Softcat reveals cyber security is top IT priority for the manufacturing sector in 2024 


A new report by provider of IT infrastructure, Softcat, offers a look into the technologies the manufacturing sector is prioritising over the next 12 months.

The findings form part of a report based on the views of more than 4,000 customers from 2,900 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 27 industries in both the public and private sectors. 

The report, which is produced annually, reveals the manufacturing sector is prioritising Cyber Security in 2024, with 56 percent of respondents ranking it as their key focus area. 

As digital transformation accelerates in the manufacturing sector, more data is being created, stored and shared, making the threat of cybercrime greater than ever, with 70 percent of all ransomware attacks impacting the sector in 2023. With the industry relying on technology to produce goods and as the supply chain becomes more digitally connected, a cyber-attack can have huge implications for companies, the wider supply chain and the end consumer.  

Therefore, cyber resilience is now a high priority and organisations are being encouraged to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to securing networks, devices and data.  After Cyber Security, Digital Workspace solutions are the second highest priority, with 40 percent of respondents in the manufacturing sector ranking Devices and End User Computing as important to their IT strategy. 

Digital Workspace solutions put people first and technology second. They enable true collaboration and deliver a great user experience by securely connecting people, applications, data and devices, helping employees to do their jobs seamlessly – wherever they are.  To truly accelerate digitisation in the manufacturing industry, workers should be provided with the right technology, utilising new technologies such as AI, which is a core element of Industry 4.0, to optimise their supply chains and anticipate market changes more quickly whilst giving them time to enhance the customer experience and focus their skillsets on more value-added tasks. 

Networking and Connectivity is the third most important IT priority within manufacturing, with 28% of respondents citing it in the survey. With the ever-expanding growth in technologies, organisations should continue to pursue digital transformation through smart factories, the industrial metaverse and generative AI to remain competitive.  Data and IT Asset and Service Management complete the top five focus areas for the manufacturing sector for the year ahead, with 24 percent and 23 percent of respondents stating it is a priority, respectively. 

Interestingly, 76 percent of respondents cited sustainability as a key Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) focus, up from 16 percent the previous year, signalling a huge shift towards greener and more ethically conscious decision-making. 

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector has highlighted the top business challenges they expect to face over the next 12 months. Just under half of respondents (42%) said they were most concerned about People-related challenges in 2024, closely followed by Commercial Risk (40%) and Technology Experience (31%). This correlates with the talent shortage the sector faces, which inevitably has a knock-on effect on the ability to reduce commercial risk and improve technology experience. 

Richard Wyn Griffith, Chief Commercial Officer, commented on the findings: "As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology, it is essential that we remain vigilant and adaptable. The past year has seen global unrest, but it has also presented us with countless technological opportunities for growth and innovation. By taking a measured and strategic approach, we can effectively manage the risks associated with emerging technology, while also seizing the opportunities that it presents. We must remain proactive in our efforts to safeguard against cyber threats, integrate AI into our operations, and build digital resilience.   

“Only by embracing change and remaining steadfast in our commitment to progress can we hope to thrive in this new age of digital transformation. I look forward to continuing to work with our customers towards a brighter future!"    

 2023 Softcat Business Tech Priorities Report findings based on a survey sample of 4,000 respondents from 2,900 organisations in the private and public sector in the UK and Ireland across 27 different industries. Customers were surveyed in June 2023.

Add a Comment

No messages on this article yet

Editorial: +44 (0)1892 536363
Publisher: +44 (0)208 440 0372
Subscribe FREE to the weekly E-newsletter