When large ag companies with expansive technological resources fall prey to ransomware attacks, it can leave them feeling vulnerable; unfortunately, it often takes a major incident to raise the priority level of cybersecurity awareness and planning.
And in reality, ag companies of all sizes and technical preparedness are at risk as ransomware attacks escalate.
In a March 7 release, San Jose, CA-based consulting firm ZAG Technical Services reminded companies to “make a plan to check their technology in light of the recent news of ransomware attacks on industry-leading ag companies.”
ZAG provides managed services and IT security, specializing in agribusiness, and ZAG Technical Services President
Greg Gatzke commented, “Cybersecurity is one of the greatest risks to modern agriculture and today’s food supply chain.”
And Gatzke continued, “As a recent ransomware attack highlights, every area of business is impacted, not just that company’s bottom line, but also availability of product to the end consumer.”
The release said that the FBI “has warned that the agriculture and food industry is at risk to cybercrimes and recent data indicates cybercrime is up over 31 percent. In fact, a Newsweek article published late last year addressed the growing landscape of ag tech, along with the gaps in service and maintenance of that tech.”
Service and maintenance in ag tech, manufacturing equipment, and even enterprise resource planning, or ERP, integrations are often overlooked, which can increase risk to company network security, the release added.
“As the Industrial Internet of Things grows, every business faces more risk. A breakthrough at any point in the network of connected farm, packaging, warehousing, and office operations could put the entire system at risk, including negatively impacting partners and vendors. Companies looking to protect themselves should consult with specialists in information technology and cybersecurity to identify their risks and assess their needs,” it said.
“Even if you do everything right, smart criminals may still be able to find a weak spot in your network and if they do, they will exploit it. Defense is important, but a worthwhile cybersecurity plan includes detailed response and recovery plans as well,” Gatzke said.
Much like agronomists and engineers have specialized roles, ag tech advanced ERPs, and even technical packing equipment have created the need for managed service providers (MSPs) knowledgeable about not just information technology, but also agribusiness and are prepared to get and keep producers safe and online in a high-tech world.
Gatzke concluded, “The best step in protection is being prepared not just for the attack, but for what comes after. It costs far less to implement and maintain a technical service plan that includes a holistic approach to system maintenance and protection than solving a cybersecurity breach after it happens, as costs add up not just for technical resolution, but lost business and sales.”
ZAG specializes in network infrastructure, security, disaster recovery, virtualization, cloud computing services and remote access, enabling clients “to succeed with digital transformation solutions by delivering even greater value in IT assessments, consulting, managed services, and support. It has offices in Salinas, CA, and Meridian, ID, and can be visited online at zagtech.com.