Pharmaceutical manufacturers must prioritise cyber security

Are Life Science businesses putting off their cyber defenses because they don’t believe their business to be at risk, or because they don’t know where to start?

In 2011, the government and IT specialists Detica undertook a study which suggested that hi-tech manufacturers, including those working in pharmaceuticals, were high-risk targets for cyber crime.

Yet despite this caution, still less than a third (31%) of manufacturers see cyber security as a high priority. This is in contrast to the financial services, 60% of whom rated cyber security as a very high priority, and is even less than retailers at 39%.

This lax attitude is disproportionate to the threat facing the manufacturing industry, as Robert Holmes, vice-president of products at IT security provider, Proofpoint, explains.

“The irony is that manufacturers are in reality a prime target, not just in terms of the value of the assets that they have exposed to cyber security risk, but also the velocity of their transactions – a velocity that means that there’s a higher chance that a cyber attack might be successful,” he says.

“So when looking at manufacturing businesses, attackers see opportunities to help themselves to both cash and data, which when coupled with an apparent lack of cyber security awareness among manufacturers tends to make such thefts easier to carry out.”

Pharmaceutical, Medical and Cosmetic Manufacturers

With automated equipment, intellectual property, data and payment systems to protect, businesses which research, develop or manufacture Life Science products have plenty to lose.

Stuart Reed, senior director for market strategy at NTT Security urges business not to get overwhelmed by the task at hand.

“Get the basics right: without the right practical fundamentals in place, attacks do not need to be advanced to succeed,” he says.

Manufacturers spent a staggering 89% more on cyber insurance in 2016 than the year before, perhaps showing they are beginning to understand the potential chaos a hack could cause.


A breach could easily threaten the security of the whole company, potentially stopping production and trading until the source is discovered, the damage limited and the incident investigated.


On top of hacked bank accounts leaving you in financial turmoil, stolen data could compromise your clients’ payment information, intellectual property and your contractual obligations, all of which could see you facing an expensive court case.


Safeguard are specialists in Life Science Insurance. If you are concerned about your business’s cyber security risks, get in touch on 08456 888 284.