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Report: Manufacturers not doing enough to protect against cyber threats

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Report: Manufacturers not doing enough to protect against cyber threats

Technology seen as key to protecting IP, improving customer service.

Manufacturers and distributors, like companies in other industries, face mounting cybersecurity risks. Still, some don't do enough to address the issue and protect intellectual property and sensitive data and information, according to a new industry report from professional services firm Sikich LLP.

Sikich's survey of manufacturers and distributors found that only one-third of companies surveyed conduct penetration testing on an annual basis.

"Warding off cyber threats, including cyberespionage, is a top corporate priority across industries, but manufacturers and distributors need to do much more to protect their patents, designs and formulas, as well as their private company and employee information," said Jim Wagner, partner-in-charge of the manufacturing and distribution practice at Sikich LLP. "Companies need to proactively assess their risk profile and take the necessary steps to address weaknesses. They would also do well to conduct ongoing vulnerability scanning to protect against any new threats."

"Companies need to proactively assess their risk profile and take the necessary steps to address weaknesses."

Manufacturers eye technology to improve customer service

In addition to shoring up their cyber defenses, manufacturers look to leverage technology to improve customer service, according to the report. More than half (51%) of respondents identified improving customer service and response time as a top business driver that will impact their technology strategies in 2016.

Nearly 40% said the same about reducing costs as manufacturers see growing cost pressures on the horizon. According to the report, nearly half of the manufacturers and distributors surveyed said they expect material costs to increase up to 5% in the next year. And 85% said they expect labor costs to increase up to 4%.

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