People first

Posted on Sep 19, 2018 :: Editors Note
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

It’s embarrassing to recount, but I once fell for a phishing scam. It was a couple of years ago, and I was rushing out the door when the phone rang. It was a person claiming to be from Microsoft with an urgent message that my computer had been compromised. She spoke in a frantic voice that made me panic, so when she asked me to execute some keystrokes that allowed her to take over my computer, I took the bait.

I quickly realized my folly and cut the conversation short, refusing to pay any money. We got some advice from my brother-in-law who works in IT and followed the steps he recommended to protect our computer and information. We were lucky to come away unscathed.

Sometimes it seems that talk of automation, IoT and Industry 4.0 dominate the conversation around manufacturing. In researching this month’s cover story on cybersecurity, it was interesting to learn, then, that one of the best ways to protect systems is to educate the humans using the machines.

While companies can — and often should — invest in tools like firewalls and filtering and blocking systems, implementing simple, commonsense strategies can be just as vital. If there’s one issue every expert I talked to agreed on, it was the importance of companies educating their people. Whether it’s someone like me who’s harried and unwittingly lets the bad guy in or someone who ignores red flags and clicks on the link in a suspicious email, the choices we make can have damaging consequences.

Read this month’s cover story starting on page 12 to learn how steps such as teaching employees to view unusual emails with a wary eye, advising customers of potential scams and establishing a protocol for sending wire transfers can provide an important layer of protection against fraud.

You’re also sure to learn something by reading Insight Managing Editor MaryBeth Matzek’s Back Office article about microgrids, which starts on page 20. Microgrids generate solar energy onsite, which can be used immediately or stored in a battery for later. Faith Technologies and Schneider Electric engineered and built the largest microgrid in the Midwest to power Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton. Pretty powerful stuff (pun intended).

Bob Chapman, chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Group and keynote speaker for the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference, has made it his life’s mission to put people first. Through his Truly Human Leadership blog, Barry-Wehmiller University and best-selling book, Chapman teaches the art of leading with compassion and care.

I had the privilege of interviewing Chapman, and his warmth and message have stuck with me. I promise you won’t want to miss seeing him speak at Manufacturing First on Oct. 24. This year’s “One BIG Day” features more than 180 exhibitors, 1,000-plus attendees, breakout sessions and networking. Hope to see you there!