you can more accurately gauge the value of the investment.  

Integrating Cybersecurity with Innovation 

There is a vital need to integrate cybersecurity considerations into the innovation process. As companies explore new technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), robotics, and advanced analytics, ensuring these innovations are secure by design enhances protection, streamlines operations, and reduces the potential for costly disruptions. 

For example, by incorporating cybersecurity from the first stages of product development, you can prevent security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches and the associated financial and reputational damages. 

Leveraging Cyber Insurance  

Cyber insurance can play a crucial role in a comprehensive risk management strategy. It offers financial protection and encourages companies to adopt best practices in cybersecurity to qualify for better premiums and coverage options. The right cyber insurance policy can be a litmus test for a company's cyber defences.

Fostering a Culture of Security 

Creating a culture that prioritises cybersecurity can significantly enhance the effectiveness of any technological or procedural safeguards. This involves regular training, engagement initiatives, and a clear communication strategy that underscores each employee's role in maintaining cyber hygiene. 

Collaboration for a Stronger Defence  

Modern manufacturing and engineering firms are vulnerable to supply chain attacks because of their interconnected nature.

Strengthening partnerships with suppliers and partners to ensure they follow robust cybersecurity practices can create a more secure ecosystem and reduce the risk of breaches. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of shared responsibility and unity in the face of cyber threats, reminding us that we're all in this together.  

Increasing cybersecurity spending is not just about preventing losses for the manufacturing and engineering sectors. It's about enabling safe innovation, keeping a competitive advantage, and building a resilient future. As your business evolves, so must your approach to managing cyber risk. It's an ongoing process that requires commitment, strategic thinking, and proactive investment.   

Cybersecurity is not just a cost; it's a crucial investment in your business's future stability and success, opening doors to new opportunities and growth. By bolstering your cybersecurity, you're not only protecting your operations but also paving the way for innovative technologies and strategies that can propel your business forward.