Productivity and innovation in modern manufacturing calls for better risk management
Availability, Integrity and Confidentiality
With manufacturing focused intensively on innovation, combined with a reliance on connected networks and products, it is an industry that is highly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Yet, the manufacturing industry remains fragmented in its approach to managing cyber-related risks.
This is according to Charl Ueckermann, CEO at AVeS Cyber Security, who was on the Manufacturing Indaba’s panel of discussion at the Sandton Convention Centre in June; “For manufacturing companies, the focus has always been on production innovation, operational efficiencies, minimising downtime and keeping the lights on. Therefore, when it comes to technology infrastructures in the manufacturing industry, the availability of systems has always taken priority over integrity and confidentiality, which inherently made cyber risk the least of concerns. However, in modern manufacturing, where systems are connected to the internet, integrity and confidentiality will start to play a bigger role. In most other industries, such as financial services, confidentiality and integrity of their technology systems are prioritised over availability already, making the management of cyber risks a key focus.
Why Manufacturing’s Cyber Risks are Increasing
“Historically, IT and operational technologies (OT) in manufacturing have also been managed separately, within different departments with their own sets of vocabulary and structures. OT departments don’t generally have as much insight into cyber risks as IT and this, by default, means that OT tends to lag behind IT in this regard.
“Yet nowadays, cyber risks are no less for a manufacturing company to protect its data, intellectual property and trade secrets than for a bank to ensure the confidentiality of customer information and other sensitive data. In fact, a cyber breach on an OT system could present a life or death situation for a manufacturing business because the health and safety of workers are at risk, and machinery and processes may become unsafe.
Where to Start Managing Cyber Risks: Assess Your Environment
He advises manufacturing companies to get a firmer grip on the devices used on their OT networks.
He continues: “You also want to find the best practices around cyber security hardening on your Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and engage with a specialist OT security provider to implement the correct software required to ensure that your manufacturing environment is well protected, without compromising machine uptime. Ideally, due to the potential health and safety risks in the event of a breach, you should obtain the services of an OT Governance organisation to assist with creating or adjusting processes that are globally aligned.”
His advice to manufacturing companies is to perform an Industrial Cyber Security (ICS) Assessment before making any rash investments in people or technologies. Such an assessment comprises of a vulnerability assessment and a penetration test of the current infrastructure to get an accurate view of the assets and architecture and understand the cyber risks.
Plan the Roadmap
“Once this has been done, a pragmatic ICS cyber risk roadmap needs to be developed to determine the risks and how these can be minimised, accepted or outsourced. Importantly, operational and production efficiencies, as well as capacity, should not be compromised. Cyber security can be built intelligently into the fabric of the production systems,” explains Ueckermann, adding that ongoing monitoring with appropriate tools and processes is imperative to ensuring a proactive and predictive approach to managing risks in industrial control environments over the long term.
He concludes: “Manufacturing companies can benefit from a two-pronged approach that encompasses both risk management and risk outsourcing in the form of cyber insurance. The company’s risk profile will determine the level of cover required. Companies could lower their cyber insurance costs by taking steps to improve their risk profile, for instance, by ensuring that security solutions are up-to-date and properly managed, and by practising good governance.
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- Winder, D. (2019, June 20). NASA has been hacked. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/06/20/confirmed-nasa-has-been-hacked/#2e99f18cdc62