The Importance of Protecting your Industrial Network against Cyber Vulnerability

By Chet Namboodri, managing director, Global Enterprise Business, Manufacturing Vertical, Cisco
Manufacturing is going through major changes, similar to what has happened in the health care and education areas , thanks to all the connection to the the Internet of Everything (IoE).
By 2020, it is projected that 50 million devices will be talking on the the Internet, which includes much of the devices in factory automation.

“Smart” factories where equipment and machinery intercommunicate, such as fleet vehicles such as trucks and forklifts with sensors that monitor their movements, and even wireless inventory tracking devices are all in play at manufacturers across the globe.
In addition, manufacturers are getting ready for a new generation of machine-to-machine (M2M) and person-to-machine (P2M) systems, which include mobile applications and cloud-based services that will improve efficiency and innovation throughout the process.
All of these connected “things” and processes allow manufacturers to benefit and address challenges that more traditional models and operating practices were not able to offer. This is especially true as IT and operations technology (OT) become more integrated in The Connected Enterprise and vast data streams are acquired, processed and transmitted. However, it’s these very streams of data and interconnectedness that are putting industry at risk.
Industrial Security
In a recent Twitter chat (#CiscoChat), Rockwell Automation (@ROKAutomation) and members of our company, Strategic Alliance Partner Cisco® (@CiscoMFG), discussed what new digital business models mean for industrial security.
During the chat, Nancy Cam-Winget, one of the leading experts in industrial security and Cisco engineer, Gregory Wilcox, global business development manager at Rockwell Automation, and other participants talked about how to mitigate digital risks and the future of security within the manufacturing industry.
Why is industrial security such a critical discussion? In 2012, McAfee’s Threat Predictions white paper identified industrial networks as the leading cyber security vulnerability, confirming industrial control and automation systems (IACS) as target-rich environments. Just two years ago, Symantec reported that manufacturing was the most targeted sector for targeted attacks, accounting for 24% of them.
Fast forward to 2016, and the news isn’t much better. Cybercrime costs have risen to $445 billion annually; the interconnectivity of devices and the new business models they drive are a huge reason.
In manufacturing, hackers can take control of certain software platforms and infect systems with malware. If there are unpatched or unprotected areas on IACSs, hackers can easily gain access to them — just like on traditional enterprise networks. The consequences could be detrimental, both internally and externally — worker downtime, economic losses, regulatory requirement violations are just a few.
To find out more about these risks, best practices for cyber security, and the digital future of manufacturing, check out the #CiscoChat.
Learn more about Rockwell Automation Industrial Automation Security.

As more devices connect to the Internet, it’s more important than ever to protect industrial networks against cyber security vulnerability.
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