Cybersecurity? You’re It!

There’s a lot that we, as employees of an organization, are told we’re responsible for. For years, we’ve been told, “Everyone is responsible for quality.” Anyone who sells, designs, makes, buys, inspects, and packages products is responsible for making sure the customer is happy.
On the manufacturing shop floor, if the Toyota Production System (Lean as it’s often called) is implemented, everyone is responsible for activities such as 5S workplace organization. Keeping your workspace clean and free of unnecessary clutter leads to both effective and efficient manufacturing operations.
In today’s workplace, we all use some form of connected technology: a desktop computer, tablet and/or smart phone. We cannot conduct business without them. Cyber criminals know this and have learned to exploit connectedness in ways which are both subtle and shocking. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the new mantra is: Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility!
To further drive home the point, recently published statistics on the number of cybersecurity attacks and subsequent breaches are shocking. A sobering fact not highlighted in the National Institute of Standards and Technology data is that most of an organization’s cybersecurity risk comes from its people – you and me! It’s not because we’re the hackers, but because we don’t know how to recognize a cyber threat and don’t know how to react or handle one. Add to this an increase in those who work from home, which brings its own unique cybersecurity risks, and the odds of the cyber criminals hitting the proverbial jackpot become significantly higher.
Being responsible for something often difficult to recognize can be a challenge for anyone, let alone those of us with little or no expertise in IT. How do hackers gain access to our organization’s technology?
The most common vulnerability comes in the form of “phishing” attacks – which originate in a variety of forms including emails, texts and phone calls. Getting an email on the weekend from your boss asking for money because their vacation has gone wrong, while seemingly innocent, is unlikely to be real. Receiving a text from Walmart because you’ve won a prize is also unlikely to be authentic. Knowing how to spot and deal with these spoof communications is a critical first line of defense for any organization.
When working from home, unless your organization’s IT resources have established the appropriate network security infrastructure, it’s vital to ensure that your home internet access is secured. It’s not unusual for seasoned professionals to overlook protecting their home-based network, the wireless router you use to connect, for example.
The Center can help companies analyze new and existing technology to develop a framework to reduce risk and secure business operations. Learn about our cybersecurity services here. Additionally, train your team so they can learn how to identify and mitigate risks as well by registering for an upcoming class here.
MEET OUR EXPERT: Andy Nichols, Program Manager
Nichols_A.jpgTo The Center’s clients, Andy Nichols, CQP MCQI, brings 40 years of expertise in a wide variety of roles and industries, with a particular focus on quality management systems in manufacturing organizations. Prior to joining the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, he was the East Coast Regional Sales Manager for NQA, a “Top 5” Global Certification Body, responsible for significant sales growth in a highly competitive marketplace. He has authored two books, “Exploding the Myths Surrounding ISO 9000 – A Practical Implementation Guide” (published by ITG in April 2013) and “A Guide to Effective Internal Management Systems Audits" (published May 2014).

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: cybersecurity, Industry 4.0, Manufacturing, Technology