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AWARENESS OF OT CYBERSECURITY IN SME MANUFACTURERS

SMEs Manufacturing may be small but as a whole, they have a huge impact on the industry. It contributes to economic growth, creates innovation and job formation including social cohesion. The contribution of SMEs GDP is at 38.2 per cent in 2020 with a value added of RM512.8 billion. Services and Manufacturing sectors remained as the main drivers of SMEs GDP activities which both sectors represent more than 80 per cent to SMEs GDP (Source: https://www.dosm.gov.my)


Despite the fact that lack of proper technology and limited leadership/expertise in technology are a few challenges faced by Malaysian SME’s Manufacturers, nowadays, technology has become a necessity within manufacturing operations that are seeking to reduce cost, eliminate waste, and increase profits. Consequently, many SME Manufacturers has considered to adopt digitalization and/or automation in their business operations in achieving higher productivity, process efficiency, efficient cost management and greater market penetration. These technologies include devices, automation, robotics, AI and software that control the production process to ensure that production is running efficiently and enable industrial processes to be remotely monitored and managed from a central location.


Along with the various advantages in Operational Technology, there are also disadvantages pertaining to the technology as well which Manufacturing Industry that are hyper connected with smart devices/automation and smart networks may become more exposed to vulnerabilities. The threats will create damage to the industry including: -

  • Business Interruption

  • Liability losses

  • Property losses

  • Employees Injuries

  • Electronic Data Breaches

Regrettably, some business owners and executives still convince themselves that their businesses are too small to be of interest to hackers. This means that they may not put the time, money, training, and other resources in place to protect their businesses (and their customers as a result).


However, it is important to know that historically, there’s been this common notion that small businesses are at greater risk to cybercrimes because they lack the resources — funds, personnel, time, etc to properly monitor and mitigate cyber threats compared to large organizations (Source: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/15-small-business-cyber-security-statistics-that-you-need-to-know/.


Investing in OT Cybersecurity program is now imperative. This move can give organizations a more comprehensive edge in staying safe, especially when entire organization has provided the cybersecurity training. In fact, OT Cybersecurity is important to ensure that the organization will not be vulnerable to a cyberattack and to protect Operational Technology infrastructure, people and data as stated below: -

  • Protection for remote working employees by securing sensitive information and removing the risks of them being vulnerable to adware, malware, and phishing attempts.

  • Boost productivity by eliminating the risks of cyberattacks and potential work stoppage. With the right cybersecurity training, the employees’ knowledge of cybersecurity will increase, which makes them inclined to work better.

  • Customers’ confidence and trust in the business increase because they know that company are protecting their confidential data. They feel safe when doing business with such industry.

  • Investing in cybersecurity training, cybersecurity tools, and IT infrastructure will pay huge dividends in the long run. Manufacturers will prevent cyberattacks, reduce losses and avoid claims by customers and fines to regulators. In fact, it is also complied with the data security regulations of the state and the federal government.


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