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Balancing the Cybersecurity Budget

Cybersecurity is a significant concern for businesses in all industries. Companies find themselves trapped in a complex dilemma – the immediate costs of securing critical infrastructure can seem astronomical, while the risks of a cyberattack appear distant. This quandary is made worse by the exorbitant fees charged by big consultancies. Cybersecurity improvement can seem like an insurmountable financial burden.

Many businesses, especially those that do not deal with sensitive customer data or fall outside the reach of regulations, often struggle to quantify the potential fallout of a cyberattack. For these companies, the dilemma becomes particularly acute.

Manufacturing companies, with their complex operational technology (OT) systems and numerous production sites, face an added layer of complexity. The costs of updating systems across multiple sites can seem insurmountable, especially when weighed against the perceived risks.

Many end up choosing inactivity, happy that some other company will attract the attention of the cyber criminals first.

An Unhappy Equilibrium

But the hackers are more sophisticated than ever before. Their tools and techniques are increasingly advanced, allowing them to target smaller and lesser-known companies with devastating consequences – although many of these attacks go unreported especially when no customer data is involved.

Only then do companies realise the true cost of an attack – with production interrupted, quality systems inoperative, and sometimes high-value assets destroyed.

In hindsight, the balance was always in the hacker’s favour.

Enter Lean Cybersecurity

While the costs of a cyberattack are invariably much greater than anticipated, the challenge of protecting an organisation does not need to cost the bank. There are alternatives to the expensive consultants that can help an organisation secure its systems using existing resources and by exploiting ongoing maintenance windows. These techniques are often collected under the banner of Lean Cybersecurity.

Lean Cybersecurity draws inspiration from lean management principles and applies a proactive, risk-based approach to address cybersecurity challenges effectively. This approach embodies four key principles that help manufacturing organisations safeguard their critical assets without breaking the bank:

Continuous De-risking

Instead of approaching cybersecurity as a one-time expense, Lean Cybersecurity integrates security improvements into ongoing maintenance, projects, and changes within the OT environment. This ongoing process ensures that security measures evolve alongside the dynamic threat landscape.

Clear Resourcing and Budgeting

Transparent discussions about resources and budgeting are integral to Lean Cybersecurity. By aligning security measures with available resources, organisations can make informed decisions about investment and effectively manage costs.

Upskilling Internal Teams

Rather than relying solely on expensive external consultants, Lean Cybersecurity encourages organisations to invest in cybersecurity training and education for employees across various roles. This approach enhances in-house expertise and reduces dependence on costly third-party services.

Ongoing Measurement and Improvement

Lean Cybersecurity advocates for using clearly defined measurements and key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the organisation's cybersecurity posture continually. Regularly measuring and monitoring security metrics ensures that improvements are data-driven and targeted.

The Benefits of Lean Cybersecurity for Manufacturing

Embracing Lean Cybersecurity offers a range of benefits for manufacturing organisations:

Efficiency and Productivity

Lean Cybersecurity optimises security processes, eliminating wasteful activities and improving overall efficiency. By streamlining security measures, organisations can focus on critical areas, promptly identify and address vulnerabilities, and reduce response times to cyber threats.

Cost Savings

The cost-effective nature of Lean Cybersecurity lies in its emphasis on targeted investments and preventive measures. This approach minimises the financial impact of cyber incidents and reduces the need for extensive recovery efforts.

Reputation and Trust

A proactive cybersecurity approach showcases an organisation's commitment to protecting data and assets. This enhanced reputation can foster greater customer trust, attract new business opportunities, and reinforce existing client relationships.

Breaking Free from the Binary Choice

In a world where cyber threats continue to evolve, Lean Cybersecurity offers a pragmatic and adaptable strategy for manufacturing companies. By aligning cybersecurity practices with lean principles, organisations can achieve cost-effective improvements while minimising the risk of cyber incidents and data breaches. The choice between astronomical costs and distant risks need not be binary – Lean Cybersecurity paves the way for a balanced and proactive approach that safeguards both operations and assets.

By embracing Lean Cybersecurity, manufacturing organisations can traverse the path to enhanced cybersecurity without overwhelming financial burdens. This middle ground ensures that security remains a top priority while maintaining the efficiency and productivity that are crucial for sustainable growth in today's digital landscape.

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