Single Sign-On and why your organization needs it!

Single Sign-On (SSO) is a session and user authentication service where one set of credentials – typically a username and password – can be used by an organization’s users to access multiple apps. 

SSO delivers tighter control for admins, helping to keep an organization’s data more secure by providing access only to users who really need it. At the same time, it makes operations more secure at the user level too – when users don’t need to remember a large number of credentials, they would be more willing to use stronger passwords.

Besides its inherent security, SSO also simplifies provisioning and de-provisioning, which in effect also increases security by preventing unauthorized access to apps and data.

How secure is your SSO?

Some misconceptions also exist regarding SSO – key among them is that SSO leads to an increased security risk, almost like putting all your eggs in one basket. After all, with one system controlling access across all of an organization’s applications, what if that single system is compromised?

It is therefore important to understand that SSO functions through a system of secure tokens which do not carry any sensitive data, making it a very safe proposition. We’ll explore exactly how this works, and how these tokens ensure security, later in this article.

What are SSO tokens and how do they work?

SSO tokens are tiny sets of digitally signed structured information to ensure mutual trust between parties.

It’s like an exclusive club with select invitees, where guards at the entrance check, approve, and stamp each guest’s hand. Event staff will know the exact shape and color of the stamp used and therefore authenticate the entry. Similarly, in the digital world, the service and identity providers communicate via tokens.

Tokens don’t include sensitive data like user’s password or biometric information, ensuring that any interception or attack on the tokens does not reveal the information. The same token can be used to add on new services to the same SSO platform as well. It facilitates identity verification separately from other cloud services, making SSO possible.

Data Security through SSO

SSO improves enterprise security as it reduces the number of attack surfaces because users only log in once each day and only use one set of credentials. 

It also significantly reduces the possibilities of password-related hacks. With SSO, users only need to remember one password for all their applications. So, they are more likely to create complex and hard-to-guess passwords. They are also less likely to reuse passwords or write them down.

Another reason SSO is popular among enterprises is that it allows scaling up. Both access to new apps and addition of new people can be managed without sacrificing security, because identity and access management are already addressed. And rapid provisioning and deprovisioning without needing to worry about human error means more reliable and secure access management.

For added security, SSO can also be paired with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), where additional factors of authentication are required beyond just the user’s password, to reconfirm the identity of the user.

Akku incorporates robust and secure token-based SSO functionality, helping to deliver greater security and efficiency. Contact us today for more information.

Business from anywhere: IAM as a vital piece of the Business Continuity puzzle

COVID-19 was a shock to the global economy. The pandemic aside, the enforced and voluntary closure of offices has dramatically changed the way businesses work. Overnight, employees were instructed to work from home, in many cases indefinitely. There are still tens of thousands of organizations around the world who are still unsure of when, if ever, they will resume a traditional office-oriented working environment.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) challenges for enterprises

Even more than the longevity of office closure however, it was the suddenness with which it hit that was so disruptive. For businesses without a BCP to address such an eventuality, it took many painful weeks or more before they could resume operations.

When remote operations did begin, many businesses – especially in domains involving sensitive data, such as healthcare and BFSI – faced concerns and scrutiny from both their customers and regulatory authorities. With large workforces working from home, data and application security became a genuine worry.

As you prepare for the next major global disruption, here’s how an Identity & Access Management (IAM) solution like Akku could play an important role in keeping your business running in a work-from-anywhere world.

Remote identity management with Active Directory

A majority of global enterprises use on-prem Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to manage user identities across their organization. It’s an effective solution as long as all users are working from the same premises. When they are not, however, a cloud-based identity management solution is essential.

As a robust IAM solution, Akku can integrate with your on-premise Active Directory through a secure tunnel – by doing this, all the user credentials and identity stored on your AD can be accessed by your IAM from anywhere. This allows you to continue to use your familiar AD for identity management, while also eliminating the need to take up a complex and expensive migration of your identity management system to the cloud.

Once your IAM enables access to your user identities from your AD from any location, you can then progress to the Access Management functionality of the IAM platform, to grant due access to all necessary assets (files, platforms and applications) to only the specific users who require it.

Security during remote access

A major concern with the work-from-anywhere environment is security. To preserve the sanctity of your assets, you need to control the users accessing them, and ensure secure access for authorized users. Two key ways to achieve this are through device-based restrictions and multi-factor authentication.

By restricting asset access to only registered or company-owned devices, you ensure that the organization’s apps and data are not impacted by any malware or security vulnerabilities that may exist on non-authorized devices. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) reconfirms the identity of the user accessing the company’s digital assets by additional means beyond a password – such as time-based OTPs or push notifications, for instance.

Through implementation of an IAM solution along with increasing the security of your cloud assets, you can also manage highly granular access control. Each individual user can be granted access to only the files, platforms and software that they require, with easy provisioning and deprovisioning to quickly and reliably provide and revoke access.

Real-world benefits during disruptions

Through a straightforward implementation of Akku that integrates with your Active Directory and acts as the identity provider to all of your applications, you are geared up to manage remote working at a moment’s notice. 

In a world of increasing uncertainty, this means business continuity, with uninterrupted, secure and efficient operations through any circumstances that may arise.

COVID-19 was a once in a century phenomenon, but large-scale disruptive events are not that uncommon. Allow us to help you create your BCP to address any eventuality by setting up Akku to enable a seamless and secure work-from-anywhere operations. Contact our team of experts to get started.

Burn down the Firewall! The Future is Device-level Security

Many enterprises have built their cybersecurity around their firewalls. But increasingly, the firewall is losing favor in modern enterprises with apps and data on the cloud being accessed from devices and networks anywhere in the world. 

The traditional cybersecurity tool is a network security device that monitors traffic to or from the network. It allows or restricts traffic based on a defined set of security rules.

Legacy firewalls: Blurring boundaries

The issue with this is that firewalls do not go far enough in securing your systems. By the nature of their operation, firewalls create boundaries around your network. Today, with enterprises using many interlinked networks, multiple IPs and cloud computing, boundaries are fading. As a result, firewalls are less effective.

Based on a recent study, businesses are increasingly mistrustful of firewalls. Over 60 percent of respondents stated that: (1) their legacy firewalls don’t prevent cyberattacks against critical business and cloud-based applications; (2) their legacy firewalls cannot contain a breach of their organization’s data center perimeter; and (3) their legacy firewalls do not enable enterprise-wide Zero Trust.

As Gartner puts it, Zero Trust is “useful as a shorthand way of describing an approach where implicit trust is removed from all computing infrastructure”.

In addition, legacy firewalls impact organization flexibility and speed to a large extent. It is hard to update security rules on the firewall, and the study found that on average, enterprises take as much as three weeks to update firewall rules to accommodate any update needed. This can have a crushing security impact. They also limit access control, with policies that are often not sufficiently granular.

For all these reasons, legacy firewalls are increasingly falling into disfavor with enterprises of all sizes.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

A traditional firewall stands between your network and a non-trusted network (for example, the Internet). However, cloud data and apps are hosted on the Internet and as a result, legacy firewalls are not very good at protecting apps and data on the cloud.

Just like a traditional firewall protects the trusted network against attacks, a CASB protects cloud assets (applications, data, platforms and infrastructure) against cyberattack. They act as a foundational cybersecurity tool and resolve many of the issues associated with legacy firewalls.

A cloud-hosted or on-premises software, a CASB acts as an intermediary between users and cloud service providers, and can secure SaaS, PaaS or IaaS environments. It provides visibility into application access, maintains logs of activity, and allows enterprises to modify and create policies that suit cloud infrastructure and assets. A good CASB brings together key elements of privilege access management (PAM), identity and access management (IAM) and identity governance and administration (IGA).

Identity and Access Management solution (IAM)

As many as 90 percent of businesses believe that an IAM is indispensable to their cybersecurity plans. An IAM offers device-level security. This helps plug the gaps left by legacy and CASBs. Through IAMs, enterprises can provide granular access control, with unique rules defined for each user and class of user.

IAM offers comprehensive password management support, in the form of password policy management and single sign-on (SSO) SSO allows users to create and remember just one set of credentials for a whole suite of applications. This reduces risk of password loss and noting the password in unsafe locations. With password policy management, businesses can define rules to create strong, secure passwords that are less prone to cracking.

User-friendly provisioning and deprovisioning makes errors less likely. IT administrators find it easier to remember to revoke access when employees leave the organization when deprovisioning can be done with a single click. This also secures cloud apps against unauthorized access.

In a very real way, identity is the new firewall. When the device is secure against unauthorized logins, business-critical apps and data are as well, whether housed on-premises or on the cloud. Secure identity and access with an IAM you trust – like Akku, the premier IAM. Contact our experts today to discuss how to get started.

6 Password Policy Management Best Practices for a more secure IT environment

Remote working has impacted the world of cybersecurity in multiple ways. Remote workers are often not protected by enterprise-level security and so are more prone to cyberattack. The FBI reported a 300% increase in cybercrimes since the pandemic began, and remote work has increased the average cost of a data breach substantially. 

Employees working from home are also distracted – 

“47% of remote workers cited distraction as the reason for falling for a cyberattack.”

In other words, if you do not have a plan in place to mitigate these risks, you are setting yourself up for a potentially devastating cybersecurity breach.

One simple way to protect your organization from breaches is to apply a strong password policy at all levels of the organization, and enforce it by implementing a secure password policy management solution (PPM).

Here are some password policy best practices you may find useful.

1. Increase password length and strength

Brute force attacks try all possible combinations of characters to arrive at the password. A 6 string password with only upper or lower case letters can be cracked in 8 seconds. An 18 character password with upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols can take 1 quintillion years to crack! By adding a special character, combining both upper and lower case letters or adding numbers, encryption can be much more secure.

Image Credit: ghacks.net

The full strength of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) comes to bear when users create passwords of 32 characters for 128-bit encryption and 64 characters for 256-bit encryption. However, passwords of around 10 characters are strong enough for most applications.

2. Simplify as much as possible

A password made of only numbers has 10 options for each character in the string, one made of numbers and letters has 36 options, and if you include special characters that adds another 32 possible characters for each spot in the string. This makes it more challenging for brute force attacks to be successful. Complexity in terms of the kind of characters that can be used in the password is, therefore, an advantage.

However, do not mandate the usage of these different kinds of characters. This can lead to frustration and reuse of the same password with minor character substitutions (P@ssword or Passw0rd, for example). This is especially the case when the policy also demands frequent changes of password. If the old password is compromised, such minor variations will be relatively easy to guess, too.

To mitigate this risk, don’t mandate the use of special characters and reduce the frequency of mandatory password reset to approximately once a year. A long password using only lowercase letters is more secure than a short one which is a variant of an older password.

3. Do not allow password reuse

Do not allow reuse of earlier passwords during periodic password reset to increase security. Train your staff not to use minor variations of their earlier passwords, and instead look for completely different passwords.

Also train staff on the risks of reusing passwords across home and work accounts. Password reuse results in a huge surge in credential stuffing attacks. If any service is compromised and your password and username are stolen, hackers could use the same credentials to try and hack your other accounts. Each account must therefore use unique credentials to maintain security.

4. Reinforce passwords using multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication uses a combination of things you know, such as a password or PIN; things you have, such as a badge or smartphone; and things you are, such as biometric data, to authenticate your right to access a particular system, data or application.

Enabling MFA ensures that even if a password is stolen, the system is not compromised.

5. Use a secure password manager

Many users find it difficult to remember their passwords for multiple online services, and so either use a single password for all, or, worse, save all their passwords to an unreliable password manager. 

If you do opt for a password manager, choose one that is highly secure, in order to mitigate the risk involved. Most IAM solutions will include a password manager or, with Single Sign-on, completely do away with the need for multiple passwords. A single secure password is enough to log on to your IAM and access your applications and data.

6. Use an IAM application for Password Policy Management (PPM)

It’s one thing to lay down rules for password policy across the organization. It’s quite another to enforce the policy. An Identity Access Management (IAM) application can help you ensure that all your users consistently comply with a high standard of security while setting their passwords, without the need for a separate password policy enforcement tool.

Administrators can customize and define password policy for all users in the organization. You can also specify upon whom the policy should be enforced, based on the users’ access level. Password policies can of course also be defined as blanket rules.

A common perception is that the risks associated with breached passwords do not apply to your organization as you have secure systems. But your organization’s data security is only as strong as the weakest password of your users. In 2020, 770 million credential stuffing attacks occurred. That means that if your employee’s personal passwords are compromised, and they have reused the same password at work, your data is compromised too. Worse, 17% of all sensitive files are accessible to all employees, and about 60% of companies have over 500 accounts with non-expiring passwords.

Implementing a robust Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution brings you several steps closer to protecting your user credentials and corporate data. Worldwide, cybercrime costs will hit $6 trillion annually this year. Don’t let your organization succumb to a Data breach! With these simple steps, you can stay safe with multiple layers of data protection. Allow our team at Akku to help you secure your systems.

Identity and Access Management in the age of Bimodal IT

An important new practice that has emerged over the past few years in IT management is Bimodal IT, defined by Gartner as the practice of managing two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on predictability; the other on exploration.

While the application of the Bimodal concept within an enterprise has been the subject of much discussion, employing these two modes of management in the context of Identity and Access Management has not.

Here’s our take on how the Bimodal concept fits into our scheme of things as an Identity and Access Management solution provider.

Mode 1

By the standard definition of Bimodal IT, the focus of Mode 1 is on ensuring that existing applications and business functions are kept running smoothly. Therefore, Mode 1 clearly prioritizes stability over innovation.

In the context of IAM, businesses are becoming increasingly complex in the digital age, with touchpoints and interactions with increasingly large numbers of people or users, both within and outside the organization. 

Managing this change requires IAMs to undertake a gradual evolution towards becoming simpler and more scalable. A good example of this would be the need to build in the ability to automate decision-making for setting access rules and permissions based on dynamically collected information on users, from multiple sources.

This evolutionary approach is important to ensure continued forward movement, embracing new practices and technologies, while continuing to place primary emphasis on seamless operations.

Mode 2

Mode 2 in Bimodal IT, on the other hand, places its focus squarely on innovation. In Mode 2, the priority is to undertake larger, but less certain, leaps forward, to enable the existence of entirely new business processes and approaches. 

To look at the Identity and Access Management universe, in Mode 2, the mandate would be to build the next, future-ready new IAM platform. This could involve the development of an all-new, simpler and more scalable architecture from scratch, or incorporating increased agility to adapt to a fast evolving environment, for example.

Mode 2 involves planning and building for scenarios and use-cases that go beyond what conventional thinking can conceive of, to drive the next big change. But with this focus on innovation comes a need to accept some risk as well.

Akku is an enterprise IAM solution, and our journey to get here has involved adopting different facets of Bimodal IT. This process has helped us build a platform that delivers solutions to a range of use-cases that few others can match, and to do it reliably and seamlessly. Talk to us today to see how Akku could enable identity and access management, and more, at your organization.

IAM as the Solution to Healthcare Sector Challenges

Healthcare organizations are unique in the volume and sensitivity of information that they hold. Reports say that healthcare is among the 5 most cyber-attacked industries over the past 5 years. 

The 2020 Breach Barometer published by Protenus reports that in 2019, more than 41 million patient records were breached, and around 40% of the respondents surveyed in Europe and the U.S. were concerned hackers would breach their digital data.

The importance of bolstering cloud security in such an environment is therefore vital, and deploying an Identity and Access Management (IAM) system can play an important role in this process.

Here is a look at some of the key challenges facing the healthcare sector, and how an IAM could help to overcome them.

#Challenge 1: Enabling easy but secure access

Very often, breaches of patient data occur due to a lack of caution on the part of patients themselves, with the use of easily compromised passwords. This applies equally to healthcare providers too, with the need to access multiple applications, and therefore, the need to memorize multiple passwords.

The IAM Solution: 

Enforcing a strong password policy can help ensure that patients and providers alike set strong passwords that are more difficult to breach. Additionally, by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA), an additional layer of security is added above the password. And to make things easier for providers, bringing all applications onto a single platform to provide them with a single point of access means that just one set of credentials is all that they need to remember.

# Challenge 2: Compliance with regulations

Healthcare is a highly monitored industry and there are certain established regulations to follow. For instance, in the USA you have the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as newer industry-specific regulations like Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS), for which compliance is non-negotiable.

These newer regulations call for adherence to certain prescribed standards of data security along with detailed audit capabilities.

The IAM Solution:

With an appropriate IAM solution, compliance requirements can be largely met through strong data encryption, implementing standards-compliant password policies across users, providing only the minimum necessary access to users, and comprehensive logging of every user action across applications and data points.

# Challenge 3: Driving digital transformation

COVID-19 has accelerated the speed of digital transformation, with the healthcare sector right at the center of the revolution. Telemedicine, Patient Access Management, and a host of other new requirements, each need control over a number of identities and access entitlements. 

The healthcare industry is under growing pressure to adapt to changing business models and technology innovation, as there is an ever-increasing need to protect access to sensitive data.

The IAM Solution:

With features like single sign-on, IAM offers an integrated approach to patient care, enforcing security and compliance capabilities to increase efficiency. In order to support the new digital-first world of healthcare, therefore, IAM has become a necessity rather than an add-on.

Clearly, IAM is the need of the hour in the healthcare industry. And Akku, the powerful and flexible enterprise cloud control solution created by CloudNow helps to facilitate identity and access management across your healthcare enterprise’s cloud environment. Talk to us today to discuss how Akku may be able to help with your compliance requirements.

Is dependence on AD holding back your provisioning & deprovisioning?

Active Directory is quite simply the most popular identity management solution for enterprises in the world. An incredible ~90% of the Global Fortune 1000 companies use Active Directory as their primary method of authentication! 

Does your organization, like so many others, manage user identity with Active Directory (AD) too? If so, we’re guessing you have probably run into trouble with provisioning and deprovisioning for users across your environment. AD is great for identity management, but it was never built to act as a single sign-on (SSO) platform.

Challenges with AD for Provisioning & Deprovisioning

What this means is that either provisioning and deprovisioning would need to be performed for each application and user individually, or else, for Active Directory to be used to control access and permissions, each application would need to be integrated with AD separately. 

With the average enterprise running 1295 cloud-based applications, both these options seem like pretty poor choices. The former option is a tremendous drain on productivity for both admins and users, while the latter presents a host of complexities and costs to integrate AD with each of your apps.

IAM to the rescue!

So how do you get over these challenges? The answer lies in deploying an Identity & Access Management (IAM) solution that includes single sign-on (SSO) functionality.

Essentially, the IAM would act as an intermediate layer between your AD and your applications. So the IAM solution would need to integrate with Active Directory on the one side, and with all of your organization’s applications on the other. 

Through integration with your applications, the IAM can bring them all onto a single common platform and act as the Identity Provider (IdP) across your environment. Since most modern IAM solutions use SAML-based integrations with applications, these integrations are far less complex and expensive to implement than directly integrating AD to each application.

And secondly, integrating the IAM with AD would allow you to continue to manage identity – and now access permissions too – on AD itself.

Benefits of an IAM integrated with AD

At the end of this process, you would be able to control identity and access across your environment on Active Directory, giving you a familiar interface and process with enhanced functionality. 

Single-point control for your admins, and single-point access for your users, mean simple, fast provisioning and deprovisioning for IT and HR teams, saving them a tremendous amount of time and effort. 

Not to mention easy access to all permitted applications for users, helping to make them more productive too.

Akku is a powerful Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution by CloudNow that is built to play well with Active Directory, and also to integrate seamlessly with virtually any of your business applications. Call us today to see how Akku could enhance productivity and security at your organization!

The What, Why, and How of Deprovisioning

What’s deprovisioning?

Simply put, deprovisioning is the opposite of provisioning. While provisioning is carried out when an employee joins the organization, deprovisioning needs to be carried out when an employee exits. 

Deprovisioning involves revoking the user’s access to the organization’s data, applications and devices. It is the final stage of the corporate user lifecycle that begins with on-boarding and provisioning.

Why is it important?

Provisioning plays an important role in an organization’s productivity by getting new users the access they require to perform their role in the company. 

Deprovisioning, on the other hand, plays a critical role in security and compliance. When an employee moves on, it is vital that they no longer have access to the organization’s data or applications, because this would leave the door open to misuse. 

The consequences can range from data theft to malware insertion, leaks of confidential information to compliance violations. Each of these can have a major negative impact on the company’s finances as well as reputation.

How does it work?

Most organizations make use of multiple applications in their operations. Manually remembering to revoke access from a user when they exit the company can therefore be tedious, time consuming, and can easily result in human error as well.

A key requirement for an efficient and effective provisioning and deprovisioning process, therefore, is to bring control over access to all of the organization’s applications and data onto a single platform. This is typically achieved through the use of a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution – which is typically one of the major components of an Identity and Access Management solution.

With an SSO in place, the company’s admins can exercise control over user access from a single place, making the process fast, accurate and convenient. By removing the user’s account in one centralized dashboard, their access to all applications and data is then automatically revoked.

Akku is an enterprise identity and access management solution by CloudNow that helps companies manage the corporate user lifecycle more efficiently – from provisioning all the way to deprovisioning. Talk to us today to see how Akku could help your business address security and compliance issues arising from sub-optimal deprovisioning processes.

The Road Ahead: Emerging Trends in the Technology Sector

With each passing year, newer technologies emerge and companies of all sizes adopt them to keep up the competitive, ever-changing business landscape. According to a study by Gartner, the technology roadmap for 2020-2022 is said to be largely based on three major themes – remote work, productivity, and operations.

Here are five major trends expected to shape the future of technology in mid-sized enterprises in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Modernizing network infrastructure 

With the drastic rise in the remote work culture, thanks to the pandemic, mid-sized enterprises are busy equipping themselves better to embrace it in the long term. Some of the major investments in this area include container networking and virtual extensible local area network (VXLAN).

Small and mid-sized enterprises may leverage this opportunity to make work-from-home more mainstream in order to bring down long-term logistical and maintenance costs.

Facilitating secure remote access

In a bid to evolve traditional remote access and VPNs and plug in any related risks of using them while working from home, companies are also seriously considering investments in secured access service edge (SASE) and other cloud-based secure edge technologies.

What’s more, they are also gearing up to incorporate more edge technologies in the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR), and so on.

Democratizing of tasks

With the aim to improve speed and agility across business teams, enterprises are deploying citizen integrator tools. to bring data and applications together.

The emphasis will be on deploying no-code or low-code applications that are user-friendly and will promote “citizen development”.

Investing in automation tools and AI

In order to enhance employee productivity and streamline product/project delivery, more and more enterprises are also adopting automation tools for workload automation, event correlation, and so on.

A number of AI technologies that facilitate natural language processing and chatbots are also in the pipeline, although not until a year or so later. 

Adopting monitoring technologies

With the expansion of the virtual workplace, manual monitoring of employees and tasks is becoming obsolete. And with that, a slew of different monitoring tools for Digital experience monitoring (DEM) and application performance monitoring (APM) have hit the market.

Enterprise-wide workplace analytics solutions are also in the offing for a majority (80%) of mid-sized enterprises.

Redesigning security practices

With virtualized firewalls, software-defined security, and firewall-as-a-service solutions, mid-sized enterprises are simplifying the provisioning of security services at par with their larger counterparts.

They are also centralizing the governance of policies to support mixed workloads, keeping in mind the future of work.

Revamping front-end and back-end operations

With more focus on newer front-end operation technologies, enterprises are strengthening their cloud infrastructure and application development processes by deploying serverless computing, microservices, and OS containers.

At the same time, legacy back-end infrastructure, if any, is also being modernized. In this way, they are making the move towards low-risk, high-value investments that also minimize the time and effort needed for infrastructure management.

Finding it difficult to keep up with evolving trends? CloudNow Technologies has a solution that includes all that your business needs for secure remote working, seamless operations, and enhanced productivity in the new normal. It also comes equipped to evolve with your business as it grows. Get in touch with us to know more!

4+1 WAYS THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY IS NAVIGATING THE NEW NORMAL


The manufacturing industry took a big hit at the start of the pandemic-imposed lockdown, mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, most manufacturing units require workers to be on-site and remote working was not an option, unlike certain other sectors. This meant that manufacturing came to a complete stop, at least until they were allowed to reopen with several regulations in late April. Secondly, in many manufacturing sectors, the demand went down due to the slowing down of overall economic activity.

While times have continued to be challenging over the past months, here’s how manufacturing companies are changing their approach to cope with the new normal:

Adopting automation

Before the pandemic, most manufacturing companies relied heavily on manual activities and intervention at every step of the manufacturing and distribution process. Today, wherever possible, companies are minimizing manual intervention to enable social distancing and create safer workspaces for employees and workers.

Automation and other digital solutions that help workers collaborate better also improve the speed of manufacturing, making up for months of lost time, work, and revenue. What’s more, automation can also improve production efficiency by 3-5% and increase the global manufacturing output by 1.3 trillion USD.

Rethinking the supply chain

A smooth and seamless supply chain is crucial to the success of a manufacturing company as it prevents bottlenecks, prevents the accumulation of manufactured goods, and reaches customers/end-users without delay. All of this, unfortunately, were affected during the pandemic.

To tackle this issue, manufacturing companies are building more avenues through which their goods can reach their end-users. For example, companies like Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, and Kraft Heinz have introduced direct-to-consumer sites, to shorten or even eliminate the long supply chain.

Undertaking contract manufacturing

With import and export being severely affected and international transport still limited post the COVID-19 outbreak, how are manufacturing companies delivering their products across borders? Through increased collaborative efforts within the industry!

Many international/overseas manufacturers have taken to local contract manufacturing to make sure their customers continue to receive products from the brands they prefer. Contract manufacturing is also helping some manufacturers diversify their company’s product offerings during this time, without having to make expensive investments. Here is an example from the pharma manufacturing sector.

Addressing immediate needs

The manufacturing industry thrives on a fine balance between demand and supply. During the COVID-19 pandemic, while supply was temporarily affected by movement restrictions, demand underwent a paradigm shift.

People were no longer buying cars – they had nowhere to go. Instead, as healthcare facilities struggled to accommodate the growing number of COVID-19 cases, the demand for ventilators and PPE shot up! Automotive companies were quick to identify the need and shift gears to supply exactly what was in demand. That’s not all – even beauty brands began making hand sanitizers! In this way, several companies have stayed profitable by repurposing existing manufacturing facilities to produce products that are in high demand or experiencing shortages during this time.

Staying innovative

Necessity is the mother of invention, but innovation is what will keep manufacturing companies thrive in the new normal!

If you are in the manufacturing industry, we have just the right tools to help you streamline your operations, so you can keep innovating without worries! Talk to us about our Business Continuity & Operational Resilience (BCOR) solution today.