Top three manufacturing challenges for 2024: Confronting data security, regulation, and talent shortages head-on

1 February 2024 | 15 Shares

Source: DartPoints

It was a busy 2023 for manufacturers, with rising fuel and energy costs, high inflation, and supply chain issues stemming from geopolitical events. This all accumulated in the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI  that remained below the 50.0 contractionary mark for the sixteenth consecutive month in December 2023. However, the new year is in full swing, and looking at industry priorities is crucial when making strategic, future-proof decisions. TechHQ teamed up with experts at DartPoints, a leading provider of colocation, cloud, and cybersecurity, to take a deep dive into the top three issues for manufacturers in the next year.

  1. Rising cyber security threats

Manufacturing was the top industry affected by ransomware in 2023, and attacks of this kind have cost $46 billion in losses in the last five years. Unfortunately, manufacturers have targets painted on their backs because of the critical role they play in global supply chains and infrastructure.

Manufacturing industry

Source: DartPoints

But bad actors are not the only threat to industry safety; significant natural disasters are becoming increasingly frequent as climate change worsens. Power outages cause 35 percent of unexpected downtime globally, often brought about by rain, flooding, fires, tornados, and earthquakes. These cost an average of $1,467 per minute, or $88,000 per hour. Data security will, therefore, be a huge area of focus for the coming year, including implementing robust business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plans.

  1. Navigating regulatory compliance

Manufacturing businesses are also concerned about complying with increasingly stringent industry regulations. Depending on the sector and scale of a company, regulations could include HIPAA, PCI, FISMA, and other geographically specific data privacy acts.

Last October, President Biden signed an executive order on safer AI, which will likely influence further regulation in the space. Manufacturers looking to incorporate AI technology in operations must be aware of any regulatory developments.

Furthermore, reporting on IT operations to comply with environmental standards, like the Energy Policy Act, is becoming more significant with ensuing extra data demands. This will affect decisions around green IT practices and energy-efficient data centers.

  1. Ongoing staffing challenges and the talent gap

Many manufacturing businesses are keen to continue their digital transformation journey in 2024. This could include projects around cloud migration and management, AI and machine learning implementation, and the integration of 5G-enabled computing. These technologies are pivotal in achieving operational efficiency, scalability, and innovation. However, the IT talent gap is a major roadblock in managing an IT overhaul that could significantly disrupt business operations.

The number of suitably skilled employees cannot keep up with rapid technological developments. According to the International Monetary Fund, the shortage of qualified tech professionals will lead to 85 million vacancies in 2030, potentially causing over $8 trillion in lost revenue. Without the necessary specialist staff, manufacturers may struggle to reach their digital goals smoothly and within budget.

Leveraging cloud services: How a solutions provider drives innovation

Cloud service providers (CSPs) and data centers are pivotal in fortifying manufacturers against cyber attacks and data loss. They can help companies with disaster recovery, backup, business continuity planning, and cloud migration, which  mitigate the effects of cybersecurity threats. Leveraging AI-powered threat detection, CSPs and data centers have the capability and experience to identify and respond to potential risks in real time, offering manufacturers a proactive defense strategy. Thorough security assessment during onboarding helps optimize the use of security tools and addresses vulnerabilities in a business’s IT stack.

Manufacturing industry

Source: DartPoints

Offering manufacturers a comprehensive range of security solutions, including immutable backup copies, data storage, and continuous monitoring, contributes to safeguarding against external threats and maintaining data integrity. Such measures also aid manufacturers in achieving compliance and evading penalties. CSPs and data centers can offer data backup and disaster recovery services to ensure data availability, thus fulfilling regulatory requirements. Furthermore, CSPs and data centers can undergo routine compliance audits and acquire pertinent certifications, such as SOC 2 or ISO 27001, to showcase adherence to stringent standards.

Having comprehensive incident response processes in place ensure any security incident is identified promptly and reported to the appropriate authorities; a requirement for data protection regulations like PCI  and HIPAA.

Outsourcing services to CSPs or data centers  enables manufacturers to alleviate frustrations around staffing issues. These technical experts These technical experts handle digital transformation tasks daily, offering specialized support and enabling the business to concentrate on core operations. This  approach relieves the burden of recruiting, training, and retaining in-house IT personnel,  providing a solution that shifts expenditure from CAPEX to OPEX. Additionally, it ensures reliable, expert management of critical infrastructure and services.

DartPoints – A manufacturing solution partner

In the manufacturing sector, where cybersecurity, regulation compliance, and staffing issues pose significant challenges, DartPoints emerges as a trusted ally, offering tailored solutions to address these pressing concerns.

Cybersecurity: Strengthening digital defenses

Recognizing the critical importance of safeguarding manufacturing operations against cyber threats, DartPoints employs a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity. Through continuous monitoring and robust security protocols, it provides a comprehensive shield to protect sensitive data. With an impressive uptime SLA of 99.999 percent and low-latency connectivity, DartPoints ensures unparalleled performance, instilling confidence amid evolving cyber risks.

Regulation and compliance: Navigating regulatory terrain

Adhering to industry regulations is crucial for manufacturing success. DartPoints’ commitment to regulatory compliance is evident through its adherence to relevant governance standards and rigorous annual audits. By partnering with DartPoints, manufacturers can ensure their operations meet regulatory requirements, mitigating the risk of penalties and disruptions.

Manufacturing industry

Source: DartPoints

Addressing staffing challenges: Your extended team

The shortage of skilled IT professionals presents a significant obstacle for manufacturers. DartPoints serves as an extension of your team, offering expertise, experience, and a customer-centric approach to fill staffing gaps. With DartPoints as your partner, you gain access to a dedicated team of seasoned professionals, alleviating the burden on internal resources and ensuring seamless IT operations.

DartPoints transcends being a mere service provider; it is your strategic partner, committed to empowering manufacturers to navigate the complexities of cybersecurity, compliance, and staffing with confidence and ease.

Discover how DartPoints can help smoothly navigate your manufacturing business through 2024 by visiting its website or speaking to one of the team today.