As the industrial revolution has progressed over the years, Industrial 4.0 is bringing new technology challenges that manufacturers have never experienced before. Everything is connected; machines are connected to the network, software platforms are connected to computers, remote workers are connected to confidential files on the network. Before IIoT and Industrial 4.0, some manufacturers might have implemented a firewall as a security alternative.

Now in this digital age, more manufacturers have either already implemented Industry 4.0, are in process, or are planning to in the short future. When doing so, there are three main areas of the of the manufacturing floor that need to be secured in order to reduce vulnerabilities.

Assets

Not all Industry 4.0 assets are clearly documented, making them a potential target for hackers. When you have all of your operational assets identified it makes it easier to understand where the vulnerabilities lay. When identifying assets on an ICS networks, the best way is to conduct an assessment of all equipment, software, and tool tools in order to see how they communicate, and what impact that might have on the connected equipment.

Network

It’s important that when adopting IIoT into your manufacturing floor, you are segmenting the ICS and corporate network. By segmenting these networks, you’re significantly minimizing risk, and better monitoring network traffic. To read more benefits about segmenting the network, read our blog post about Why It's Important to Segment OT and IT Networks.

In addition, monitoring remote access through the network is also crucial. Knowing who can access the network remotely, like vendors, employees, customers, etc. and limiting that access is an important part in ensuring the security. Knowing what remote access is allowed will allow you to monitor for unknown traffic.

Physical

Physical access into certain areas of your shop floor is a huge risk for threats. When you limit physical access, you are minimizing risks. If you don’t already, you should limit physical access to the plant floor as well as the server room. Only essential personnel should have access to the plant or shop floor, HMIs, or networking equipment. To do that, consider using biometrics to increase security and monitor the systems access.

Your assets, network and physical access are the three main areas of a manufacturing facility that can be a target for hackers. Once secured properly, you are one step closer to preventing threats from entering your network. For more information on making sure you hit the proper steps for securing each of these vulnerabilities, read our Manufacturing Security Checklist for an easy reference guide or check out our resource library for more tools and information!

 

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