Cyber Readiness: Is the Auto Industry Prepared for Cyber Attacks?

Learn more about cyber readiness for automotive manufacturers and suppliers.

Cyber Readiness in the Auto IndustryAs automotive plants are becoming more connected in the name of efficiency, they also face heightened cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities. While cybersecurity is traditionally thought of as a “technology” problem, auto manufacturers and suppliers need to view it as a true business risk if they plan to be adequately prepared for the worst. Gone are the days when a strong firewall and robust physical security can be considered “good enough.” Remote connectivity has created weaker access points for external attacks, and internal threats can unfortunately pose just as much of a risk to safety and productivity as external ones. These threats, whether internal or external, can delay production significantly, undermine product quality, endanger consumer safety, and deteriorate company reputations.

There are a few areas to pay particular attention to when evaluating cyber readiness in the auto industry. This article will describe these key areas, discuss the potential cyber security pitfalls, and propose actionable steps that auto manufacturers and suppliers can take to strengthen their cyber readiness.

Keys to Cyber Readiness for the Automotive Industry

Automotive Industry Cyber Readiness Keys
keys to cyber readiness for the auto industry 1

Equipment Vulnerability Recognition

It is not an uncommon goal for auto manufacturers and suppliers to have their automation equipment up and running 100% of the time. Unfortunately, this creates cybersecurity vulnerabilities if equipment is not maintained, patched, upgraded, or replaced regularly enough. For example, devices using outdated Windows operating systems are typically more vulnerable to system failure and cyber attack because the operating system has not been maintained. If these devices are connected to others in the production plant, this “small” vulnerability can create large-scale disruption.

How can auto suppliers and manufacturers practice better cyber readiness in this regard? A risk detection tool like the Asset Inventory Service can help find, manage, and analyze all of the IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) devices in a production plant. It also provides detailed information about IT/OT assets like firmware versions, so that auto suppliers and manufacturers can proactively reduce their cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

keys to cyber readiness for the auto industry 2

Better Data Management for IT/OT Devices

Managing data for IT and OT devices in a production plant can be a daunting task. Inadequate data management can create time-wasting confusion and inefficiency on a day-to-day basis. In the event of a worst-case scenario like a cyber attack, poor data management can be disastrous. Is there a centralized and secure place to locate data for all IT/OT devices? How quickly can the right data be found? Is the backup recent and error-free?

How can auto manufacturers and suppliers avoid data loss during worst-case scenarios like cyber attacks?” A version control and automatic backup solution like versiondog can streamline the process. With versiondog, automotive manufacturers and suppliers can rest assured that they have recent, error-free backups to restore if needed.

Automatic Change Detection

According to a recent Cost of Data Breach Report (IBM), the average time to identify and contain a data breach was 280 days. Left undetected, unauthorized changes to the programs running on IT/OT devices in production plants are always a risk to productivity, safety, and security. Internal users and hackers alike can cause downtime or disruption this way.

Auto manufacturers and suppliers can turn to change management solutions to detect any changes that are made to their IT/OT devices. For example, versiondog tracks all changes, both authorized and unauthorized, so that manufacturers and suppliers have a complete version history of who changed what, when, where, and why. If versiondog detects a difference between the version running on a device and its counterpart on the server, it notifies the appropriate users to investigate further. Users can even compare versions graphically, so that they can quickly and easily detect even the smallest difference between versions.

keys to cyber readiness for the auto industry 4

Proactive Quality Management

Automotive manufacturers and suppliers are still largely reactive in their approach to quality management, only fixing problems after they cause major issues. This quality management attitude can lead to unplanned downtime, deteriorating product quality, and reputation damage if not careful. A reactive approach to quality management can also leave the door open to cybersecurity concerns, particularly if version control, change detection, or documentation is lackluster.

Instead, automotive manufacturers and suppliers should shift to a more preventative approach to quality management. While this can feel daunting, version control and automatic backup software like versiondog can help ease the transition. Our free white paper, Breaking the Firefighting Mentality in Automation, provides an in-depth guide to shifting from this reactive approach to a more proactive one.

The Future of Cyber Readiness for Automotive Manufacturers and Suppliers

While many companies understand the pressing need to improve cyber readiness, others limit their approach to just IT security or, worse, a wait-and-see approach. To be truly prepared against the cybersecurity risks of the future, auto manufacturers and suppliers should implement a layered approach that prioritizes data management for both IT and OT devices. versiondog can save those in the automotive industry time, money, and effort on their journey to cyber readiness.

Try versiondog Today

Download a 30-day free trial of versiondog or schedule a demo with our team today.

versiondog Free Trial
Schedule a Demo

versiondog for the Automotive Industry

Data management for the automotive industry inevitably grows in complexity as the degree of automation, number of control processes, and demand for wider product ranges grows. Learn how versiondog can help.

Read More

Breaking the Firefighting Mentality in Automation

This free white paper discusses how better data management can transform industrial automation for increased productivity with less stress.

Read More