Friday, January 11, 2019

Defense Contractors: Is Your Information Protected?

By: Elliot Forsyth

Every 39 seconds, a cyber-attack occurs somewhere in the world. Yet, most small manufacturers still believe they are safe from cyber threats, assuming hackers only target large, multi-billion dollar companies. Unfortunately, that cannot be further from the truth.

Consider, for example, the recent Sea Dragon breach. In early 2018, hackers within the Chinese government targeted the computers of a Navy contractor to steal 614 gigabytes of sensitive government information related to undersea warfare, which included information about Sea Dragon, a highly confidential project, and other sensitive material.

Rather than attacking the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a military organization responsible for developing Sea Dragon, hackers instead chose to target the contractor, further demonstrating that companies of all size are at risk when it comes to cyber threats. The information stolen was housed on an unclassified network, despite its sensitive nature, leaving it highly vulnerable to theft or attack. Had the contractor originally recognized the risks involved with holding such information – regardless of their company’s size – and taken the proper precautions to ensure the information was protected, this entire breach potentially could have been avoided.

This was not the first major breach of sensitive information to occur within the military realm, and it won’t be the last. Hacks are only becoming increasingly more prevalent, especially among smaller contractors throughout the supply chain. Because of this, a growing number of sectors within the military are moving toward making cybersecurity a top factor in awarding future contracts.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is leading the way when it comes to establishing cybersecurity regulations among suppliers, with thousands of contractors across the nation now compliant with the NIST 800-171 standard. Essentially, this standard provides suppliers with guidelines for closing gaps in their existing information security systems while creating prevention and reaction plans for future cyber-attacks.

Many defense contractors have started their journey towards cyber safety, or are already compliant with the NIST standard. Others have yet to get started, getting held back by questions such as, Where do I start? What kind of information needs to be protected? Where can I find information security experts to help me keep my information protected? Why does this matter to my business?

All of these questions and more will be answered at the upcoming Cybersecurity: Defense Sector Summit held in Troy, Mich., from March 5-6. Hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), this event brings together members of industry, government, academia and security research to discuss the latest and most pressing challenges related to cybersecurity in the military. To help Michigan contractors better understand the risks and responsibilities associated with maintaining safe cyber practices, speakers will discuss methods for how to best safeguard information, with live demonstrations related to cybersecurity.

Defense contractors who want to stay competitive and protected in the coming years won’t want to miss this informative event. To learn more about this summit, or to reserve your seat, click here.

For further assistance with safeguarding your company’s sensitive information from attack, contact The Center’s cyber experts at cyber@the-center.org or call 888.414.6682.


MEET OUR EXPERT
Elliot Forsyth
Vice President of Business Operations

Elliot is Vice President of Business Operations at The Center, where he is responsible for leading practice areas that include cybersecurity, technology acceleration, marketing, market research and business development. Over the past two years, Elliot has led The Center's effort to develop a state-of-the-art cybersecurity service for companies in the defense, aerospace and automotive industries, supporting Michigan companies in safeguarding their businesses and maintaining regulatory compliance.



Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

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