Cybersecurity Experts Advise Connecticut Manufacturers
October 17, 2018
(October 12, 2018 – Hartford, CT) – On October 12, CBIA and their affiliate CONNSTEP conducted a panel discussion on cybersecurity for small to mid-sized manufacturers in the state. Speakers included industry experts from the U.S. Attorney’s office, a major defense contractor, an MEP leader, and a local manufacturer whose business was hacked by cyber thieves.
Carl Jackson, engineering director for Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, suggested all businesses take a risk-based approach to their cybersecurity needs. Conduct a risk assessment of your organization, identifying vulnerabilities and points of access. Then prioritize them and establish steps to address each one.
Mr. Jackson continued that employees are your first line of defense when it comes to cyber-attacks. They need to be properly educated on strong online behavior measures to deter rogue activity. He added, “It’s necessary to go beyond compliance to diligence and resilience.”
Jean Lehman, NIST Standards project manager, Polaris MEP, advised the assembled group of manufacturers to reframe their mindset when it came to cybersecurity. She stated, “you need to take steps at every level to protect yourself in the supply chain.” One of those key steps is developing and implementing an Incident Response Plan which allows a company to respond immediately to a cyber threat.
Ms. Lehman emphasized that even small companies “need to establish a team to address cybersecurity and all the assets you need to protect, to choose a cybersecurity framework that works and that you can afford, and to train employees on cyber best practices.” She also advised companies to consider cyber insurance to protect their critical assets.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Huang encouraged businesses to report any cyber-attacks to their local FBI office for further investigation. Often, the Bureau is already aware of the nefarious online operatives and their modus operandi.
Tornik Manufacturing president and general manager, Ray Swanson, shared the cyber threat experience that affected his business. His company’s data, assets, and proprietary customer information was hacked and held for ransom by cyber thieves using malware.
After struggling for two days with his IT team to access files encrypted by the thieves, they were ultimately unsuccessful in their efforts. Tornik succumbed to paying the ransom and fortunately all but three files were released to them. And the very next day the cyber criminals attempted to access Tornik files again but the company now had strong protection systems in place to prevent it.
Mr. Swanson stressed the importance of having a cybersecurity plan in place such as an Incidence Response Plan. Initially, he did not have a plan and it almost cost him his business. They changed protocols, installed a backup system and better firewalls, implemented cloud based services, and educated all Tornik employees on smarter prevention measures.
“CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”
“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”
“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”
“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”
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“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”
“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”
“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating … promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”