The Manufacturing Sector Must Balance Productivity And Security As The Sector Continues Its Digital Transformation

The ever-changing expectations and demands of consumers is changing the face of the supply chain. The manufacturing sector of the supply chain is diverse, and depending on the size of the company, it moves at different speeds. Plus, the mentality of the people in charge of manufacturing companies is, in general, behind when it comes to developing an effective digital transformation strategy that will enhance production capabilities and reduce costs. Manufacturers must be more innovative when it comes to producing other secure revenue streams. According to a recent report that includes information from 17,000 manufacturing companies in the United States and Canada, the manufacturing sector is embracing digital transformation, but the sector faces important challenges during the transformation. The first challenge is managing the permission and the role of users, and the second challenge is managing the diverse portfolio of applications. Plus, another challenge is the security and compliance risks that develop from additional third-party user access.

In order to address these challenges, manufacturing companies need an identity solution that supports the diversity, complexity, and the scale of various applications they will need to compete in this complex global market. According to Jack Shepherd, one of OneLogin’s executives, said there are four important points all security and IT teams must consider when they develop an access management strategy and an identity. OneLogin is a cloud-based access management service provider. And it’s important to know that OneLogin’s goal is to use their cloud-based access management service to secure user access to devices and applications that can reduce IT time and increase productivity. OneLogin does that by implementing a single sign-on system that includes multifactor authentication (MFA), and a real-time active directory integration with more than 5,000 applications. OneLogin is an eight-year-old, San Francisco based company founded by former Zendesk executives Christian and Thomas Pedersen.

Manufacturing companies must address four critical points going forward, as they develop an identity and implement an access management strategy, according to Mr. Shepherd. The first point is to understand that third-party access continues to expand, and those users are vendors and supply chain partners who usually work in different off-sight locations. According to a 2017 study on the risk of third-party users, one-third of all manufacturing companies provide access to more than 25 third-party users. And more than 10 percent of the respondents work with over 200 external partners.

Another critical point Shepard addresses is understanding that balancing usability and security is necessary, so balance is a critical mission for manufactures. Expanding user access is important and necessary if manufacturers want to stay competitive, but the loss of productivity, data breaches, and the disruption of critical systems are ever-present unless security becomes a major focus. According to a 2017 data breach report, stolen, weak, and compromised user information is a major issue. That report suggests the chances for data breaches could be in the 80 to 90 percent range unless there is an effective Single Sign-on and Multifactor Authentication system in place. An MFA system also protects manufacturers from costly cyber-attacks, according to Shepherd. And according to another 2017 report, manufacturers face a higher number of unwanted attacks, and that threat is enough to implement a Single Sign-on system.

The other critical report that Mr. Shepherd brings to the surface so manufacturers can set up an effective digital transformation system is the hidden costs of using a traditional identity management platform. End users tend to forget their app passwords, and that cause productivity issues as well as IT congestion because of the flow of password-reset support tickets. More external users mean more directories, and more complicated application rollouts. Shepherd claims a single identity and access management system is more cost-effective than the traditional identity systems. In fact, the OneLogin single sign-on system is helping manufacturers like Steelcase, Airbus, and Consort Medical securely manage apps and data. According to Mr. Shepherd, OneLogin has a full set of Cloud Identity and Secure Access Management features that provides secure access to all company apps, and it can help manufacturers avoid the challenges they face as they move through the digital transformation process.