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Security at Scale: The Benefits of Automation for Industrial IoT

Security at Scale: The Benefits of Automation for Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT (IIoT) is growing in scale, with the number of IoT connected devices worldwide is expected to reach almost 30 billion by 2030. IoT is used in work environments, homes and industry. Each have their own use cases, benefits and challenges. Industrial IoT demonstrates the broadest variety of use cases, and as such, the impact of a breach has the potential to create significant ripples throughout industries. This can affect numerous critical industries including anything from supply-chain management, critical infrastructure, agriculture, commerce, logistics, the automotive industry and even new trailblazing sustainability initiatives, creating a disastrous domino effect.

But with the diversity and scalability of IIoT use cases growing every year, manufacturers and organizations are faced with the significant undertaking of securing and managing a growing number of identities, with the consequences of not doing so being quite destructive and costly.

It is critical for organizations to ensure that networks, and their entire ecosystem are protected. But the rapid growth in the adoption of and dependency on IoT with the emergence of Industry 4.0 has made this more challenging for manufacturers and organizations alike.

Attacks on IoT infrastructure are expected to reach a global estimated cost of $10.5 trillion by 2025, a huge increase from $3 trillion in 2015, which is unsurprising as IoT networks create a convenient doorway for hackers and cybercriminals to exploit. Organizations must ensure that they enact strong security policies and partner with the right security provider to meet all of their complex security needs.

The Challenges of Digital Identity Management

The greatest challenge for security experts when managing and securing devices is scale. Managing not only a vast number of devices, but also devices built for a diverse number of use cases makes device provisioning, authentication and decommissioning complex. This is further complicated when factoring in legacy systems and compatibility issues when integrating devices and navigating industry data regulations. Managing connected devices and machines manually is no longer practical as the scale is simply to large for one team to manage. The large scale of these identities creates a wider net of vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to exploit, and not only this, but the more diverse and complex an IoT network is, as is often the case in Industrial IoT, the more gaps there are in the system that require securing.

Each of these challenges presents vulnerabilities that cybercriminals may exploit, and with new attack tactics evolving daily, the pressure on security experts, organizations and manufacturers alike to secure each one, and respond to threats with little time to spare. Each challenge implies a risk to industrial supply chains as it only takes one kink in the chain to impact an entire industry.

The Benefits of Automating IIoT Security with PKI

However, the challenges presented by a growing IIoT landscape can be managed by partnering with the right security provider and implementing an automated device identity management and enrolment solution:

  • Enhanced Scalability: an automated solution that accommodates individual IoT use cases allows admins to provision, manage, decommission and update IoT identities for a diverse and extended range of devices. This also allows security professionals to dedicate more time and resources to new projects, rather than focusing and repetitive tasks
  • Improved Efficiency and Business Continuity: a solution with simplified implementation, and seamless integration with a Certificate Authority, such as GlobalSign, ensures that implementing a secure solution does not interrupt business continuity and allows for a more efficient process when securing identities
  • Improved Security: an automated solution reduces the risk of human error when managing identities, which are more likely to occur when managing a large and diverse range of use cases. Custom workflows assist in device enrollment, access controls, and device management to ensure confidence in network security

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Considerations for Implementing an Automated Solution

The benefits of implementing an automated solution for IIoT security are clear, but organizations must ensure that they partner with a trusted security provider that meets their business and security requirements. In order to understand what their needs are, it is important to plan and create a robust security framework and implement scalable, flexible solutions that also meets these requirements.

  • Integration: Organizations must consider an Identity Lifecycle Management solution with the capability to fully integrate with your Certificate Authority (CA) as well as ensuring interoperability with preexisting systems and other IoT platforms such as Azure IoT Hub to ensure seamless, secure network integration
  • Admin Control: Secure admin and access control allows admins to manage unique device identities and set eligibility for device enrollment on a group or individual level – limiting access to only the necessary users
  • Continuous Monitoring and Updates: Vulnerability updates and patching are imperative for ensuring the security of IoT devices and networks. Regular, automated software and hardware updates minimize vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might be able to exploit. Threat monitoring and alert systems also help to reduce threat response times and mitigate further risk
  • Regular Security Audits: Performing regular audits allows IoT managers to assess their inventory, enrolled and decommissioned devices as well as legacy systems and network and infrastructure vulnerabilities. This allows security professionals to create a robust security framework and respond to network vulnerabilities with greater speed and efficiency

How is Automation Being Applied in Industrial IoT?

There are many ways that industries are beginning to implement identity lifecycle management solutions to protect industrial IoT frameworks. Industrial IoT requires a flexible solution for identity lifecycle management to cover a broad variety of IoT use cases:

  • Manufacturing: Manufacturers are implementing Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) to protect production line machinery and provide data security for supply chain operations, reducing the risk of interrupted operations
  • Energy and Utilities: Automated solutions can help to safeguard power generation and distribution networks. Cyber criminals can shut down operations using denial of service attacks among others, or in one case in April, stop them from being turned off. Automated identity lifecycle management platforms reduce the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited and utilities providers can continue operations
  • Healthcare: Automation is critical in the healthcare sector to safeguard patient data and ensure medical devices are protected. Healthcare has often been the target of cyber-attacks in recent years and so it is imperative that connected machinery is protected and vulnerabilities are mitigated with speed and efficiency
  • Transportation and Logistics: Supply chain operators are utilizing IoT to manage and maintain good inventories and transportation. Critical data is being stored, processed and shared with third parties at a large scale, and as such, Transportation, logistics and supply-chain operators must ensure the security and integrity of their networks with by ensuring connected machinery is properly provisioned for with Device Lifecycle Management
  • Agriculture: Agriculture is a growing use case for integrating IoT equipment for smart farming and automating care for produce. Protecting new initiatives such as these with automated identity lifecycle management allows operations to continue without disruption from cyber-attacks, also preventing a chain impact to the agricultural supply chain
  • Green Initiatives: IoT is being successfully explored as a solution for improving efficiency, resource and energy usage and waste management. This is a budding but quickly growing use case for IoT and as such, require secure Device Lifecycle Management solutions to promote and protect their continued success

Automation Protects Industry Against Growing Cyber Threats

Automation and Device Lifecycle Management solutions are the greatest assurance that organizations and manufacturers have for defending critical IoT networks and ecosystems in industrial sectors. With IoT use cases growing significantly in scale, this creates more opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit innate vulnerabilities within these networks, and not only this but increases the pressure on security professionals and IoT operators to secure every identity. Automated solutions are the greatest defense for ensuring that remain secure and mitigating the risk of human error.

Organizations must place security to protect their networks, secure data and mitigate the risks of a domino-like impact to industries and supply chains, that a breach could cause. The best way to do this is by employing proper identity management and rigorous security planning and frameworks.

Unlock Scalable IoT Security with GlobalSign’s Device Lifecycle Management Platform

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