Business owners can focus on growth, but without a secondary focus on security, that growth is vulnerable.
Any machine on Wi-Fi connectivity is a vulnerable entry point, according to New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program Cyber and Supply Chain Specialist Ray Martinelli. CNC machines, SmartBoards, and any automated machines are vulnerable; and beyond a business’s own machines, vendors also present entry point vulnerabilities.
“Cybersecurity is not an IT problem. It’s a vendor management, a C-level, an accounts payable [problem]. The IT side is probably buttoned up pretty tight,” Martinelli said.
The inconvenience of cybersecurity is one of the biggest risks to your business, Martinelli explained to a room of food manufacturers at Monday’s Food Day, presented by NJBIZ and NJMEP at The Event Center at iPA in Freehold.
“It’s something that’s outside our comfort level. However, what happens when you shut down? You can’t do anything,” Martinelli said.
For food manufacturers, the use of blockchain can allow everyone to be connected securely to one data set of information. Using the example of sourcing a product internationally, Martinelli explained that a large amount of data and a large number of people can be involved in the sourcing of one item.
“Purchase orders, marketing, currency, duties and taxes, transportation and logistics on the end of pickups, all of these contracts, all of these vendors – even just sourcing something as simple as a full container load of gears – there can be hundreds of people involved in that process,” Martinelli said.
While public blockchains like Bitcoin are better known, they were not designed for enterprise. Permissioned blockchains, however, are faster and can handle more information coming at once. Only authenticated users can participate in permissioned blockchains, such as IBM Food Trust, BSM’s ClearThru, and Mediledger.
The business value add of blockchain will grow to $3.1 trillion by 2030, according to Stamford-based IT management company Gartner. As the use of it becomes more mainstream, from Walmart-sized businesses to smaller outfits, “the probability of [a vendor or manufacturer] you work with being on a blockchain by the end of next year is very high,” Martinelli said.
To prepare for the more mainstream use of blockchain, businesses should ask themselves the following questions, according to Martinelli: Do you have the systems and processes in place to track the required data? Are your systems ready? Do you trust the state of your data?
Still, it’s not recommended for every business.
If the data is unreliable, or if the rules or transactions change frequently, he said, blockchain isn’t recommended.