A PR person recently contacted me about a new paper, Emerging Trends and Securing the Future of Smart Manufacturing, from an analyst firm new to me—Takepoint. Soon thereafter I was on a video call with analyst and author Jonathon Gordon.

He first mentioned about getting proactive with security. Too much cybersecurity is network detection after there is a problem. It is inherently passive. This may help some in recent scenarios where the goal of the intruder is ransomware. But what about now when nation-state actors are trying to gain access to critical infrastructure control in order to disrupt production or even cause major damage?

Gordon took a closer look at a control system. A potential vulnerability lies in the connection between the engineering workstation and the PLC. That is the cyber-physical connection. The focus needs to shift to mitigate this vulnerability. This workstation to PLC connection must be locked down.

These notes come from the company.

In today’s interconnected industrial world, data sharing is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity for growth and innovation. However, sharing data safely with partners, suppliers, or even within different departments of the same organization, requires a sophisticated approach to cybersecurity. The industrial CISO’s role evolves from just protecting data to enabling its safe and efficient flow across various networks, ensuring that it remains secure even when it’s outside their direct control.

 Innovation, especially in the context of Industry 4.0, naturally brings risks. But here’s the catch – innovation without risk is like swimming without getting wet; it’s just not possible. The key lies in understanding these risks – they can be accepted to a certain degree, actively mitigated, or in some cases, transferred (think insurance policies or outsourcing certain aspects). Ignoring these risks is not an option. Doing so is akin to flirting with the dark side, where the consequences can be severe and far-reaching.

In this dynamic environment, the role of the industrial CISO is not just reactive; it’s increasingly proactive. This means anticipating potential security breaches and having robust strategies in place. It’s about understanding not just the technology, but also the human and process elements of cybersecurity. Training staff, developing a security-conscious culture, and keeping abreast of the latest threats and countermeasures are all part of this proactive stance.

The message here is straightforward and urgent: cybersecurity in manufacturing isn’t a passive or reactive task; it’s an active, ongoing process. This involves regular risk assessments, identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities, and implementing robust security controls. Equally important is fostering a cybersecurity-aware culture throughout the organization, ensuring everyone from top executives to factory floor workers understands their role in maintaining security.

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