Can industry hack the fourth industrial revolution?

The fourth industrial revolution is set to change the manufacturing sector exponentially. Can the industry handle it? With the right support, Terry Scouler thinks it can.

Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF
Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF.

The fourth industrial revolution presents a mixed picture for UK manufacturers. One positive outcome from this transformation of industry is that manufacturers are planning to invest in new digitally enabled production technologies.

On the flip side, the level of funding in new technology is disproportionate to investment in cyber security.

Why does cyber security matter and does it only affect large companies? High profile cases like TalkTalk, which was hacked last October for the third time in the space of one year, have proliferated the misconception that only large companies are vulnerable.

In contrast, government figures show a rapid increase in both the number and cost of cyber breaches, with recent data showing last year, 90% of large businesses and 74% of small businesses reported a cyber security infringement – a significant increase on 2014.

In addition, the data shows the average cost of such breaches was between £1.46m to £3.14m for a large firm, and £75k to £311k for a small business. Furthermore, half of FTSE 350 companies are now saying that cyber security is their biggest risk.

Despite this rapid increase, EEF’s data shows that only a third of manufacturers have an incident response plan in place to address cyber breaches, with almost half neglecting to have board-level discussions on the issue.

EEF PQ - June 2016Additionally, nearly half of manufacturers have failed to increase investment in cyber security in the past two years.

As the fourth industrial revolution envelopes industry in autonomous and connected processes, the cyber-attack risk will become ever more prevalent for manufacturers.

Data and information theft will remain a significant threat, specifically financial information, customer data and product specifications. Health and safety risks will also pose a problem, both in ensuring product safety and shopfloor safety, where employees will be working with autonomous equipment.

In some cases, cyber contraventions could also result in the deletion of vital information, triggering costly shutdowns and downtime in production.

Notwithstanding the physical costs cyber-attacks, companies will have to work hard to recover from reputational damage with customers and suppliers.

According to recent data, the UK remains a globally important manufacturing nation, standing at seventh in the world for manufacturing output. If we want to maintain and improve on that position, we do have to take this issue extremely seriously.

Cyber-threats necessitate a proactive at management strategy in the sector. In response, EEF has developed a free online tool which enables manufacturers to benchmark cyber security.

EEF Fourth Industrial Revolution Link - June 2016The tool provides useful information and links to further advice to bring manufacturers fully up-to-speed with cyber issues and risks for businesses. Moreover, manufacturers can register to participate in EEF-organised focus groups, which help tackle cyber concerns and highlight how to take advantage of opportunities presented by this ground-breaking technology.

Attend Connect ERP

For five years, Connect ERP has been changing the way UK businesses approach software selection by minimising the overall time and effort involved in qualifying potential enterprise software vendors.

This unique event offers a one of a kind opportunity for you, and your team, to see the premier enterprise software solutions, in one place at the same time.

With attendance capped at 60, Connect ERP will maximise your opportunity to fine-tune your short listing process with restricted exposure to both your peers and the vendor community.

If you are looking to install or update your ERP system in the next 12-18 months, then Connect ERP is vital to ensuring company has the best solution for its needs.

Connect ERP takes place on July 7, 2016 in Reading.

To find out more information, and to register your interest, visit the website