The integration of digital technologies has revolutionized the agriculture industry. This digital shift promises increased efficiency, yet it also introduces a new realm of challenges, notably in cybersecurity.  

Have you thought through how you would operate if you had no computer systems?

Farmers, particularly those running small to medium-sized operations, have always shown adaptability and ingenuity in the face of challenges. Among these challenges, ransomware attacks on computer systems have emerged as a predominant threat. Such attacks not only halt production but can also lead to significant financial losses, underscoring the need for robust security measures. 

While small to medium-sized farms might perceive themselves as unlikely targets, the reality is that cybercriminals are casting wide nets, indiscriminately ensnaring whoever falls within their reach. It’s a reminder that in today’s interconnected environment, no operation is too small to be considered at risk. 

Ransomware: A Prime Cyber Threat to Agriculture 

Ransomware attacks, where malicious software encrypts files on a device or network until a ransom is paid, have become alarmingly common. For farmers, an attack can mean the loss of critical data, from operational records to financial information, crippling their ability to work and manage their farms effectively. Such incidents not only result in immediate financial strain but also pose long-term challenges in restoring operations and regaining lost data. 

Strategies for Farmers to Protect Against Ransomware 

Farmers must be proactive in adopting cybersecurity measures, seek collaborative solutions and advocate for supportive practices that enhance the resilience of the agricultural sector against cyber threats.  

  • Enhanced Cybersecurity Infrastructure: Farmers should invest in robust cybersecurity infrastructure that includes firewalls, antivirus software and secure Wi-Fi networks. Regular updates and patches for all software help guard against the latest threats. Employing dedicated cybersecurity specialists or services can offer tailored defense mechanisms and rapid response capabilities. 
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implementing MFA provides an additional layer of security, ensuring that even if passwords are compromised, unauthorized access to critical systems and data can still be prevented. MFA should be a standard practice for accessing sensitive information and control systems. 
  • Data Encryption: Encrypting data both in transit and at rest adds a crucial barrier against unauthorized access. Encryption can protect sensitive information such as farm operational data, financial records and personal information of the workforce. 
  • Regular Security Audits and Risk Assessments: Conducting periodic audits of the cybersecurity measures in place helps identify vulnerabilities. Risk assessments can guide farmers on where to allocate resources most effectively to protect against cyber threats. 
  • Incident Response Planning: Having a well-defined incident response plan allows farmers to react swiftly in the event of a cyberattack, minimizing damage and restoring operations more quickly. This plan should include steps for isolating affected systems, communicating with stakeholders and reporting the incident to relevant authorities. 
  • Utilize Resources: Many governments and industry associations offer resources, tools and funding to help small-mid size agricultural operations bolster their cybersecurity. Taking advantage of these resources can provide access to expertise and technologies that might otherwise be out of reach. 

Leveraging Cloud Security with AgriBuilder 

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by the agricultural sector, we strongly advocate for the migration to cloud-based solutions like AgriBuilder. AgriBuilder offers a robust platform tailored for agricultural needs, providing several key advantages: 

  • Enhanced Security: Hosted in the cloud, AgriBuilder benefits from high-level security measures that far exceed those typically available in on-premise systems. This includes continuous monitoring, advanced encryption and regular updates to safeguard against the latest threats. 
  • Accessibility and Resilience: Cloud-based systems ensure data is accessible anytime, from anywhere, granting farmers flexibility and continuity even in the face of cyber-attacks. This accessibility is critical for maintaining operations during unexpected disruptions. 
  • Simplified IT Management: By migrating to AgriBuilder, farmers can reduce the complexity of their IT infrastructure. The platform’s dedicated team manages security, allowing farmers to focus more on their core agricultural activities rather than on IT security concerns. 

Case Study: Using Xero and Figured to help transform a Kansas family farm


Farmers are encouraged to view cybersecurity not as a burdensome cost but as an investment in their farm’s resilience and long-term success. It’s about making smart, strategic choices that protect your livelihoods and the food supply chain. If you want to discuss how to protect your farm, contact an Adams Brown tech advisor.