Manufacturing risk vulnerabilities

Manufacturing: Understand vulnerabilities beyond IT

While it is necessary to bolster cyber defenses, manufacturers should not lose sight of other vulnerabilities.

As the number of cyberattacks targeting the manufacturing industry increases year over year, many are focusing their risk management on IT. While it is necessary to bolster cyber defenses, manufacturers should not lose sight of other vulnerabilities.

Here are a few areas outside of IT where your organization may be at risk.


Your employees bring enormous value – and risk – to your organization.

It is imperative you have thorough recruiting and retention plans in place to protect your investment. Compensation is one aspect and usually a significant cost component in every business. While controlling costs are important, if you are paying less than market rates, turnover will increase. This can become a vicious cycle of replacing people which ultimately affects things like quality and morale.

Whether it is a phishing email or the processing of critical business data, employees are human. It is vital to invest in training and continued education to prevent new technology from putting your employees or company at risk.


Equipment connected to a company’s network and used in the manufacturing process, like a CNC machine, may create vulnerabilities. The information that could be compromised may be one of the most valuable assets of the company.

Those charged with governance must be confident that the company is protecting its information and the systems that process it. The potential impact of a failure in the availability, confidentiality or integrity of your critical information assets is monumental in today’s fast-paced environment.

Information security is more than an IT issue. It is a governance and management challenge that involves risk management, accountability and reporting. It requires stewardship to ensure the ongoing assessment of emerging threats and your organization’s response.


Often overlooked, your organization’s reputation can be another costly vulnerability if left unchecked. Addressing this involves managing the risks to your business that could ultimately impact your reputation.

High turnover of key people, both in the manufacturing process and other leadership positions, can affect quality, rework and ultimately the company’s ability to meet customer deliveries and expectations. With a constant influx of emerging threats, protecting your organization’s information is a necessity. While it takes a long time to build a reputation of excellence, one mere incident can tarnish it.

Need more information?

This list is not exhaustive but is a good place to start when considering key areas for other vulnerabilities within your organization. Utilizing the right advisors to assist in evaluating these risk areas can also prove beneficial as they provide outside perspective and unbiased expertise.

For more information contact Zac Spear using the information below.

Zac Spear

Vice President
Assurance Services

Zac Spear has more than 10 years of public accounting experience. He leads the firm’s manufacturing industry team. Zac also manages the firm’s employee benefit plan audit practice; he has earned certification in employee benefit plan auditing from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Zac is a certified public accountant and a member of both the AICPA and the Kansas Society of CPAs (KSCPA). He was honored as one of the KSCPA’s “20 up to 40” young leaders program. Zac earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Kansas and a master’s of business administration from Baker University.