Is your digital manufacturing plant cyber resilient?

As the maturity of digital manufacturing plants grows, so does the risk of a cybersecurity or other digital incident. A successful phishing attack or a data center cooling failure, as examples, could adversely impact manufacturing operations and potentially take a facility offline for hours, days or even longer.

So the ability of a plant to minimize the risk of a digital disaster, and quickly restore operations if one occurs, is a vital investment for the reliable delivery of drug products to patients.

To do this, biomanufacturers must clearly understand the cyber resilience at their different plants and how each site fits into the context of their overall business.

This is why BioPhorum IT has designed a Digital Plant Resilience Assessment Tool, so companies can better analyze the resilience of their manufacturing operations.

How does it work?

A manufacturer usually has multiple plants and so it may be difficult for them to analyze the potential impact of any resilience risks at a particular site relative to its business as a whole.

The tool complements BioPhorum’s Digital Plant Maturity Model and allows a company to measure its manufacturing facilities against a range of key areas. It means a manufacturer can assess the digital resilience at each plant, the development of resilience objectives, any investment prioritization and its ongoing strategic planning.

Completing the digital plant resilience assessment provides information that helps inform business decisions related to the product being manufactured. The information from the tool helps stakeholders to better understand resilience risks and to identify appropriate investments to improve plant resilience.

The tool consists of a number of questions across 14 categories—including critical business services, people and risk management—and the various elements are rated using a scale of 0 through to 5.

The business context is crucial when analyzing the risk score. How a manufacturer uses the results is not prescriptive—they merely provide a guide for decision-makers to determine what course of action is needed. The tool can be re-used at regular intervals to measure the progress towards a company’s resilience goals.


When using the tool, companies benefit from having a standard approach to assessing a manufacturing plant’s digital resilience. This can save time in pinpointing more quickly the improvements needed and help ensure that money is spent in the best areas to protect the plant.

The tool also helps engage the stakeholders involved in delivering resilience. For example, the IT and Operational Technology teams often operate in isolation, which can result in conflict between their respective approaches. Feedback from companies already using the tool has shown that it helped the different teams to share each other’s views and jointly develop an agreed action plan.

Explaining the significance of this new approach, Mark Shreffler, Architecture Advisor, Manufacturing and Quality, Information & Digital Solutions at Eli Lilly, said: “The Digital Plant Resilience Assessment Tool will allow us to evaluate our plants across a broad array of resilience dimensions, identify areas of relative risk and opportunity and, most importantly, to provide input to strategic conversations with our manufacturing leadership.”

Next steps

Following the completion of the initial rollout, the tool is now available for download. A formal review is planned for March 2020 to discover any extra lessons learned and find ways to develop the tool further.

For more information about the tool, contact Tim Horton at

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