Building Secure, Scalable and Efficient Businesses in Manufacturing

Manufacturing companies depend heavily on technology, and this makes them more susceptible to attack. Nefarious actors — including hackers, competitors and even nation states engaging in corporate espionage — can cause slow-downs, shut-downs or worse.

In an era filled with uncertainty, senior leaders in industrial organizations face difficult challenges when it comes to balancing growth with uptime, security, compliance and quality.

According to KPMG’s industrial manufacturing practice, disruptions in business models are forcing transformation on a number of fronts including: cyber security strategy, growth strategy, industry 4.0 and technology risk.

AISN has partnered with KPMG on initiatives to bring forth intelligent automation and advanced analytics to bring back offices, shop floors and supply chains into alignment.

Despite recent advances, the IT issues for manufacturing companies are many, and here are a few.

IT Challenges for Manufacturers

Manufacturing companies in sectors such as defense, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and more face the same IT issues that other industrial companies deal with on a daily basis. IT leaders have a daunting set of security responsibilities, including compromised systems or ensuring that a production line does not stop.

IT Challenges for Manufacturers

Manufacturing companies in sectors such as defense, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and more face the same IT issues that other industrial companies deal with on a daily basis. IT leaders have a daunting set of security responsibilities, including compromised systems or ensuring that a production line does not stop.

Security
Security

What happens in a manufacturing plant when assembly lines grind to a halt? The answer, of course, is downtime — a costly failure. Production lines must be running for a business to remain in operation, and this requires iron-clad security protocols.

If criminals can breach firewalls or other defenses, the results can be disastrous.

Cyberattacks
Cyberattacks

In 2021, the North American manufacturing industry faced a variety of cyberattacks by various threat actors. A report by IBM’s Security X Force for the same year notes that North America was the third most attacked region in the world, receiving 23 percent of all cyberattacks.

Ransomware made up 30 percent of all incidents, and 47 percent of breaches saw phishing as the attack vector of choice. Other tactics used include: vulnerability exploitation, removable media, brute force and stolen credentials.

Manufacturing companies were the most attacked type of organization in North America (28 percent of attacks) during 2021, according to IBM. Given that industrial firms have zero tolerance for downtime plus valuable data on servers, they can be ripe for a ransomware attack.

These case studies profile security breaches in large companies with extremely costly outcomes, but the stakes are just as high in smaller companies.

Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity

As the incidents above underscore, the importance of having strong cybersecurity protocols in place is critical. One of the few ways for senior leaders to gain in-depth understanding about current weaknesses in their systems is to have a cybersecurity assessment completed.

Companies that have been through our robust cybersecurity assessment process have discovered vulnerabilities they didn’t know they had, allowing them to be far more proactive about securing mission-critical systems rather than engaging in disaster recovery after the fact.

If this is something that interests you, be sure to contact us today to learn more.

Compliance
Compliance

Regulatory compliance requirements in manufacturing are nothing new. From health and safety to quality and cybersecurity regulations, compliance can be a thorny issue for senior IT leaders.

Key international industry standards for manufacturing compliance include:

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 13485
  • IEC 61215
  • IEC 61646

A company’s internal IT teams may have been through the compliance process before, but with an ever-changing regulatory landscape, it can be difficult to remain up-to-date. And yet, compliance is an essential part of running a well-oiled manufacturing machine.

A significant challenge for senior IT leaders in manufacturing companies is remaining compliant while updating legacy systems. This is where an experienced partner can provide plenty of value.

Legacy Systems
Legacy Systems

Upgrading legacy systems to a more modern cloud or hybrid environment can bring tremendous benefits to manufacturing companies. But it comes with its share of challenges.

If your organization is considering a cloud migration project, we encourage you to speak with a leader from our experienced team about your requirements, so we can talk you through the options and address your concerns.

Other Challenges for Manufacturers

Supply Chain Instability

As global markets have shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains have been riddled with shortages across the board. In today’s shifting landscape, predictability is everything. And that’s why having rock solid IT systems in place is so important — not just for uptime but also for investments in business growth.

Inefficient Factories

Whether it’s supply chains, production lines or logistics, efficiency is a critical success factor. Although technology can enable major leaps in productivity, some manufacturing companies are behind when it comes to technology improvements.

Senior IT leaders with inefficient factories know that excessive waste, downtime and expenses can accumulate and cripple productivity. One of the best ways to avoid inefficiency is to make the right investments in technology and cybersecurity. This sets the stage for a high uptime operation that is poised for growth, leading to a strong return on investment.

Opportunities for Manufacturers
— Enabled by IT Transformation

Smart Factory

Smart Factory

Smart factory initiatives are rolling out across many sectors, allowing manufacturers to combine talent with technology in powerful ways.

Digitization does not have to be complicated to make an impact. For example, a mobile and desktop application could enable factory workers with tablets to do real-time data entry for inventory, thus improving decision-making with raw material ordering.

Having the right work tools in place can also help attract and retain key talent, thus addressing one of the major challenges in today’s economy — staff shortages.

Operational improvements such as smart factory projects can result in practical, concrete changes to manufacturing systems that have a measurable impact on KPI’s.

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

Navigating the switch from legacy systems to the cloud (or a hybrid cloud) is a huge undertaking that requires adept project management skills and is typically outsourced to an experienced provider like AISN. Preparing for the task involves discussing a number of important questions:

  • Which IT systems and production lines should be digitized first?
  • How might industrial companies upgrade systems while remaining compliant?
  • How might manufacturers strengthen security protocols while updating systems?
  • What level of disruption to the business might occur?

The risk associated with not taking action on digital transformation is that industrial companies can be left behind by more agile competitors. By digitizing operations from top to bottom, manufacturers can quickly orient themselves to the best opportunities in shifting market conditions.

Why Partner With AISN

Leader in Compliant Digital Transformation Efforts

Executing a major system upgrade or update requires a team of experts with deep knowledge and experience in compliance. One thing that sets AISN apart is our deep experience in upgrading very, very old legacy government systems and our ability to build compliant, modern systems that are underpinned by strong cybersecurity protocols.

In a sector such as manufacturing where uptime is crucial, properly identifying and managing system risk is critical. Strong data protection measures are like an insurance policy against breaches, and we have been executing these types of projects for decades.

Trusted Partner

As one of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America for two consecutive years, AISN partners with Forbes- and Fortune-ranked global corporations and other private businesses and organizations.

For much of our 30-year history, AISN has been providing managed services for compliant cloud systems, information security, risk assessment and application development. Our expertise is in helping medium- to large-sized manufacturing companies plan, manage and execute complex system projects with iron-clad security protocols. The end result is that data remains safe and in the right hands.

Why Partner With AISN

Leader in Compliant Digital Transformation Efforts

Leader in Compliant Digital Transformation Efforts

Executing a major system upgrade or update requires a team of experts with deep knowledge and experience in compliance. One thing that sets AISN apart is our deep experience in upgrading very, very old legacy government systems and our ability to build compliant, modern systems that are underpinned by strong cybersecurity protocols.

In a sector such as manufacturing where uptime is crucial, properly identifying and managing system risk is critical. Strong data protection measures are like an insurance policy against breaches, and we have been executing these types of projects for decades.

Trusted Partner

Trusted Partner

As one of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America for two consecutive years, AISN partners with Forbes- and Fortune-ranked global corporations and other private businesses and organizations.

For much of our 30-year history, AISN has been providing managed services for compliant cloud systems, information security, risk assessment and application development. Our expertise is in helping medium- to large-sized manufacturing companies plan, manage and execute complex system projects with iron-clad security protocols. The end result is that data remains safe and in the right hands.

We Understand the Unique Challenges, Opportunities and Needs of Manufacturers

Manufacturing businesses are heavily reliant on physical infrastructure and machinery. With increasing levels of connectivity between machinery, goods and backend IT systems, the need for iron-clad security to fortify against attacks is stronger than ever.

System downtime and inefficiency can be extremely costly. In contrast, high uptime and efficiency gains represent robust opportunities for manufacturers seeking strategic business growth opportunities and a compelling return on investment.

Our Solutions

Security

As a leading provider of information security services we are frequently asked to conduct cybersecurity remediation on behalf of clients who have faced an attack or breach. Disaster recovery takes many forms, but the best approach is to prevent one in the first place via a new level of preparedness.

That’s where our cybersecurity assessment comes in. We can help you research, identify and analyze systems risk to decrease the likelihood of a catastrophic attack grinding your business to a halt.

We can improve your security architecture and system security plan or create them from scratch to help prevent threat actors from breaching your systems.

If you are interested in having a cybersecurity assessment completed for your organization, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced team of experts.

Compliance

As a highly experienced provider, we live and breathe compliance on a daily basis. In fact, to remain compliant ourselves, we must regularly go through a third-party independent auditing process as well.

Even if your internal teams have been through the compliance process before, their knowledge may be obsolete. Our experienced IT resource bench can help you update and improve your systems while ensuring that they meet all security and compliance standards.

From a cloud migration to a digital transformation initiative, we can help all the way from strategy and planning to implementation and support.

Digital Transformation

Industry 4.0, in the context of manufacturing, refers to increasing connectivity and automation leading to improvements in operational processes and efficiency. Security risks are an ever present and shifting threat alongside technological innovation.

That’s why it’s so important to work with a trusted provider who can help you navigate the technological landscape and make sensible improvements to usher your company into the future – now.

Digital transformation comes with its own set of security requirements. The AISN team has completed projects such as: developing security architecture, implementing a system security plan and conducting a security impact assessment for the initial deployment of an application, Blue Prism’s Robotic Process Automation. This project was executed in partnership with KPMG, and we welcome the opportunity for future collaborations such as this.

Cloud Enablement

For senior IT leaders in manufacturing, there are many reasons to move specific systems to the cloud. The right cloud provider can help you take a migration project from concept to completion, so you can enjoy all of the benefits that the cloud offers:

Cost savings
Cost savings
Availability
Availability
Disaster recovery
Disaster recovery
Scalability
Scalability
Security
Security

If you have been contemplating a migration to a cloud or hybrid environment and would like some help, contact our expert team to discuss your requirements.

Application Hosting

Companies in the industrial sector are now using many remote working tools that must be hosted in a secure and compliant cloud environment. AISN has been providing application hosting for collaborative software for a variety of manufacturing companies.

These include: 

  • Garrett Technologies (medical, consumer and industrial devices)
  • Coors (brewing)
  • Daiichi-Sankyo (pharmaceuticals)
  • TyraTech (pest control)
  • Tumi (luggage)
  • Servolift (processing equipment)
  • and Elbit Systems (defense)

Some of these clients required application hosting for collaborative software for more than 1,000 employee seats.

Should your team have applications with critical data that must be hosted in a compliant and secure cloud environment, contact us today to discuss your needs further.

Managed Services

More than just an overseas help desk, our team is located in the United States, and your company will get to know each of us by name.

AISN provides compliant managed services to a variety of manufacturing firms. Whether it’s managed cloud backup and disaster recovery, cloud migration or website development, usability audits, penetration testing, or vulnerability scans, AISN’s managed services provide peace of mind and an attractive return-on-investment.

Application Development

Custom applications can provide plenty of value for improving business processes in the manufacturing sector. Should your company be seeking a vendor for application development, reach out today and speak with our team of experts; they will be more than happy to discuss your requirements.

Project Management

Bringing a project from strategy to implementation and beyond requires a deep resource bench and experience. AISN has helped medium to large manufacturing companies to implement a variety of systems improvements — from backend IT systems to automation efforts using Blue Prism robotic process automation (RPA). Our team of seasoned project managers are glad to assist with any systems related initiatives you may wish to undertake.

Get in Touch

If you would like to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact our team of experts today.