Half of Britain’s manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime during the last 12 months, after thousands of organisations moved their staff to remote working when the Covid crisis struck. Cyber criminals have been exploiting the emergency working measures mounting attacks which have come at a massive cost to businesses, with a quarter of companies reporting losses of up to £25,000 for each cyber breach and six per cent left coming to terms with losing £100,000 plus after an attack.
Make UK’s new report, Cyber Resilience – The Last Line of Defence, reveals that the pandemic catapulted cyber security to the forefront of boardroom agendas. Almost overnight companies that were forced to switch to remote production, remote monitoring of equipment with staff working from home on hastily supplied laptops, realised just how much their vulnerability had increased. Some 50% of manufacturers said that cyber security has become a higher priority since the start of the Covid outbreak, and 61% of companies revealed that they now have a designated board director responsible for cyber protection across the whole of their business.
Cyber threat is increasingly a business-critical issue, with 43% of manufacturers reporting that they have already been asked by a customer to demonstrate or guarantee the robustness of their cyber processes, while one in five have themselves asked customers or suppliers to show that they are cyber resilient and have effective measures in place to counter against any attack.
Some 52 per cent of those polled said they have taken out insurance to cover any losses from cyber incidents, while 87 per cent of companies believe they have the right tools and technologies in place to deal with any cyber incursion. A further 91 per cent said that they have the correct knowledge now in place to assess their cyber risk.
However, despite significant improvements in cyber awareness over the last two years since its last survey with a reduction in attacks by 10 per cent across the sector, there is however still work to be done. Some 44 per cent of manufacturers still do not offer cyber security training to their staff, and 47 per cent of companies do not even have a formal plan or process agreed in case of an attack. While 66 per cent of manufacturers report that cyber security does not have a regular slot on their board’s monthly agenda in spite of the heightened risk from remote working.
Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said: “Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and has without doubt kept it running successfully over the past year. The rewards are obvious – technological leaps in the design, development, fabrication and operation of the goods and services the UK makes. But the cyber security threat to manufacturers is growing and evolving with it.
“No business can afford to ignore this issue and while the increased awareness across the sector is encouraging, there is still much to be done with too many businesses still burying their heads in the sand. This is a strategic threat; failing to get this right as a nation could cost the UK economy billions of pounds and put thousands of jobs at risk. Every business is vulnerable and every business needs to take the necessary steps to protect themselves properly.”
Investment in the latest digital technologies is also being hampered, with many companies holding back from implementing the latest innovations for fear of increased exposure to cyber-attack. One in eight companies surveyed admitted they are currently not investing in new digital processes even though they know they should do so to continue to be able to compete in an ever-changing and developing global marketplace.