Cyber security top priority for manufacturers

Softcat’s chief commercial officer, Richard Wyn Griffith

Softcat’s chief commercial officer, Richard Wyn Griffith, comments on a new report looking into technologies manufacturers are 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, produced annually, reveals the manufacturing sector is prioritising cyber security in 2024, with 56 per cent 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 per cent 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 end consumers. 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 per cent 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.

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, while 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 per cent 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 per cent and 23 per cent of respondents stating it is a priority, respectively.

Softcat’s chief commercial officer, Richard Wyn Griffith, said: “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.”