Connected manufacturing: Three steps to cloud security: Page 2 of 3

August 15, 2016 // By Martyn Williams
You wouldn’t allow an intruder to spend 229 days in your house undetected, so why would you do that with your manufacturing facility? As incredible as that sounds, the average time between a cyber security breach and its detection is 229 days. Manufacturing facilities are leading the list of potential targets for cyber espionage, denial of service (DoS) and web-application attacks. Here, Martyn Williams, Managing Director of industrial automation software supplier, COPA-DATA UK, discusses three steps manufacturers should take to stay safe in the cloud.

Best practice

One of the biggest concerns many people have about cloud computing is that once data is in the cloud, it can be accessed by unauthorised users with malicious intentions. However, there is a significant distinction to be made. Validated software and cloud computing providers help ensure that their cloud is protected at the physical, network, application and data layers so that their services are as resilient to attack as possible and client data remains safe.

The problem arises when users store or access company data through alternative devices or consumer cloud solutions. The most common ones are personal smart phones, tablets or e-mail addresses.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was an industry trend five years ago – today it is a reality. Employees everywhere use their own devices to access work e-mails, remote monitoring applications, CAD designs and other sensitive information. Unfortunately, this practice exponentially multiplies the risks of a cyber attack.

However, manufacturers can’t afford to hide their heads in the sand and hope BYOD will go away. Your best bet is to train your employees on the best-practice use of BYOD and reduce the number of devices and applications used to access company data. BYOD is not a replacement of corporate devices; it should be a controlled strategy to enable mobility.


Industry standards

Slowly, but surely, industry is starting to outline and implement cyber security standards to make industrial networks, devices, software, processes and data more secure. For example, the NIST Cyber Security Framework published in the US compiles leading practices from several standard bodies. There is no such thing as a foolproof formula, but NIST is a good place to start.

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