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Small to Mid-Size Manufacturers Are More Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

Small to mid-size manufacturers face precisely the same cyber threat landscape that confronts larger organizations but must do so with far fewer resources. An easy misperception for small manufacturers to assume is they are not at risk for cyberattacks. Due to the company’s size or its slow adoption of integrated technology, manufacturers may not implement the proper cybersecurity practices. However, cybercriminals use this vulnerability to gain access to exposed systems.  Kaspersky Labs reports within the first six months of 2017, manufacturing companies were the most susceptible to cyber threats, with computers at manufacturing operations accounting for about one-third of all cyberattacks. Common areas of vulnerabilities for manufacturers are unsecured IoT devices, unpatched operating systems, malware, spear phishing, pay fraud, and ransomware.

With limited resources, small to mid-size manufacturers want to see that their investment where security is concerned is well spent. Most companies believe if they’ve outsourced IT to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that their company is secure and safe from cyberattacks. Often, the security conversation ends here because companies think they’ve checked the correct box. This belief can lead to gaps in security practices, which negatively impact the long-term health of a company. Frequently updating passwords and installing antivirus software is not enough.

Understanding the difference between a MSP and a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can be obscure, but this blog explains what MSPs and MSSPs do, which one is the best fit for your company’s security needs, and why a company might need a layered approach for a holistic cybersecurity plan.

What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

A MSP is a company that offers IT services to help manage a company’s production systems like cloud-based computing, oversee email passwords, and aid in computer-based administrative needs. A MSP will monitor all of a company’s technology systems from a holistic vantage point, making sure everything is functioning and up to date. MSPs can be a great business asset because they help a company stay focused on the day-to-day business operations by supporting the company with the IT management it wouldn’t otherwise have at its disposal.

Due to the rise in demand for cybersecurity needs, some MSPs now offer services for security concerns like recommending and installing security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software. While MSPs are a great first step towards building a basic security administration protocol, relying on an MSP alone is not enough to mitigate a company’s risk for a cyberattack or help to maintain or achieve regulatory compliance.

What is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)?

With the cyber threat landscape evolving and becoming more varied, companies are placing a greater emphasis on cyber risk mitigation. As a result, MSSPs developed from this concentrated effort. A MSSP’s primary role is to provide a robust solution for the security of a company’s cyber environment. They typically offer services with proactive solutions to prevent disruptive cybercrime and they create disaster remediation plans if an attack were to occur.

Unlike MSPs, MSSPs actively analyze the threat landscape to provide the insights they need to proactively make changes in policies and procedures to prevent security incidents that result in a breach, data loss or other cyber incident.

Manufacturers Should Take a Layered Approach to Cybersecurity

For manufacturers to create a strong cybersecurity solution it is important to partner strategically with a mix of vendors. It’s good practice to have a MSP on-call or on-site to achieve basic IT hygiene. On the other hand, a company will need a MSSP when trying to achieve NIST SP 800-171 compliance, lowering cyber insurance premiums, preparing for an audit, or for cyber disaster relief. Most MSPs and MSSPs offer a mixture of service level agreements or can be contracted for specific jobs, which can easily accommodate the budget-conscious company.

While we’ve explained the differences between MSPs and MSSPs, TechSolve also offers cybersecurity solutions specifically for the manufacturing industry.

MSPMSSPTechSolve
Primary FocusAdministration for Traditional IT OutsourcingA Zeroed-In Approach to SecurityA Honed Focus on Manufacturers’ Cyber Health
Core OfferingsBasic IT Administration, Cloud-Computing, Email Security, Password ProtectionRegulatory Compliance, Forensic Analysis, Penetration Testing, Security Monitoring, Cybersecurity Training, Auditing, Incident Remediation, Disaster RecoveryRegulatory Compliance, Cybersecurity Training, Testing, Holistic Cybersecurity Assessment
FunctionEnsures easy access to a company’s information systems like cloud computing and emailEnsures security of information systemsHelps to maintain adequate security postures including regulatory compliance
ManagementHandles essential systems administration network design and fixingDeals with all security tools. Makes alerts for occurrence and makes an arrangement for remediationProvides information, analysis, and risk assessments needed to make educated decisions around risk tolerance and how to bolster IT security company-wide.
Security PracticeProvides password protection, bug fixes and software updatesPredicts, scans and analyzes threats and provides proactive solutionsAnalyzes threats and provides solutions and employee trainings
Level of SecurityBasicAdvancedAdvanced

According to the 2019 Manufacturing and Distribution Report, cybersecurity is no longer a concept used to prepare for a hypothetical event. Instead, it’s a mindset that needs to be adopted to defend against attacks that are sure to come. Regardless of which route a manufacturing company takes to mitigate cyber risk, one of the best cybersecurity practices they can put into place is a proactive response. Afterall, the best defense is a good offense. There shouldn’t be a question of prioritizing a risk management program to protect your data. A proactive response to cybersecurity benefits your employees, your customers and, ultimately, the long-term health of your manufacturing company.

Get a Third-Party Perspective That Knows Manufacturing

Third-party audits and testing are the most effective way to ensure a security program works. TechSolve brings over 35 years of experience delivering solutions to manufacturers. As an Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership, we are accountable to both our customers and NIST, and we only offer solutions we believe are worth your company’s time and resources.

Manufacturers in Southwest Ohio are eligible to have their cyber risk assessment fees waived.

Learn More

Upcoming Cybersecurity Events

Cybersecurity Working Sessions for Manufacturers

Our Cybersecurity Working Sessions provide you with one-on-one attention from our Cybersecurity Program Manager, Glen Nesbit. Each session helps develop a critical component of a company’s cybersecurity program to help prevent cyber-attacks. These sessions are designed for you to gain a hands-on deeper understanding of different components of a cyber risk mitigation program.

Cost: Free for Southwest Ohio Manufacturers

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 8 – 9: 30 am – Tackling Technical Vulnerabilities Through a Holistic Cyber Assessment

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 8 – 9:30 am – Kick-Starting Your Cyber Policies & Employee Trainings

Thursday, March 18, 2020 from 8 – 9:30 am – Implementing Cybersecurity Strategy in Your Business Plan

Select Your Preferred Working Session