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Industry 4.0 A Manufacturing Risk

Industry 4.0 A Manufacturing Risk

Greater Lincolnshire is one of the UK’s outstanding manufacturing locations, offering high-value, integrated capabilities in advanced engineering and digital technologies, contributing £1.8 billion per year to the local economy and employing 16% (63,000) of Lincolnshire’s workforce1. As such, Greater Lincolnshire has remained at the forefront of pioneering research, driving the sector through sophisticated technology advancements otherwise known as Industry 4.0. But what exactly is Industry 4.0, does it impact the supply chain and do the benefits out way the risks?

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is used interchangeably with the fourth industrial revolution and represents a significant shift towards Machine to Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT).  As such, the sector has become increasingly sophisticated with the interconnection of everything from devices, sensors, back-office systems, and supply chains according to F-Secure2. This has allowed the sector to increase its efficiency and cut its overhead costs despite the workforce dropping by more than 50% between 1981 and 20183.

Challenges Industry 4.0 brings

The interconnected nature of Industry 4.0 and pace of digital transformation has brought about new cyber risks for which the industry is unprepared for. In fact, in 2020, 29% of cyber attacks in the UK targeted the manufacturing industry with half being motivated by trade secrets4. The rapid adoption of M2M and IoT technology has increased the digital footprint of manufacturing businesses along-side the amount data stored over cloud infrastructures and third-party suppliers. This has given ‘Threat Actors’ more room to evade existing perimeter security and, as such, lead to an increase in cyber attacks. It is recommended that the manufacturing sector:

  • Make cyber security the highest priority of the business and ensure that cyber security is considered whenever new technologies, processes or procedures are deployed or even discussed5.
  • Conduct a Cyber Due Diligence Audit on new and existing suppliers to indicate cyber resilience and vulnerabilities within the supply chain.
  • Create subnetwork segmentation within the organisation to increase security standards and decrease attack damage.
  • Use Cyber Security Experts. Cyber security threats are continually changing and increasing, and constantly need the attention of businesses who specialist in the latest techniques and ‘threat hunting’ technology. Targeted protection and readiness to respond is the best insurance6.
  • Having an Incident Response Plan means the right people, with the right skillset and experience are deployed swiftly to respond to, contain and remediate a cyber breach6.
  • Provide tailor made training courses focused on Industry 4.0 security risks and best practices5

Has Industry 4.0 impacted Supply chain Management Complexity?

Industry 4.0 is an ongoing transformation towards smart manufacturing and connectivity. As such, cyber security has now become a shared responsibility within the supply chain to best-protect businesses of all sizes due to the intricacies and connectivity of data. Thus, it is vital end-to-end security is implemented for Industry 4.0 to succeed. Enisa (European Union Agency For Cybersecurity) recommends that to fully understand and secure supply chain management processes organisations must5:

  • Conduct a Cyber Due Diligence audit at periodic intervals to identify new vulnerabilities and potential Industry 4.0 supply chain risks. Having a holistic view of the threats facing the business and wider network will increase resilience.
  • Define the amount of trust placed on each supplier and review this definition at periodic intervals, at least annually. It is recommended privilege levels are allocated based on business need and ‘least privilege’ and reviewed6. Third party suppliers must only be provided with the absolute minimum access rights / authorised permissions to systems, networks, applications, services, information/data and resources that they need to fulfil their role.
  • Only conduct ‘onboarding’ to suppliers who comply with recognised security standards and certification schemes i.e. ISO 27001: 2013 Information Security Standard


Industry 4.0 has given birth to the next generation of industrial manufacturing, which offers innovative and exciting new opportunities in terms of manufacturing and technological growth. Industry 4.0 will allow hyper-efficient manufacturing supply chains benefiting end-users and increasing the bottom-line profits. Yet, with an interconnected environment comes risk. The sector must act now and implement necessary security procedures to best protect organisations critical infrastructure. Failure to do so can result in catastrophic consequences.

As such, Cyber security solutions should be seen as an important business opportunity permitting competitive advantages instead of a financial burden. Investing into a Managed Service Provider, such as KryptoKloud will significantly alleviate an organisations cyber security concerns, reduce risk, put you back in control, allow you to continue to operate your business effectively and give you peace of mind for your own well-being.

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