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Cybersecurity 101: Everything You Need to Know

ComTec Cybersecurity 101

With the rise of online services and technology across industries, cybersecurity in your manufacturing processes has more relevance than ever before. According to CISA, 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses—and that number is only increasing. Without the proper security measures in place, your business may be at risk for data loss and breaches that could compromise information privacy. 

Since cybersecurity components play a critical role in system and software safety, implementing extensive, scalable, and reliable options to protect your essential network and manufacturing computer processes is crucial. By choosing to invest in cybersecurity services, you can rest assured that your business and most-important digital assets will be kept safe.

Although surface-level security precautions like choosing strong passwords and enforcing two-factor authentication are important first steps in cybersecurity, basic practices like these simply don’t offer enough protection to manufacturing businesses, no matter the organization’s size. In order to adequately protect the sensitive information contained within your manufacturing process, administrators should implement additional cybersecurity measures. By using one or more of the following cybersecurity services, you can dramatically improve data security for your business.


Vulnerability Scanning

Vulnerability scanning is a great place to start improving your organization’s cybersecurity. A vulnerability scan identifies weaknesses in web applications, passwords, and configurations, as well as injected malware code, missing data encryption, excessive privileges, and zero-day threats within your manufacturing systems. By identifying these weaknesses, you will be armed with the information you need to create a plan of remediation and fortify yourself against cyberattacks.


Managed Detection and Response (MDR)

Managed detection and response (MDR) is another valuable cybersecurity service that provides organizations with threat-hunting services and responds to threats once they are discovered. By looking at your network (including your manufacturing services) from the inside out, MDR can help you better integrate technology for improved detection and response to cybersecurity threats. As you use MDR to hunt down cyberattacks before they impact your business, you can protect your cloud, endpoint, network, and user-based assets with minimal overhead.

MDR can help protect your business in these key areas of risk:

  • Business enablement
  • Data and intellectual property
  • Legal liability
  • Business disruption
  • Brand reputation
  • Cost of breach and redemption
  • Compliance and governance

Penetration Testing

A penetration test, also known as a pen test, is a simulated cyberattack against your computer system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. The goal of a pen test is to determine if unauthorized access to key manufacturing, billing, and other systems and files can be achieved. It approaches a network from the outside in order to gather intelligence and provide detailed reports that identify all threats. This includes testing firewalls, scanning open ports, and performing Secure Shell Testing (SSH) to find all network vulnerabilities.


Why Perform Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing has become a widely adopted security practice by organizations. Whether tests are required by regulatory mandates or you’re undergoing changes in network infrastructure or policies, pen tests can help with the following:

  • Providing evidence to support increased investments in security and technology
  • Showing employees’ cybersecurity awareness level
  • Seeing the real impact of risks and compromised endpoints 
  • Ensuring business continuity 
  • Reassuring all stakeholders


NIST Remediation

If you’re wondering what standard of cybersecurity to maintain for manufacturing, sticking with the national guideline is always a safe bet. NIST remediation is an important tool that advances your ability to detect, investigate, and respond to threats to mitigate vulnerabilities and move toward more-secure operations using NIST 800-171 and CMMC requirements for computer systems. 

Achieving NIST 800-171 compliance is an important and, in some cases, essential standard of cybersecurity.

There are three simple steps to achieving compliance:

Step 1: Assessment

Perform a detailed assessment of your current network and compare it with the cybersecurity controls regulated in the NIST SP 800-171. Deliverables include a summary of gaps and remediation recommendations.

Step 2: Remediation

Develop a prioritized action plan with specific remediation recommendations, schedule, and budget/resource estimates.

Step 3: Monitoring and Maintenance

Conduct ongoing advanced cybersecurity monitoring and incident response solutions to remain compliant.


What is NIST 800-171?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication (NIST SP 800-171) is a set of guidelines on how to handle and safeguard controlled unclassified information (CUI) that non federal organizations handle on their networks. Information owned or created by the government which is sensitive but not classified is labeled as CUI.


What is required to comply with NIST 800-171?

NIST 800-171 has 110 controls (14 control families) that impose requirements at the environmental, system, access, user, and logging/auditing levels. They also set out the requirements for cybersecurity procedures and incident-response plans. The application of each requirement ensures an organization’s systems, network (manufacturing and other systems), and employees are properly prepared to safely handle CUI.

The 14 requirement families of NIST 800-171 are as follows:

  • Access control
  • Awareness and training
  • Audit and accountability
  • Configuration management
  • Identification and authentication
  • Incident response
  • Maintenance
  • Media protection
  • Personnel security
  • Physical protection
  • Risk assessment
  • Security assessment
  • System and communication protection
  • System and information integrity


Who needs to comply with NIST 800-171?

Any organization that processes or stores sensitive, unclassified information on behalf of the US government is required to be compliant with NIST SP 800-171 cybersecurity standards. By defining the cybersecurity requirements for contractors who handle sensitive government information, NIST 800-171 strengthens the security of the federal supply chain. 

Any business interested in enhancing its cybersecurity posture may also seek to achieve NIST 800-171, as it advances a business’s ability to detect, investigate, and respond to threats to mitigate vulnerabilities and create more-secure operations for computer systems.


Antivirus/Endpoint Protection

Antivirus and endpoint protection is another critical cybersecurity service that protects against all threat vectors at each point of its execution. ComTec’s next-generation SentinelOne Endpoint Protection service can protect your data in the following ways:

  • Pre-execution: SentinelOne’s single-agent technology uses a Static AI engine to provide pre-execution protection. The Static AI engine replaces traditional signatures and obviates recurring scans that kill end-user productivity.
  • On-execution: SentinelOne’s Behavioral AI engines track all processes and their interrelationships regardless of how long they are active. When malicious activities are detected, the agent responds automatically at machine speed. Our Behavioral AI is vector-agnostic—file-based malware, scripts, weaponized documents, lateral movement, fileless malware, and even zero-days.
  • Post-execution: SentinelOne’s Automated EDR provides rich forensic data and can mitigate threats automatically, perform network isolation, and auto immunize the endpoints against newly discovered threats. As a final safety measure, SentinelOne can even roll back an endpoint to its pre-infected state.

This type of protection ensures you can keep your manufacturing moving forward as you will be protected from any outside threats.


MailRoute-Hosted Email Security and Threat Management

How much sensitive information comes through your email account from your supply chain, contractors, and partners? Protecting your email is one of the most important cybersecurity investments your business can make. Email security services can stop spam, viruses, ransomware, and other threats. With ComTec, you can even add Continuity and Archiving Lite to improve business productivity as well as security. By managing email cybersecurity threats, you can communicate important information securely. 


Security Awareness Training

While not all cybersecurity threats can be prevented completely, educating your staff about digital security is a good place to start in protecting against preventable incidents. With a fully mature security awareness training program like ComTec’s KnowBe4 Assessments, you can find out where your users are in both security knowledge and security culture. With an integrated deep-learning neural network, you can use security-awareness training programs to get detailed reports that help evaluate how your organization’s risk changes over time and understand where improvements need to be made to strengthen your human firewall.


CMMC Compliance

For contractors in the defense-contract supply chain, maintaining CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) compliance provides another critical layer of protection from cybersecurity threats. The CMMC is a framework launched by the Department of Defense to assess and certify organizations’ cybersecurity protocols and processes as nationwide cybersecurity concerns increase. CMMC requirements are dependent upon each organization’s risk level and include three maturity levels. Through the CMMC, organizations can simplify their compliance by applying priorities for protecting DoD information from evolving cybersecurity threats.

To wrap up, with the increasing prevalence of digital technology in the business sphere, cybersecurity has never been more important. Implementing proper security measures and taking preventative action can protect your business from data loss and security breaches. By implementing important cybersecurity services—including vulnerability scanning, MDR, penetration testing, NIST remediation, antivirus and endpoint protection, email security and threat management, security awareness training, and CMMC compliance—you can protect your essential manufacturing processes, systems, and software.


Talk to an Expert About Your Cybersecurity Needs

ComTec Solutions is a full-service technology services and ERP implementation and consulting company that has been providing advisory and technical expertise for manufacturers and engineering firms for 29 years. Companies looking to improve productivity, elevate the customer experience, and accelerate financial growth find value in ComTec’s expertise. ComTec is the award-winning Epicor Global Partner of the Year for 2023. The team is dedicated to helping customers strategically align technology with their desired business outcomes with speed, agility, and confidence. To learn more about our various cybersecurity offerings, let’s talk!