Industry 4.0 Security: How to Prepare Your Company

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Industry 4.0 Security: How to Prepare Your Company

In a recent blog article, we discussed hiring tips to help your company make the most of interconnected devices for Industry 4.0. Now it’s time to talk about securing those devices.

This post will help you understand the complex cybersecurity risks that Industry 4.0 brings to our connected world and offers resources to prepare your business for secured success in the years to come.

But First: A Brief Refresher on Industry 4.0

As we discussed in an earlier post, Industry 4.0, also known as the “Digital Supply Network,” is the fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was the advent of steam power, the second was electricity and the assembly line and the third was computerization.

Right now, we are entering the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), in which our machines are empowered to act independently so they can improve our business outcomes. To do this effectively, the machines need to collect and share physical data using sensors on smart devices, analyze that data in real time and then use their findings to make changes in our physical world.

This is truly a new frontier.

The Dangers of Industry 4.0

One of the greatest risks of Industry 4.0 is also its greatest asset.

  • Shared Data

Today’s analytics systems are effective because they combine your proprietary data with industry data aggregators to help you gain full insight into your business, so you can make faster, better decisions with confidence.

Industry 4.0 promises to expand these capabilities by collecting more data from more points along the supply chain to give you better visibility. However, this increased visibility goes both ways: to view and use more data industry-wide, all supply chain participants will have to share more data. Including you.

Sharing data leads to complexities for traditionally siloed industries such as manufacturing and healthcare because the practice of sharing some data yet hiding other data can be difficult to set up.

  • Interconnectedness

Device connections further complicate the issue of data sharing. This is because, to run an effective Industry 4.0 operation, your company must ensure that all your smart devices are connected to a centralized data lake used by an artificial intelligence “decision maker.”

Companies wanting to use the full capabilities of their connected devices will have to enable those devices to share data openly with each other within the company, while preventing unauthorized access from without the company.

In a cloud-connected world, it can get tough to draw the line between “inside” and “outside” the company – especially when the data has to be shared with your supply chain partners around the globe.

Sound confusing? That’s because it is.

An Explanation: The Messy Desk Analogy

To understand the difficulty of protecting shared data, imagine a messy desk.

Your computer network is the desk and it’s covered with densely typed papers. Each paper represents a different connected device that collects and shares data within your operations and each word on each piece of paper represents a different data point.

On each piece of paper, some of the words are meant to be kept private and some are meant to be shared with other people. Unfortunately, all the words themselves are jumbled together on the paper and they’re hard to sort out.

Every second, new words are added to various pieces of paper and every few minutes a new piece of paper is added to the desk with more jumbled words. The extra “words” come from the real-time collection of new data within your operations and the additional “paper” appears when you add more connected devices, or when you sync with connected devices from your supply chain partners.

Once you see the image of this super messy desk covered in growing stacks of paper, further imagine that the desk is located on a busy platform at Grand Central Terminal.

Thousands of people walk by the desk each hour and, naturally, they all pay attention to the oddity of a desk in the middle of a train platform. (Who wouldn’t?)

When your company’s business leaders walk by the desk, they need the immediate and round-the-clock ability to see every word on every piece of paper on the desk. Conversely, when your supply chain partners walk by, they need the immediate and round-the-clock ability to see some of the words on some of the papers. Your supply chain partners can’t be allowed to see all the words because it may be illegal or imprudent for you to share all those words with them. (Remember, each word is a data point collected by your connected devices.)

Of course, to everyone else in the train terminal, that desk needs to look empty and boring. Even though the desk looks empty, cybercriminals will still slide their hands across it as they pass, looking to snag any papers they can. To prevent them from getting invisible pieces of paper, you’ll need to ensure that the desk actually is empty when criminals try to steal pieces of paper.

Oh, and if your business leaders, your supply chain partners, the general public and a cybercriminal are all looking at the desk at the same time, they all need to see different things.

Are you starting to see the complexity of securing your data in an Industry 4.0 world?

If you feel like throwing your hands up in the air so you can avoid all this complexity, think again. The number of connected devices used in business increases daily and they bring a formidable competitive advantage to the companies that use them. If you choose to skip this trend, your organization risks falling behind your competitors or losing out altogether. Your digital transformation is not an option.

Luckily, there’s a solution that will help you keep your data as secure as possible, so you can confidently progress into your Industry 4.0 future.

Protecting Your Data in Industry 4.0

With a complex visibility situation like that messy desk, it’s clear that traditional business security methods will no longer be enough to keep your company’s data protected and compliant. You need something better.

Here’s where we should tout some incredible product that ensures business protection for your connected devices, but to be honest, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will ensure your long-term security.

There are also no guarantees that your business will stay secure against today’s ever-increasing threat landscape; cybercriminals will constantly look for ways to steal your valuable data or endanger your company, yet your security only has to fail once for them to successfully breach your defenses.

This may sound like a bleak outlook, but it doesn’t have to be. Even though there’s no magic bullet solution, there are two big things you can do to properly secure your company in an Industry 4.0 world:

  1. Hire cybersecurity experts to design, implement and manage your connected devices and networks so you can prevent an attack.
  2. Develop a plan to protect your company in the event of a successful attack.

Your security plan should include:

  • Policies that help your company prevent a cyber attack
  • Instructions on how to quickly respond and recover in the event of a breach
  • Ongoing procedures that maintain a secure perimeter against emerging threats

As for hiring a cybersecurity expert to handle your Industry 4.0 transformation, ISG has got you covered.

Find Cybersecurity Experts Now

A 2016 Deloitte-MAPI study found that 75% of executives believe they lack the skilled talent to effectively implement and maintain a secure connected production system. As we’ve seen, competition for these professionals is only continuing to grow as cyber attacks become more sophisticated.

But we know where to find the talent you need.

ISG has spent the past 27 years connecting companies with the right technical experts, and we’re happy to help your company as you move forward with your Industry 4.0 initiatives.

See how easy it can be to hire the right Industry 4.0 cybersecurity experts with ISG. Contact us online or at (800) 739-2400 to get started.