“If you haven’t yet been attacked, it’s only a matter of time until you are.”
Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of Glass Magazine’s article series addressing mass data loss and cyber threats. Read the first article on phishing scams and the second article on website and email hacking.
Like many manufacturing enterprises, the glass fabrication business is becoming more connected than ever before, driven by both external and internal needs. Customers want to be able to place orders online via a web portal, track the status of their orders, then receive their invoice and pay electronically. Glass fabricators need this same capability with their suppliers.
On the manufacturing floor, greater automation and data demands have resulted in a greater need for connectivity. Incoming orders must be converted into production schedules. Orders moving through manufacturing lines must be tracked and monitored at each stage. Operators need to be able to monitor from terminals located throughout the facility or from tablets wirelessly connected to the industrial network in order to make data-driven decisions about their production.
Additionally, management is beginning to realize the value of data analytics for controlling costs, maintaining and improving product quality, reducing scrap, and identifying production improvements. This means that more employees are both internally connected and online much of the time, and they have more access to a variety of data and systems than ever before.
For most of the world, this rapidly expanding connectivity is referred to as the Internet of Things. In the manu2016facturing sector, it is referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things.
Greater connectivity and data requirements place a greater burden on the IT infrastructure. Front office IT requirements grow with the introduction of business systems such as enterprise resource planning software. Automation and the need for more manufacturing data add to the load on the manufacturing IT infrastructure.
While the front office IT infrastructure may receive lots of attention, the manufacturing IT infrastructure often does not. Unfortunately, smart devices and internet-ready machines may be added indiscriminately to the manufacturing network without any master plan. The manufacturing network may connect systems of various vintages (e.g., Windows NT and Windows XP may coexist with the latest systems).