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Data Backup and Compliance for the Manufacturing Industry: Ensuring Data Security in Manufacturing

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The manufacturing sector relies on access to multiple forms of data in its day-to-day operations. Manufacturing companies have undertaken rapid digital transformation (DT) projects to optimize the management of this data. The new technologies core to DT bring a host of benefits; however, they also spur the creation of more significant amounts of data, all of which are typically stored in the cloud. This evolution of technology has introduced new security and compliance challenges to managing data in manufacturing.

Data security in manufacturing is critical–weak security can invite cyber attacks or compliance failures, leading to severe financial and reputational damage. Because of this, manufacturing companies need a secure data backup and archiving solution to ensure that they can always meet compliance requirements for the industry and avoid the risks associated with the current digital landscape.

Here’s how the manufacturing industry operates today–and how backup and archiving solutions can improve day-to-day activities while strengthening manufacturing data security.

The Data Landscape in the Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing sector relies highly on data for efficient operations. According to a joint study by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, the manufacturing industry relies on data to track the performance of a range of processes, estimate outcomes, and optimize systems.

As manufacturing personnel embrace digitized work processes and have mostly turned paperless, the amount of data involved is surging.

A McKinsey study further expands on this, exploring how manufacturing-related data is gathered from new technologies such as intelligent sensors powered by the cloud, the internet of things (IoT), analytics, and artificial intelligence technologies. These volumes of data are stored either in the cloud, on-premise servers, or on-edge computing devices.

In addition, processes that involve sharing manufacturing-related data – such as coordination with third-party suppliers and vendors – now occur over email. Manufacturing intellectual property data has also become increasingly digitized and cloud-stored. The evolution of these processes is driving the digital collection of huge amounts of manufacturing data.

To give context to these data volumes, research reveals that the market share of the IoT in manufacturing alone is expected to reach $399.08B by 2026, up from USD 175.3 billion in 2020. In addition, the market for big data in manufacturing is projected to reach $9.11B globally by the end of 2026.

All of this data will contribute to the increasing data volume that manufacturing companies are expected to manage and secure during their operational lifetime and beyond.

The Proliferation of Cyber Attacks in Manufacturing

As with most industries, utilizing technological tools such as electronic means of storing and transmitting data makes collaboration and information collection more seamless and efficient. However, this cloud-based agility does not come without risk. As volumes of electronically-available manufacturing data surge, bad actors notice.

The data is clear: According to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the manufacturing sector was the most attacked industry in 2021.

Here are some of the findings related to cyber attacks in manufacturing:

  • 47% of the cyber attacks in manufacturing were caused by vulnerabilities that victim organizations had not yet or could not patch.
  • Percentage of attacks on manufacturing companies based on region:
    • North America: 28%
    • Europe: 25%
    • Asia: 29%
    • Latin America: 22%
  • 61% of incidents at operationally connected organizations last year were in the manufacturing industry. Operationally connected organizations are companies that use interconnected IoT devices and machines to simplify and automate specific processes, remove repetitive tasks, or centralize data collection.
  • Vulnerabilities related to IoT devices increased 16% year over year.

When impacted by these kinds of cyber attacks, data security in manufacturing is severely compromised. Companies face the risk of getting their data lost or stolen. Worse, recovering this critical data may be impossible if a company does not have adequate data backup and archiving systems.

Regulations for the Manufacturing Industry

There are, of course, regulations intended to ensure specific standards for the manufacturing industry. These laws regulate record management and specify how data security in manufacturing should be implemented. These are:

  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR). This US regulation focuses on the oversight of the export of commodities, software, and technology from the US. This covers software transfers outside the US through several electronic and digital means. These transfers require licensing and the ability to meet requirements before a physical or digital product gets exported from the US.
  • ISO 15489: Records Management Standard. This ISO standard tackles approaches to creating, capturing, and managing records. It is a global standard for records management and has been adopted in more than 50 countries.
  • ISO/IEC 27001:2013: Information Security Management. This ISO standard puts specific requirements for companies’ implementation and maintenance of information security management. It also includes provisions for the assessment and handling of information security risks of companies.
  • Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP). This legislation is intended to ensure that medical products are manufactured and controlled according to quality standards. It requires maintenance of records for all components of drug manufacturing, as well as laboratory and distribution records, for purposes of inspection.
  • System and Organization Controls (SOC) Certification. There are various types of SOC certifications. Compliance related to the manufacturing sector is under the SOC certification for supply chains. It seeks to ensure that production, manufacturing, or distribution commitments and requirements are fulfilled and that products meet product performance specifications.

Backup and Archiving for the Manufacturing Sector

Backup and archiving should be front of mind for manufacturing companies looking to stay safe and compliant. Addressing the overwhelming information generated daily in manufacturing sites requires a backup and archiving solution. A secure repository of manufacturing data helps firms keep track of the information they generate while keeping accessible and accurate records of said information.

Moreover, federal regulations and international standards require manufacturing companies to keep tamper-proof records as long as legally mandated in case of audits, investigations, inquiries, and litigation. Also, backups and archives help ensure data security in manufacturing against threats inside and outside the organization–from accidental deletions to malware and ransomware attacks.

Without a backup and archiving solution, manufacturing companies lose the ‘safety net’ that can protect them from data loss and non-compliance penalties.

Dropsuite specializes in helping manufacturing firms keep highly confidential data safe, secure, and protected. Our custom cloud-based solution can efficiently backup, store, preserve and, if necessary, easily restore data at a moment’s notice across a range of ecosystems –Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, IMAP-POP, and Hosted Exchange.

Easy-to-use, secure, and scalable, Dropsuite’s backup and recovery tools provide business compliance and enable business continuity. Manufacturing firms can set retention rates as long as necessary to maintain legal compliance. This also enables companies to address lawsuits and discovery processes by putting legal or time-based holds on any platform where pertinent manufacturing-related data is stored.

Manufacturing firms can easily set up an automated backup and/or archiving system, even with a minimal IT budget. Dropsuite provides industry-leading backup and recovery solutions for a very low cost-per-seat license, coupled with military-grade encryption that ensures data security both in transit and at rest.

To learn more about how Dropsuite ensures data security in manufacturing, talk to our experts here.

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