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Cyber Security Best Practices Cyber Security: Are You Managing Your Risks?

| Author / Editor: Brad Hegrat and Doug Wylie / Dominik Stephan

Many companies in the industrial ecosystem fail to take the necessary steps to minimize their security risks. In an effort to accelerate commissioning time, many companies do not even take advantage of a product’s built-in security features. Know more about best practices to secure the plant against cyber risks.

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By reviewing security operating protocol, manufacturers can identify and prioritize vulnerabilities and develop a comprehensive strategy to help minimize risks.
By reviewing security operating protocol, manufacturers can identify and prioritize vulnerabilities and develop a comprehensive strategy to help minimize risks.
(Picture: Rockwell Automation)

A constant drumbeat is driving the connectivity of everything worth being connected into an ever growing, interwoven fabric. With each new connection, cyber risks expand, and an available threat surface grows to affect not just the device but the system to which it connects.

The digital data moved within these complex systems may facilitate transactions that function as the financial life-blood of an organization, or the data might prove elemental to the operation of critical processes, machinery or infrastructures that serve both the company and those dependent on it. For these reasons, cyber security is an essential tenet of every networked system.

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Do Your Part for Cyber Security

Collaboration is the first step toward a more secure future. If policies are impractical or too restrictive, operators might override them and the technical controls. A number of procedural and technological steps also must be completed to create a secure environment. A good security program is 20 per cent technology, 80 per cent process and procedure.

These processes and procedures, along with a company’s employee policies, fall under the nontechnical side of security. By reviewing their security operating protocol, manufacturers can identify and prioritize vulnerabilities and develop a comprehensive strategy to help minimize risks.

Defense-in-Depth Strategy

Protecting industrial assets requires a defense-in-depth security approach that addresses both internal and external security threats. A defense-in-depth security architecture is based on the idea that any one point of protection may, and probably will, be defeated. This approach uses multiple layers of defense (physical, electronic and procedural) at separate instances by applying the appropriate controls that address different types of risks. This provides the following outcomes:

  • System security is designed into the infrastructure and becomes a set of layers within the overall network security
  • Attackers are faced with a difficult task to successfully break through or bypass each security layer without being detected
  • A weakness or flaw in one layer can be protected by strength, capabilities or new variables introduced through other security layers

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