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Cybersecurity principles for industrial environments

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) have traditionally been isolated from a company’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure.

This inherent isolation essentially created an ‘air gap’ between the ICS and IT environments. Such a basic defence posture is now no longer effective due to the increased integration of ICS devices into the IT network.

Organisations rolling out extensive digitisation programs that use IT network technologies to enhance productivity, reduce costs and increase safety are now at risk of cyber-attack.

This integration of technologies now makes securing industrial control networks a major priority for organisations and governments, as vulnerabilities within this new technology are rapidly being identified and exploited.

There are several high-level principles that should be implemented to develop multiple layers of security, critical to ensuring the protection of assets:

Design

Ensure the design of the system and processes allow for suitable security measures to be implemented. As the intention with most system upgrades and installations generally involves maximising profits and increasing efficiency, security considerations can be hard to quantify, and are sometimes missed or left out of a design. Therefore, it is vital that cyber security is considered, from concept, to design, construction and implementation.

Management

Industrial Control Systems must allow for constant security assessments and updating. Many legacy systems will become vulnerable to a cyber-attack within its service lifetime and need the ability to be updated with the latest security features when needed.

Best Practice

Effective security measures can be simply achieved by educating the workforce and enforcing best practices throughout the organisation. The systems and actions used by personnel and technology must be constantly adjusted and refined to ensure protective measures are maintained against emerging threats.

Cyber-Risk Assessment

For many organisations, risk assessment is an integral process to the security and growth of a company. However, companies often lack human and technological resources to perform adequate cyber-risk evaluations. Risks associated with an organisation’s assets, technology or information should continually be reviewed and assessed against the current threat climate. This allows security measures to be implemented that protect against the most recent aggressive cyber incidents.

Transparency

By providing visibility of security information throughout an organisation the incident response teams can minimise any remediation time to an attack.

By communicating effectively, an organisation can minimise financial losses, physical damage and human safety impacts.

Limit Connectivity

Identify, secure and minimise all network connection to any industrial control systems and clearly understand the risks associated with systems requiring connectivity.

Sapien’s technology can be deployed at any stage of a facilities life cycle. It provides security monitoring in real time and delivers cyber defence based on thorough risk assessments of vulnerabilities and threats. Sapien develops its platform based on current threat intelligence empowering users with greater visibility in order to develop network resilience.

WRITTEN BY SAPIEN