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Cloud and AI Are Transforming Manufacturing, but Employees Lack of Cyber Awareness Creates New Risk

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Cloud and AI Are Transforming Manufacturing, but Employees Lack of Cyber Awareness Creates New Risk - Overview

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The unfortunate reality is that cybercriminals will only become more sophisticated and prevalent in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers have the responsibility to stay one step ahead of malware activists and cyber threats. Cloud and AI will help to achieve that. Once implemented securely, cloud and AI will be major competitive advantage enablers for manufacturing companies. These capabilities allow for greater innovation and open the door for manufacturers to be on the leading edge of security and operational scalability.

2021 Unisys Security Index™ showcases consumer attitudes impacting digital transformation

During the pandemic, a surge in internet use and cloud consumption became a catalyst for fast-increasing cybersecurity concerns, as witnessed by the 2021 Unisys Security Index™, the longest running survey of consumer security concerns. Fueled by streams of reports on cyberattacks across a variety of sectors and organizations, internet security concerns rose nine points and jumped back to the top of the list.

Operating in ‘the new normal’ of the COVID-19 pandemic drove rapid further digitalization of the workplace, scaling remote work and collaboration. For the manufacturing industry, increases in demand coupled with supply chain interruptions fueled an acceleration in digital transformation. Lockdowns fueled an exponential increase in fast-track product and supply chain digitalization, enabled by cloud and AI.

At the same time, manufacturers went from controllable on-premise locations to thousands of virtual home offices, relying on the security of home networks to protect company information. As manufacturing organizations scrambled to adjust, the expanding digital attack surface provided new hunting ground for malware activists. Cybercriminals leveraged the same digital transformation tools to not only automate their attacks, but to also lower the cost of such threats.

This perfect storm resulted in a 156% increase in cybercrime targeting manufacturing companies. Successful ransomware attacks took down factory operations and customer service availability. These attacks and the associated media coverage likely contributed to the steep rise in internet security concerns measured in the Unisys Security Index. This is a clear sign to manufacturers that digital security will be a key differentiator and enabler in the market