Imagine that your company was able to decrease its lost sales by 30% and its forecasting errors by 20%. You see an increase in revenue, less downtime, and a reduction in waste. That sounds like a dream, right? Well thankfully, it’s not! This is what French food production company Danone Group was able to accomplish with machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies like machine learning, automation, and advanced and predictive analytics are shaking up the world of manufacturers. And, it’s not just big companies like Danone that are benefiting from these technologies. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the perfect size to take advantage of AI in manufacturing, and one of the areas they can benefit from the most is security.
Cybersecurity Threats to Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. IBM discovered that manufacturing was the most attacked industry in 2021.
Manufacturing is such a target because of the interconnectedness of the industry. Manufacturing relies on the supply chain to function properly. If one link in the supply chain is disrupted, it can have a domino effect that shuts down the entire process.
For example, the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 took advantage of a flaw in Microsoft Windows to lock up files and demand a ransom for their release. The attack affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including Honda, Nissan, Renault, FedEx, and the UK’s National Health Service. The WannaCry attack is estimated to have cost billions in damage.
Ransomware is just one type of cyberattack that can target manufacturing. Others include:
- Phishing attacks
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
- Insider threats
Any of these attacks can result in the loss of data, money, and time. They can also damage a company’s reputation.
Capabilities of AI in Manufacturing
Most people think of data security in terms of things like firewalls and password protection. However, data security for manufacturers goes beyond that. With the amount of data that is collected in a factory, from machines, products, and employees, it can be overwhelming to try to protect it all.
This is where AI comes in. AI in manufacturing can help to identify patterns and anomalies in data that humans wouldn’t be able to see. For example, if there is a sudden spike in machine error rates, AI can help to identify the cause and prevent it from happening again in the future. AI and machine learning can also be used to:
- Monitor user activity to identify unusual behavior that could be indicative of a cyberattack
- Analyze data to identify patterns that could be used in a future attack
- Automate the patching of software vulnerabilities
- Respond to attacks quickly and effectively
In addition to helping prevent cyberattacks, AI in manufacturing can also help companies respond more quickly and effectively if an attack does occur. A business could use AI to automate the creation of backups, identify which systems need to be taken offline in the event of an attack, and restore systems quickly to avoid long periods of downtime.
AI is also being used to create what’s known as “digital twins.” A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical object or system. In the case of manufacturing, a digital twin can be used to simulate the production process to identify potential problems and optimize the process.
For example, GE’s Power Services division uses digital twins to help customers troubleshoot problems with their gas turbines. The digital twins are created using data from sensors that are placed on the turbines. This data is used to create a model of the turbine.
The digital twin can then be used to identify potential problems before they occur and test different solutions to see which one will work best. This is just one example of the power of machine learning and how it can be implemented to increase revenue.
AI cybersecurity measures or inventions like digital twins can help estimate market trends, reduce downtime and waste, and find defects in products or processes. The human role in business will never go away, but we can use technology to help us become more efficient and give our energy to the things that matter most.
How Manufacturing Companies Can Leverage IT Services for Growth
By partnering with an IT service provider, you can focus on your core manufacturing processes while leaving the management of your IT infrastructure to a team of experts. This will free up your time so that you can focus on what you do best.
An IT service provider with experience in manufacturing AI will have a team of experts who are up-to-date on the latest IT trends and can advise you on how to use technology to drive growth, like automating network patching and catching vulnerabilities.
An experienced IT service provider will have a deep understanding of industrial control systems (ICS) and can help you implement the latest security measures to protect your business.
Cybersecurity systems and risk detection mechanisms that are driven by self-learning AI can protect your production facilities and mitigate cyber threats. This technology can detect attacks on your cloud services or devices and stop the threat immediately.
Optimize Technology in Your Manufacturing Business with Alt-Tech
We can help you leverage the power of technology to improve your operations and protect your business from cyber threats. Our team of experts can help you implement the latest security measures, automate your network patching, catch vulnerabilities, and more.
We also have a deep understanding of industry-specific technologies that can help you implement the latest security measures to protect your business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you put the most advanced tools to the task.