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Innovative Thinking

Smart Factory Security

Premier Template (17)Within a true Digital Factory, manufacturers have access to a variety of data sources, usually in real-time, spanning from commercial operations to the supply-demand chain. Accessibility to this data is vital for a factory to achieve goals of productivity and efficiency associated with Internet of Things implementations.

Cybersecurity has always been a major concern, even before the days of industrial automation. Today, the threat has greatly amplified due to the inherent interconnection between various data sources and the rampant implementations of Wide Area Networks within factories.

So how can a plant ensure peak performance while making sure malicious attempts to thwart production remain sidelined?

Physical Security

This is Cybersecurity 101. While firewalls and antivirus software do a great job at keeping attackers at bay remotely, lax physical security can allow hackers to bypass all these and wreak havoc. In automatedplants for instance that have little human presence, an intruder can do immeasurable and possibly irrecoverable damage to the ongoing processes.

One way through which physical security can be beefed up is the use of surveillance techniques including monitoring tools and sensors. These systems would add a layer of security on top of live video feeds. Doors or vital equipment can be fitted with anti-tampering locks that would give off silent alarms and alert the designated personnel. Access control can be layered, ensuring that one employee cannot access or modify the contents of a particular equipment.

Risk Management Processes

Coming up with risk management processes is also quite necessary. Designing proactive and reactive strategies, i.e. preventing access to networks through firewalls, implementing advanced authentication and active monitoring are all vital steps. In the event of a breach, a sequence of steps should kick off, e.g. locking down doors, shutting down critical equipment, etc. to contain the damage.

In order for such systems to work, employees and operators would have to be given necessary training.

Lock Down Industrial Control Systems

An ICS usually interacts with the physical world, with the information collected being relayed to different machines. Due to this, an ICS should have foolproof security. Ransomware is the most common type of attack that usually targets Industrial Control Systems putting a plant out of use for good, severing data connections and erasing databases if the demands of the attacker aren’t met.

The NIST SP800-82, IEC 62443 and ISA-00 sets off standards to improve a system’s hardness against such attacks.

Manage IoT Devices and Data Access

Industrial Internet has already found implementations in various industries that would increase the number of connected devices. Unfortunately, due to the nascent state the technology is in, there are very few regulations that ensure that it is protected. For instance, sensors and pumps that would be connected to a central system cannot be secured through conventional means. Organizations would have to shift to Public Key Infrastructure, bringing in device certificates in order to secure communication channels.

More on this can be found here.

Device Profiling

Bring Your Own Device is becoming part of workplace culture today. While it does create ease of use, it also brings in a number of security risks. By bringing their own tablets, mobile phones, etc. into the workplace, companies can save significant cash, but it can become extremely difficult for IT teams to ensure security of assets.

Device profiling allows connected devices to be monitored, and if necessary authentication actions to be taken place. For example, if an employee is terminated, his/her access rights may still be existent, posing a grave risk to the organization. Instead, through installation of software/apps on the users’ device, local data can be encrypted while access can be removed by the


security team with a push of a button.

This can be combined with the concept of restricting access, allowing certain users to work on specific assets, for limited time-frames. This would also prevent inadvertent damage by an otherwise performing employee.

Interested in learning more? Visit our website www.premierautomation.com, or talk to one of our specialists today.

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