Integr8 2023 Cybersecurity Roundtable: Five Key Takeaways

Eric Davis, Automation Alley
June 9, 2023
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Photo by Derek Cookson Photography

Photo by Derek Cookson Photography


At Integr8 2023, Automation Alley, in conjunction with the US Center for Advanced Manufacturing, hosted a roundtable on "Protecting Our Infrastructure Against Cyber Attacks." Here are five key findings from the discussion with private and public partners.

As manufacturing systems become more complex with companies gravitating toward software, having an up to date cybersecurity system is more paramount than ever before.  

According to the 2022 IBM Security Cost of Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach is $4.2 million for a compromised company. Taking a proactive cybersecurity approach will be key to avoiding this financial pitfall.

On May 9, 2023, Automation Alley hosted its annual Integr8 conference at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. During the event, Automation Alley, in conjunction with the US Center for Advanced Manufacturing, hosted a roundtable on “Protecting Our Infrastructure Against Cyber Attacks.” The session saw academia and industry work together to address cybersecurity challenges. Here are five key findings from the discussion:  

1. IT and OT Vulnerabilities  

The emergence of manufacturers using OT and IT increases the number of ways a bad faith actor can attack a company. Manufacturers must pay special attention to the creation of a firewall between the OT and IT to decrease their vulnerability to cyber threats. When a company is adding new software or hardware, cybersecurity needs to be an upfront consideration.

2. Simple Low Risk Steps First  

Take advantage of free and low-cost opportunities to have your cybersecurity assessed. It can help you understand your vulnerabilities and mitigate the costs in the event your systems are targeted by hackers..

3. You Can’t Code Around Human Error  

Humans are still the biggest cybersecurity vulnerability. Every team member needs to be vigilant in identifying potential attacks in their daily work, ensuring emails are safe to open by verifying the contact information of the sender.

4. The Education Gap  

Universities need to work with industry partners to create or refine programs based on new trends in technology. This education can come in the form of courses, certifications, workshops, simulated attacks, etc. As collaboration between universities and industry partners improve, so will the curriculum.

5. Not a Backburner Item    

There is a need to support leadership teams in understanding cyber threats and allocate budget to effectively address the downside risk of a cyber attack, similar to insurance on a house. Currently, companies are undervaluing training staff, adding talent, and hiring a third party to address their cybersecurity needs; the shift starts top down.

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Eric Davis, Automation Alley
Eric Davis, Automation Alley

Eric Davis is Automation Alley’s Governance Lead and Analyst. In this role, he helps improve collaboration across the various business units of Automation Alley. Davis also manages the Industry 4.0 Readiness Assessment program, which provides in-depth analysis and insight to help small to medium sized businesses understand how Industry 4.0 will impact them in culture, finance, and technology. Davis also manages the investment process for Automation Alley’s pre-seed fund, which supports companies in Automation Alley’s Industry 4.0 Accelerator. Davis has an extensive background in performing due diligence on public and privately-held companies as the Chief Investment Officer of Revalue, an independent Investment Advisory Firm. Davis also implements icube™, a leadership system designed to help companies reduce human friction and build trust to maximize teamwork & profit.

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