*By Ricardo Macchiavelli

Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the manufacturing industry has been at the forefront of innovation, in an incessant search for efficiency that has led to significant advances, from mechanization to automation, always aiming to increase productivity to serve a market that has become accustomed to easy access to increasingly modern and improved products. In the midst of this journey of evolution, the industry now faces a new paradigm: the integration of digital technologies into its processes.

Digital transformation has redefined the modern manufacturing landscape, marking the transition from traditional processes to interconnected ecosystems, driven by advanced technologies. This evolution, which began with the first steps of automation, is now dominated by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, opening paths for process optimizations and improvements in operational efficiency.

Amid this scenario, IoT devices emerge as key elements, playing a vital role in increasing profitability. When integrated into manufacturing systems, they offer real-time data collection, allowing accurate and constant monitoring of equipment performance. This wealth of data not only facilitates the implementation of predictive maintenance, but also provides valuable information for improving production efficiency. Furthermore, IoT contributes to simplifying infrastructure management, allowing for more centralized control and a more agile response to changes in operating conditions and market demands.

This technology has the potential to radically transform the industry by optimizing production processes, reducing downtime, improving workplace safety and enabling predictive maintenance. However, these advances have also brought with them new challenges, with cybersecurity emerging as an essential component for the sustainability and integrity of industrial operations. As factories become more interconnected and dependent on automated systems, the attack surface for potential cyberthreats also expands, with potential impacts ranging from production disruptions and intellectual property theft to direct risks to worker safety.

In this context, a crucial question arises: how can we advance the industry's technological journey while keeping cybersecurity at the core of our operations? The strategies and solutions we adopt now will not only set the course for modern manufacturing, but also lay the foundation for a safer, more resilient industrial era.

It is important to say that digital security in manufacturing goes beyond simple data protection, it encompasses the protection of the company's digital and physical assets. In this environment, production equipment that is connected to the network such as CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines, industrial robots and automation systems are not only essential components of the production process, but also potential targets of malicious attacks. This interconnection creates an expanded attack surface, in which cybersecurity becomes essential not only to preserve the integrity of information, but also to guarantee the operational continuity and physical security of installations.

Estimates indicate that more than 60% of manufacturing companies expect to experience attempted attacks this year. Executives in this industry are aware that any interruptions in operations can result in serious financial implications and permanently affect corporate reputation. Therefore, it is critical to invest in cybersecurity measures that not only protect against threats but also strengthen operational resilience. This includes the ability to quickly recover from incidents to minimize downtime and preserve business continuity.

With the General Personal Data Protection Law (LGPD) in force in Brazil since August 2020, companies are increasingly under pressure to prioritize digital security and protect personal data they access. To this end, a set of protection solutions began to be part of the daily lives of these companies, such as firewalls, encryption and multifactor authentication, in addition to a continuous training routine to train employees in relation to best practices for using emails, links and systems that put the business environment at risk.

In addition to implementing security measures, companies must take a proactive and ongoing approach to protection. This includes regular review of privacy policies, risk assessment, internal audits and the appointment of a data protection officer to oversee compliance.

Cybersecurity undoubtedly plays a vital role in protecting digital assets, ensuring the integrity of production processes and preserving intellectual property. Awareness, education and implementation of robust cybersecurity policies are critical, but it is innovative digital solutions that effectively block unauthorized access and neutralize business risks. In the era of digital transformation, investing in advanced protection technologies is no longer an option, but an imperative necessity for companies seeking to prosper. Faced with an ever-expanding array of cybersecurity platforms, neglecting these digital solutions can pose an unnecessary and critical risk to industry continuity and success.

*Ricardo Macchiavelli, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Blockbit

Notice: The opinion presented in this article is the responsibility of its author and not of ABES - Brazilian Association of Software Companies

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