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Agri-Business and Cybersecurity 

Technological advancements in agriculture have had incredible impacts on the industry. From a business and public health perspective, agri-tech has boosted productivity, profitability and food safety, enhanced traceability and quality control and increased precision input of antibiotics and fertilizers. There are environmental benefits as well, such as reducing emissions, waste and land disturbances. 

While developments in agri-tech have numerous exciting benefits, with technological progress comes increased risk of cyber threats including phishing campaigns and ransomware attacks. Phishing campaigns are commonly spread via malicious links sent through email. These links can open the door to an organization’s confidential information and/or can be used as a vehicle to launch a ransomware attack. These types of cyber threats can have significant economic impacts on individual farm businesses as well as impact food supply and animal health and welfare. 

Due to the cyber security risks associated with agri-tech, it is crucial to implement risk management measures to protect your organization and by extension, the general public. Below are some risk management tips to consider: 

  • Update your organization’s software and hardware on a regular basis; 
  • Be careful about the information you share on social media; 
  • Engage IT service providers to get technical help and to stay informed about new threats and how to manage them; and 
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance. 

Although some cyber attacks target large-scale operations, smaller-scale farms also need to be aware of the risks that are present in their operations. Perhaps a family farm is unlikely to be the target of a sophisticated cybercriminal group – however, a smaller operation falling victim to a cyber attack could have catastrophic implications for the business due to the fact that it is less likely to have effective mitigation measures in place. For smaller-scale operations, things like training staff on cybersecurity awareness and training are absolutely crucial, as is limiting access to critical infrastructure. 

With the assistance of a lawyer, organizations should also consider creating a cyber incident response plan which can prepare a business on how to respond to cyber-attacks, data breaches or other information security incidents. A quick response is crucial when faced with a security breach and an incident response plan will help efficiently delegate which person is responsible for what task, thus limiting your overall risk exposure. 

This article was written by Business and Real Estate Lawyer Lauren Sigouin. If you require assistance with a business or real estate matter or wish to speak to a lawyer at McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP, please call (519) 672-5666

Sep 14, 2022