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Infrastructure and Physical Business Operations

The focus of cyber criminals has shifted from targeting data centers to taking hostage infrastructure and physical business operations. Consequently, this shift has real-world implications for cybersecurity in agriculture. Notably, cyber crime has become an escalating concern for businesses of all sizes and industries. In recent years, however, there has been a noticeable change in the focus of cybercrime, transitioning from targeting data to infrastructure and physical business operations. This shift has been motivated by the growing dependence of businesses on technology to efficiently conduct their operations. Recognizing that by targeting the very technology businesses rely on, cybercriminals can create substantial disruption and even cause physical damage. As a result, this change carries significant implications for the agriculture industry, which heavily relies on technology to effectively run its operations.

The Implications for Agriculture

Over the past ten years, there has been a enormous increase in the use of technology in farming operations. This has led to a rise in the number of programs and software used to run these operations. However, the industry has been slow to adopt cyber security best practices.

Unfortunately, with the shift in cybercrime focus, these programs and software have become a target for cybercriminals. By targeting these programs, cybercriminals can gain access to statistical and historical information, such as crop yields and financial information. Moreover, the much larger threat is the control cyber criminals gain over the physical operations these ag based programs provide. Access to one unprotected computer can lead an entire ag operation being held hostage.

Protecting Against Cyber Threats

To protect against these threats, farmers need to take agriculture cybersecurity seriously. This means implementing basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords and establishing appropriate internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Farmers also need to protect their information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks.

Utlizing a managed IT and cybersecurity provider can protect agribusiness in several ways. Firstly, they can implement and manage advanced security measures to protect against cyber threats and data breaches. Additionally, they can provide 24-hour monitoring and incident response by trained professionals, establish an enterprise-wide security policy, regularly review your infrastructure, and help you recover in the event of a security incident. Overall, partnering with a managed IT and cybersecurity provider can give you peace of mind and ensure that your business is protected against the latest threats.

The Importance of Cybersecurity

The shift in cybercrime focus from targeting data to infrastructure and physical business operations has significant implications for the agriculture industry. Farmers need to take agriculture cybersecurity seriously and implement basic security practices and policies for employees. They also need to protect their information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks by using cybersecurity software and a VPN. By taking these steps, farmers can protect their operations from cyber threats and ensure that they can continue to provide the food that we all rely on.


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Post Author: Chris Sherman

Chris grew up in Minnesota’s lakes country and started his first job at 11yrs old doing chores at the neighbor’s dairy farm. Summers were spent cleaning stalls, hauling silage, milking cows, raking hay, and endless hours picking rocks.

After graduating high school, he spent 10 years in industrial manufacturing. In 2005 he began studying Lean Manufacturing through the Shingo Prize Institute and passed his Bronze Level exams. Later he went on to redesign several production processes, and led facilities through numerous technological upgrades. During this time, Chris pursued his formal education, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rasmussen University of Fargo. Ultimately, he received his MBA from Benedictine University in 2016.

In 2014 Chris returned to agriculture and took a position with a North Dakota based ag construction company. He spent the next 8 years managing the company’s service department, overseeing large-scale irrigation projects, and construction of grain handling facilities across North Dakota and Minnesota.

Currently, Chris lives in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota with his wife and children. He sat on the board of directors for the Becker County Economic Development Authority and the county’s Housing Authority for six years. He served as the board president until the end of his term in 2020.