Securing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
While organizations design and deploy Industrial Internet of Things efforts, the term is meaningless for security practitioners because Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a concept. It’s difficult for security leaders to protect concepts.
That’s according to Katell Thielemann, VP analyst at Gartner Inc.
“[Security practitioners] need to approach the problem with specifics, understanding that they are dealing with cyber-physical systems that have very specific characteristics and understanding those characteristics is key to defining how to craft a security approach,” she said.
Too often, speed of initial deployment takes precedence over a security strategy that should encompass the entire lifecycle of systems, Thielemann said. Too many organizations bring an IT-centric view to security to industrial environments when it comes to IIoT efforts.
While security operational technology (OT) is gaining executive-level attention and visibility to regulatory authorities, the ability to bring them under full cybervisibility and protection as well as ensuring ongoing vigilance is challenging at multiple levels, said Santha Subramoni, is global head, cybersecurity services at Tata Consultancy Services.
At the foundation level, the threat surface (or area that can be attacked) itself is complex and varied, making asset discovery and integration an enterprise security architecture challenge, Subramoni said. Sensor, edge devices, connectivity along with related data, applications and hosting ecosystems are the core of distributed IIoT ecosystem.
There is a significant prevalence of legacy technologies and proliferation of self-contained networks, outside of enterprise network perimeters, Subramoni said. And the lack of endpoint visibility limits the ability to take preventive measures.
“Organizations need to detect and keep a catalog of vulnerabilities at multiple levels and maintain knowledge and the technology required for the same within the industrial ecosystem, which typically has yet to mature to a manageable scale and reliability,” Subramoni said.
How a Building Materials Maker Is Securing the IIoT
Building materials maker HIL Ltd. took the first step in its digitalization journey and implementing IIoT when it launched digital shop floor technology in four of its manufacturing plants in India, said Murali Raj, HIL’s chief information officer. The digital shop floor connects all machines to one network, optimizing efficiency and quality.
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