Reliability Reliability & Maintenance Center Software

Tighten Cybersecurity With These Five Tips

EP Editorial Staff | March 1, 2021

Use these five tips to harden your factory’s network security.

Effective cybersecurity is not a set-it-and-forget-it function.

Everyone at every level must be diligent at following best practices internally and wary of outside interactions. To help with your efforts to maintain a high level of cybersecurity, here are some guidelines from a blog post provided by Swift Systems Inc., Frederick, MD (swiftsystems.com), a provider of managed IT services.

Keep your network operating system and software up to date.

Ensure that network and software updates are current for all users, validate that antivirus licenses are current and set to install real-time updates, implement spam blockers, and verify the strength of your firewall. Install malware-detection software on all devices. Required scheduled maintenance is preferred, making it less likely your company will fall prey to workers who ignore repeat desktop update alerts.

Conduct password audits and create two-step login verification for all users.

Employees and their passwords are one of your greatest security risks. Reduce your risk by conducting a user-password strength audit and forcing the reset of any weak passwords. Implement a two-step user-verification login process to reduce the chance employees will share or guess each other’s passwords. It’s estimated that as many as 73% of employees have shared passwords at some point. Add an automatic log-off process that logs users out after a specified time frame, preventing other employees from working under the wrong user login.

Implement an employee cybersecurity training initiative designed for manufacturers.

The least technical step, training employees in cybersecurity awareness and impact to the business (which also means their jobs), will have the greatest payoff for your company. Require new and existing employees to participate in cybersecurity education for manufacturers covering phishing attacks, malware awareness, how to recognize acceptable email links and attachments, how to spot imposters, identifying fishy websites, and what to do if they may have compromised the company. Repeat training at least once a year to keep it fresh. Stage mock attacks on a regular basis to see how well your employees practice what they learn.

Backup critical files on a daily basis.

To avoid the awful experience of extortion by ransomware, backup critical files and software away from your main corporate servers and not linked in any way to your main network. If possible, encrypt data so, even if accessed by a hacker, they can’t read or utilize the data for dark purposes.

Develop and document a cyber-attack recovery plan for your organization.

Create a recovery plan outlining what to do, who to inform, and action steps to take in the event of a cyberattack. Speed is critical during an attack. Teams who can quickly shut down hacker access reduce downtime and impact on the organization. Walk through the plan with all employees as part of their training. Remember, backup files won’t help if there is no plan in place to restore operations and knowledge of how long it will take to execute. EP

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