Industrial cyber security is a hot topic these days. With the changing technical landscape, we are seeing post Covid-19 along with extensive advances in technology, the need for data integrity in this space is certainly growing at a rapid pace. Whether it be protecting product recipes and batching information or maintaining exacting environmental controls, with so many of our process devices and systems being networked these days, a proactive approach to cyber security is absolutely the best practice. So where do you begin?
A complete Installed Base Evaluation (IBE) of existing equipment and infrastructure is key to getting things started. The next step is to seek out industry standards such as NIST in order to benchmark the state of your system. Standards vary widely across different applications, locations, and municipalities. While you may believe that being a smaller operation that is physically insulated from major metropolitan areas is a safer position from a cyber security standpoint, this is not the case. Having any networked device in your organization is a potential path for cyber extortion.
Often cyber security can be difficult to get funding approved as it is virtually impossible to map ROI with these investments. In order to enhance our cyber security position as we progress into a more connected world, IT and process control professionals are learning to work together to a greater extent in order to bridge the security gaps in industrial networks. A solid, organization-wide understanding and proactive implementation of cyber security policy is key to your system’s integrity as network intrusion may be occurring for 6+ months until the breach is detected!
Once a compromise has been detected and isolated, the mitigation process should be based on a sound, defined response policy. These instances are often crimes and should be reported as such. The FBI has a team that works with NIST to mitigate industrial cyber-attacks. Ideally, once detected the compromised segment will be isolated, system backups and restoration applied and finally patching the path of intrusion. A proactive approach to industrial cyber security is critical to maintaining the integrity of your networked systems and devices.