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The Benefit of the Sony Cyber Attack

Posted By David Brousell, January 13, 2015 at 3:06 PM, in Category: Cybersecurity

If nothing else, the recent cyber attack, apparently by North Korea, against Sony for producing the satiric film “The Interview” should serve to raise to the highest level the issue of cyber protection on the agendas of every board of directors in the manufacturing industry.

Cyber attacks against corporations have been going on for a long time. There have been many breaches at well-known, brand-name companies. But the attack against Sony -- with its embarrassing release of personal e-mails, the threat to freedom of speech, and the international repercussions of a rogue state attempting to punish a business – has catapulted the issue of cyber security to a new level.

And it’s a level of risk that no company can afford to underplay or ignore.

Senior leadership at manufacturing companies would be well advised to reprioritize their critical business issues so that cyber security occupies a higher and more urgent position than ever before.

Over the past year or so, Manufacturing Leadership Council research indicated that cyber security had become more of a mainstream issue in many manufacturing companies. Although it occupies a position of importance to manufacturers, it is still less urgent than other business issues. The ML Council poll last year showed, for example, that 47% of respondents placed a “high” degree of importance on cyber security, but 42%, considered it only of “moderate” importance. http://gil-ev3nts.gilcommunity.com/blog/cybersecurity-just-another-business-issue/

Moreover, 70% of poll respondents said that financial performance and customer satisfaction were issues of greater importance than cyber security.

That’s understandable on one level, but when the threat of cyber attack becomes serious enough to risk not only business interruption and reputation but also a company’s value system--which was what was on the line in the Sony case--business leadership must raise the issue of cyber security to the highest possible level, almost an equivalent to a clear and present danger.

No doubt the Sony incident may have motivated the Obama Administration’s announcement yesterday, prior to next week’s State of the Union address, of new legislation and programs intended to protect privacy and identity for individuals. The administration said the president would propose legislation to create a “national standard” to protect Americans from identity theft, a new consumer privacy “bill of rights”, and a law to protect students’ personal data.

These efforts may be targeted to individuals, but they reflect the larger issue of cyber security for everyone and every organization.

It’s time to elevate cyber security to the top of the critical business issue list. Don’t let your company become the next target.

Category: Cybersecurity
Written by David Brousell

Global Vice President, General Manager and Editorial Director of the Manufacturing Leadership Council

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You know what would be a great followup article to this one you did David? "Measuring and Analysis of Risk/Reward for Manufacturers Placing Company Data on the Cloud/Internet". I say this because the risk and rewards are indirect and often arbitrary, difficult to assign a number, even more difficult for that number to be monetary one. Even the relationship between the "Cloud" and the internet is, well ... cloudy for many executives. But as what used to be a one time purchase of manufacturing related software morphs into SaaS (software as a service with annual subscriptions and 3rd party changes from outside the company) and then morphs into SaaS on "The Cloud" and manufacturing becomes an ever increasing soft target for cyber attacks, the risk/reward analysis discussion becomes increasingly important one to have.
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