Keeping One Step Ahead – Consistent Cybersecurity for your Business

What’s the best way to provide consistent security, at scale, at all times throughout your business? Nick Burrows explains how the successful path to Industry 4.0 is undoubtedly through cybersecurity.

Industrial manufacturing is increasingly at a tipping point as organisations attempt to embrace Industry 4.0. It’s no longer a maybe – it’s about when and how. And the biggest challenges include how do I change decades of people, process, policies and technology to achieve this change? Manufacturing has never faced such a mountain to climb, and a need to achieve it within a very short period of time to ensure survival. Industrial manufacturing is all about up-time, safety, keeping plants running and people safe. It’s about supply chain integration and, increasingly, it’s about modernising the factory floor with sensors, wireless technologies, analytics and machine learning that reduces costs and keeps manufacturing relevant to today’s world.

Functionality and production efficiency

While functionality and production efficiency are understandably seen as having a higher priority than cybersecurity, no company should attempt the move to Industry 4.0 without focusing on cybersecurity as a vital component in every decision and process. Cyber-attacks increasingly target not just IT systems, but also critical operational technologies (OT) – sensors, devices and software used in manufacturing operations. The convergence of these systems means that attacks against either IT or OT systems (or both) have the potential to ruin production efficiency and cause significant financial impact. A recent report by the Ponemon Institute suggests that the average cost of a successful cyber-attack is more than US$5m. As threats continue to evolve, the industry is being forced to change and manufacturing needs to keep a step ahead.

Cybersecurity – image courtesy of Rutgers

Image Courtesy of Rutgers

How should industrial manufacturers respond?  Several starting points are:

• Operational Technology (OT) and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) are just as critical as Information Technology (IT) in cybersecurity…