Research reveals worrying lack of cyber security among UK manufacturing organisations, with over half lacking a digital brand protection plan

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Research from RiskIQ on the state of digital risk management in large, UK organisations, reveals that while 85 percent of C-Suite and senior managers in the manufacturing industry are concerned about the vulnerability of their websites, mobile applications and social media accounts to cyber attack and impersonation, half (52 percent) do not have a digital brand protection programme or team in place.

The lack of digital brand protection means manufacturing organisations are missing the opportunity to detect cyber threats in the early stages where mitigation would greatly reduce the negative impact to the business and its customers.

The manufacturing industry continues to invest in web, mobile apps and social to engage with customers. This however has introduced new security risks that sit outside the corporate firewall, including threat actors compromising vulnerable web assets. Aligned with the heightened cyber threat, almost all manufacturing organisations surveyed (98 percent) cited that the security of digital channels is a boardroom concern, and the majority agree that their organisation is equally or more at risk from cyber security attacks (90 percent) and digital brand impersonation (94 percent) compared to just five years ago.

The survey results indicate high confidence among the C-Suite and senior managers in protecting a business' digital presence, with an overwhelming 94 percent of manufacturing organisations disclosing that they track and monitor all the assets making up a company's digital channels. This is despite the lack of controls being applied to do so, and with minimal organisational responsibility evident. With top cyber security concerns for the manufacturing industry including corporate espionage (54 percent), exposure of customer data (54 percent) and reputational damage (48 percent) but little proactivity in place to defend against the threats, it is not surprising that these organisations are considered more at risk from cyber attacks today compared to five years ago.

Such concerns are having a direct impact on business progress, with 94 percent of those surveyed stating that cyber security and brand protection concerns are affecting the rollout of new digital initiatives.

Ben Harknett, VP EMEA, RiskIQ comments, "Our research shows that while organisations, including those in the manufacturing industry, are advancing their use of digital channels, security is once again playing catch up. This lag results in increased digital risk which could impact the success of those channels. Digital Risk Monitoring and External Threat Management needs to be considered as a priority in the boardroom in the defence of their digital channels, particularly with the potential for exposure of customer data and confidential business information at stake."

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