Strategies to Embrace Industry-Grade Cyber Security

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Cyber-attacks on industrial control systems can disrupt production flow resulting in cash flow disruptions. Industrial enterprises need to ensure continuity of their critical systems to sustain financial health and a positive brand image.

Many organizations still overlook the risk of cyber threats on industrial systems, thinking it might impact business performance. Cybercriminals are on the prowl to exploit industrial systems to disrupt the work and cash flow. Industrial enterprises need to design and implement robust cyber security strategies to prevent organizations from various cyber threats. 

CISOs should consider analyzing and integrating comprehensive industrial cybersecurity tools to ensure business continuity. It is essential for businesses to minimize the vulnerability of computer-controlled industrial systems to malicious attacks, system crashes, and other cyber risks.

 Enterprises need to implement tools to automate or remotely manage the production, handling, and distribution of products. Developing a customized security posture that helps businesses to enhance performance, reliability, and security requirements. There are many software platforms and internet-based devices integrated into the industrial control systems (ICS), which are imposing cyber threats by increasing vulnerability. Here are a few ways to embrace enterprise-grade cyber security:

Go beyond the IT-centric cyber security approach

Embracing the air-gapped approach to isolate operational technology system industrial networks to restrict external access is no longer sufficient. Because connecting to the systems has resulted in delivering new performance expectations to get a competitive edge. Many enterprises are looking at cyber security through an IT-centric approach. But industrial operations need to connect with data systems to the cloud and robust data analytics in real-time to ensure production continuity.

Also Read: CFOs role in the Enterprises Cyber Security Boardroom

 The IT-centric approach will not apply with ICS because the operational requirements and workflows are dynamic and volatile, and the IT-centric security approach restricts it from relying on fixed sets of knowns, notifying anomalies as potential threats. There is a possibility that the operational staff can get desensitized to security concerns. Because many operational workflows and fluctuations; can create blind spots and false alerts from a security perspective. Enterprises need to track access-based behavior in operations to analyze the patterns and suspicious behavior in an operational environment. Industrial operations teams also need to consider cybersecurity as their top priority to minimize the risks of an insider threat. 

Efficient patch management

Malicious actors are looking out for unpatched systems to exploit and use as a vector to infiltrate the network. CISOs should consider regularly auditing the entire IT infrastructure to identify the unpatched surfaces. It is crucial to patch these surfaces efficiently to maintain industrial control systems security. Monitoring the organization’s asset inventory will help to understand which patches are required. The cybercriminal space has become more sophisticated, which has increased the number of severe cyber-attacks using a compromised system as a vector. Enterprises need to install the updates on test systems first before installing them on the entire operational systems. 

Minimize the attack surface area

CISOs should consider isolating the industrial control systems network from untrusted servers or networks like the internet. It is essential to block all the unused ports and terminate all the unused services to ensure real-time connectivity to external networks if it is a business need or essential control function. Enterprises can integrate an optical separation approach to accomplish one-way communication. If the business requires two-way communication, they can consider using a single open port over a restricted network path. 

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