Cyber-security – a threat that cannot be ignored

Published:  17 May, 2021

Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and has without doubt kept it running successfully over the past year. The rewards are obvious - technological leaps in the design, development, fabrication and operation of the goods and services the UK makes. But the cyber security threat to manufacturers is growing and evolving with it.

Half of Britain’s manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime during the last 12 months after thousands of organisations moved their staff to remote working when the Covid crisis struck, according to a new report by Make UK, Cyber Resilience – The Last Line of Defence. It highlights how cyber criminals have been exploiting  the emergency working measures mounting attacks which have come at a massive cost to businesses, with a quarter of companies reporting losses of up to £25,000 for each cyber breach and 6% left coming to terms with losing £100,000 plus after an attack.

The report illustrates how the pandemic has catapulted cyber security to the forefront of boardroom agendas. Almost overnight companies that were forced to switch to remote production, remote monitoring of equipment with staff working from home on hastily supplied laptops, realised just how much their vulnerability had increased. Some 50% of manufacturers said that cyber security has become a higher priority since the start of the Covid outbreak, and 61% of companies revealed that they now have a designated board director responsible for cyber protection across the whole of their business.

However, alarmingly, some 44% of manufacturers still do not offer cyber security training to their staff, and 47% of companies do not even have a formal plan or process agreed in case of an attack. While 66% of manufacturers report that cyber security does not have a regular slot on their board’s monthly agenda in spite of the heightened risk from remote working.

This report ultimately explains why no business can afford to ignore this issue and while the increased awareness across the sector is encouraging, as Stephen Phipson, Make UK’s CEO, comments, there is still much to be done with too many businesses still burying their heads in the sand. This is a strategic threat; failing to get this right as a nation could cost the UK economy billions of pounds and put thousands of jobs at risk. Every business is vulnerable, and every business needs to take the necessary step.

Aaron Blutstein, editor

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