Data Protection for ManufacturersYour major competitive advantage versus other manufacturers could be a super-secret proprietary process.

Maybe you have customer service methods that are so efficient and pleasing to your customers that you don’t want anyone else finding out. And of course, you don’t want someone to steal your client’s information.

Data protection breaches happen all the time, even though we live in a highly technological society. You’d think we’d be able to stay ahead of cyber criminals, but often that doesn’t happen. It can be disastrous when your data is breached.

If you’re in the manufacturing industry, this is what you can do to keep the bad guys out:

1. Email virus scanning and employee training:

This is one of those things that you can never review too much. Antivirus software can scan your emails for infected attachments, but your employees also need to know which e-mails are and are not okay to open. Generally, if they have no clue who the sender is or why they’re getting certain emails, there’s a chance they are from cyber criminals. 99% of spam emails are obvious, but every once in a while you get a very cleverly crafted one that looks real – and gets by your antivirus. Make sure your employees review e-mail safety best practices regularly.

2. Keep E-mail from Being Hacked:

Besides the virus issue, you’re also sending sensitive corporate data through e-mail. You don’t want someone to hack into your e-mails and steal your next strategic marketing campaign’s secrets. If you share any data through e-mail, it should be encrypted so only the right people can see it. Cyber criminals more typically target e-mails than stealing end user login credentials.

3. Backup All Your Devices:

We’re talking apart from all your desktop PCs. You have to reliably and securely backup all your laptops, tablet PCs, and smartphones.

4. You Must Protect Your Data from Your Own Employees Too:

Hopefully, everyone you hire is honest. But, you never know that…until you find out the hard way.

One Intel employee was accused of stealing $1 billion in trade secrets and passing them off to their top competitor, AMD! When a lot of money is on the table, otherwise honest people can sometimes make wrong decisions.

Make sure every employee has access to what they need to access – and that’s it. Use identity management to make sure it’s actually them logging in. Encrypt files, password protect them, and assign specific users access. You can also install software that allows you to wipe devices clean remotely. There’s no such thing as a 100% perfect data security system, but you can make it much more likely your data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Wrapping It Up…

Protecting your data is a constantly evolving task. You need to either have a dedicated IT security team of your own, or consider an outsourced option.

Cyber criminals won’t ever slow down their efforts, so make sure you’re doing everything possible to stay one step ahead.

Learn more about the author Bob Martin