Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and CyberSecurity

Plenty of information has been circulating on the digitization of the industrial environment and the possible benefits it may bring. The technology to connect machine components down to the sensor level and tie them to the Operational Technology (OT) sphere is now available and it is now possible to collect production data, track processes, up time, down time and other elements, and publish it all to one of the many cloud-based services.

It is possible to take this data and perform analyzes to give insight into possible production optimizations, predictive maintenance schedules and much more. Because it is in the cloud – accessing this information anywhere with an Internet connection is made easier. It sounds great until you start thinking about all the cybersecurity threats you are now exposed to.

Is your company equipped to properly assess the risks associated with this increased connectivity? How well does your IT team understand the challenges of the Operational Technology (OT) team with respect to cybersecurity?

In Canada, our Federal Government has created a Cybersecurity group under Public Safety Canada with a subsection focused on Industrial Control Systems (ICS). They host symposiums and workshops all over the country focused on ICS Cyber Security. Their main audience is critical infrastructure – water, energy, chemical, defence, traffic, communications, etc. since cybersecurity is of importance to anyone who connects any portion of their business process to the Internet.

Prior to Industry 4.0, Operational Technology (OT) factory networks may have been segregated from the IT world and even the Internet. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the benefits connectivity brings.

Are the risks worth the benefits? It’s a question you will have to assess for yourself. With careful planning and selection of the right equipment and staff to maintain them, you could enjoy the benefits of this highly connected Industrial world. Cybersecurity is just one aspect of business planning. It is therefore very important to think about this aspect from the start.