B Swaminathan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cyberattacks are planned attacks on the internet; aimed at obtaining unauthorized access to private information of individuals or organizations. The internet has become a vital part of daily life due to its ease of information sharing, accessibility, messaging, and applications. The expanding number of connected devices and digital services pose continuous security challenges for businesses and individuals.
Cybersecurity is a concerning matter to individuals, small-scale businesses & large organizations as cyber threats and attacks are growing. Attackers are now using more sophisticated techniques to target systems. There are many different ways that cybercrime can impact the food and beverage industry beyond data breaches and compromised customer records.
In the recent days, many Indian companies including the one of the franchise owners of Dominos pizza, an Indian brand that manufactures sweets and savouries were reportedly in the news for alleged cyber attacks. However, there were many such incidents that went unnoticed and those attacks go unreported.
The major reasons for cyber attacks in the Indian food sector is because, most of them do not understand the importance of cyber security. “I know many companies still follow age-old operating systems but make thick margins in their businesses. Food manufacturers think only production is their key area and IT always becomes a secondary function”. says Paras Budhiraja, Director at Paras Spices Pvt and Managing Director at Paras Nutritions. He says that when the second generation is entering the food business more streamline along the technology space is likely to happen.
There are many types of cyber threats that manufacturers of food and beverages products need to combat. Here are the major threats impacting the industry today. Most of the attacks in the industry ranges from Web skimming, Ransomware, ICS/SCADA Malware and more. Food manufacturers are always looking for ways to prevent cyber attacks to keep their businesses, data and most importantly the food products they produce safe for consumers. A good portion of an IT budget is spent on data security impacting improvement projects like shortening the time from ‘farm-to-fork’, increasing productivity and boosting margins. Food manufacturers typically have lower margins than other manufacturing businesses, so IT staff are usually smaller and have fewer resources. With this in mind, the safest strategy might be to put the management and protection of business systems in the hands of the providers with a cloud solution.
The data that is housed in an ERP system is essential to day-to-day operations and can be the prime target for hackers. The cloud is the safest environment and best practice for preventing attacks. Cloud-based ERP providers such as QAD have a deep commitment to security and have the scale to make investing in security expertise, programs and processes pay off. Single tenant systems are dedicated to each customer. It consists of your own equipment, your own server and your own network. “Tech is now becoming an integral part of the organization. E-Commerce platforms enable an organization for the right people at the right time. For example, we are supplying to bakeries even in remote locations through various distributors and field sales forces.” ,says Santhosh Stephen, Managing Director, Symega Food Ingredients. According to him, having the right technology will always help food companies have a frugal last mile connectivity.
Automation & Human Error:
As the industry continues to rely on automation to assure that all food and beverages are fresh and safe, the possibility of hackers corrupting that automated technology grows exponentially. Those responsible for food safety and other vulnerable aspects of the food and beverage industry should develop the updated systems necessary. According to Shahnawaz Alam – Chief Technology Officer – True Elements, Along with effective systems, the industry leaders need to have a document recovery plan, ensure leadership understands the risk, keep technology up to date, educate employees, segregate networks and conduct regular tests.
“F&B sectors typically have lower margins than other manufacturing businesses, so IT staff are usually smaller and have fewer resources. With this in mind, the safest strategy might be to put the management and protection of business systems in the hands of the providers with a cloud solution.”, he feels.
Automation is vital
Labor shortages and worker engagement are another huge concern, especially as we enter a post-quarantine reality where fewer people are willing to return to onsite work doing repetitive and potentially dangerous tasks. Digital technology therefore plays a pivotal role in filling this gap. Food producers benefit immensely from lower labor costs and immunity to labor shortages, and employees benefit from safer work environments, more options for remote work, and more fulfilling roles.
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