The ultimate guide to securing your industrial network

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Cybersecurity issues are becoming a day-to-day struggle for Industrial Companies. Recent trends and cybersecurity statistics have revealed a huge increase in hacked and breached data from sources that are increasingly common in the workplace, like mobile and IoT devices.

The main goal of any industrial company is to increase and maximize its profits. The key to achieving this is to reduce operational costs and increase production efficiency. This requires informed decisions to be made, which in turn relies on a wealth of data being transmitted from and between smart devices and machines communicating effectively within a network.

Additionally, recent security research suggests that most companies have unprotected data and poor cybersecurity practices in place, making them vulnerable to data loss. To successfully fight against malicious intent, it’s imperative that companies make cybersecurity awareness, prevention and security best practices a part of their culture.
In this article, we take a closer look at what is needed to secure your industrial network and the devices that connect to it.

Increased vulnerability for cyber attacks

Connecting devices in an automated network controlled by programmable logic controllers (PLC), a distributed control system (DCS) or a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system is nothing new within the world of industry.

However, these operational technology systems have traditionally been isolated from the more vulnerable enterprise networks. Due to this isolation, industrial networks have had a low risk of cyber-attacks and cybersecurity has not been a primary concern for system operators.

Times are changing, however with IIoT practices connecting industrial and enterprise networks in order to secure a seamless and continuous flow of data between all devices, implementing cybersecurity measures to secure your entire network is now of paramount importance.

Each connected device increases your network’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks and a single hole in the fence, such as an outdated legacy device or an unprotected switch, is all a hacker with malicious intent needs in order to penetrate your network and start siphoning your valuable data – or even take control of the entire process.

Three important cybersecurity factors

We understand designing, implementing and increasing the security of your networks can be a challenging task, as there are several aspects to consider.

From a fundamentals point, there are three important factors that must be addressed when building your cybersecurity infrastructure:

  1. Network Security
  2. Device Security
  3. Secure Monitoring and Management

Network security best practices

Despite the differences in priorities and techniques used to protect industrial control systems versus enterprise IT systems, several industrial associations have developed standards and security guidelines for connecting or converging ICS with IT systems. 

Three pillars for securing industrial networks include:

  • Deploy Defence in Depth (DiD) protection for industrial networks
  • Enable security settings on your industrial networks
  • Manage security through education, policies, and monitoring

Based on these three pillars the following best practices are recommended as the first step to supporting an industrial control systems cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity Statistics 

The damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. To give you a small insight into the current state of overall security, we’ve collected 5 vital statistics about data breaches, hacking, industry-specific statistics, as well as spending and costs.

The Big Five:

  1. Worldwide spending on cybersecurity is going to reach $133.7 billion in 2022. (Gartner)
  2. 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. (Verizon)
  3. 41% of customers would stop buying from a business victim of a ransomware attack. (Fintechnews)
  4. 86% of breaches were financially motivated and 25% were motivated by espionage. (Verizon)
  5. 52% of breaches featured hacking, 28% involved malware and 32–33% included phishing or social engineering, respectively. (Verizon)
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