Securing Small Manufacturers: Navigating Cyber Challenges in the Digital Era

Katelyn Kontny, Automation Alley
May 23, 2024
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Cybersecurity should be a pressing issue for all small manufacturers. As data becomes more prevalent in all aspects of operation, securing it is paramount. Learn more about Automation Alley's partnership with Oakland University and the Cybersecurity Center in this piece penned by Automation Alley's Katelyn Kontny.

As the world becomes increasingly connected and more data driven, businesses at all levels are dealing with new challenges related to cybersecurity. However, cybersecurity poses unique challenges for small manufacturers—our core clients at Automation Alley. We often hear about their limited resources, lack of IT support, legacy system constraints and dependencies on third-party suppliers. But another key factor is that there is a lack of cybersecurity awareness among small manufacturers. Many underestimate their susceptibility to cyber threats or may not fully comprehend the potential impact of a cyberattack on their operations. 

Take the First Step 

There are important steps small manufacturers can take to keep their businesses protected. First and foremost, it’s critical to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices, including recognizing phishing attempts, creating strong passwords, and identifying potential security threats. Next, small manufacturers can implement basic security measures. Install antivirus software, enable firewalls, and regularly update software and firmware to mitigate known vulnerabilities. They can also conduct risk assessments to identify and prioritize cybersecurity risks specific to their organizations, considering factors such as data sensitivity, potential impact, and likelihood of exploitation. Finally, small manufacturers can establish a response plan outlining procedures for responding to cybersecurity incidents, including steps for containment, investigation, and recovery. 

Fostering Future Cyber Leaders 

Automation Alley's partnership with Oakland University and the Cybersecurity Center underscores our commitment to addressing the growing need for cybersecurity education and workforce development, ensuring that the next generation of cyber leaders is well-equipped to tackle the evolving challenges of the digital age. 

Through industry partnerships, we can facilitate curriculum development, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and internship opportunities for aspiring cyber professionals. 

Read our Integr8 2024 Playbook on cybersecurity here.

Katelyn Kontny, Automation Alley
Katelyn Kontny, Automation Alley

Katelyn Kontny is a dedicated Project Manager with a passion for education and community development. Currently serving as the Program Manager of the Oakland University Cybersecurity Center at Automation Alley. In this role, she has successfully established meaningful relationships with key stakeholders, playing a pivotal role in promoting and developing an innovative new program.

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