We discussed the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), while also highlighting the fact that the increase of IoT devices poses real security threats to companies in many commercial industries such as healthcare and industry. Industrial IoT security challenges are a reality.

Gartner’s research shows that more than 25% of cyber-attacks are from IoT devices. This is a serious concern. Alarmingly, there are currently 20 Billion unsecured devices on the market with no sign of slowing.

This article will take a closer look at the IoT security challenges, and discuss how it presents safety risks for industrial organizations that use building automation technology or industrial controls to manage critical infrastructure.

The Industrial IoT offers powerful benefits

The popularity of IIoT devices is growing. According to the Industrial Communications report, there are around 90 million IIoT devices in the world. This number will rise exponentially to over 150 million devices by 2022.

IIoT is a combination of machine-to-machine communications, advanced data analytics, and machine learning. It also provides valuable insights through network-connected devices. 

This enables businesses to make better business decisions.

This is how IIoT can drive unprecedented levels of productivity and efficiency that allow industrial companies to get financial and operational benefits.

The Industrial IoT security challenges

These devices have many IoT-based challenges, despite their compelling benefits. This is due to their vulnerability. Consider these IoT issues in the industrial sector:

  • The number of IIoT devices in industrial facilities is staggering. Cyberattackers have a lot of potential targets to attack from this huge attack surface.
  • Unknown or undetectable IoT devices (like wearables) can enter an environment.
  • The age of legacy systems and components in a critical infrastructure that is no longer able to accept software patches or use other cyber security tools.
  • Different hardware and software products compose the infrastructure system, in this way, they pose additional security risks due to their unique configurations.
  • Users use these legacy systems to operate continuously and without interruption. This is particularly true for infrastructures such as water systems, power grids, and pipelines where downtime could be devastating.

The IIoT devices in industrial environments pose very real security threats that need to be addressed.

What makes IIoT security so difficult?

Industrial environments that use increasing numbers of IoT devices need to consider both their overall security risk and the unique IoT-based challenges to ensure they are protected. This is a difficult task for many reasons:

Consider first that network endpoints most often use endpoint detection and reaction (EDR) software. EDR solutions are very useful in preserving most endpoints against virus infection.

A handful of IoT devices, unlike other endpoints, can not support additional security applications because they are “closed” devices that can not be changed.

They are not able to process as much memory and processing power as they would like, even if they could. This is a problem with EDR applications that require high memory and power.

This all adds up and creates two major security issues for industrial IoT. First, IT and security teams must accurately and efficiently identify, monitor, and manage all devices to be able to make informed decisions about which other systems, applications, and devices they can communicate with. But, how can they ensure that attackers don’t cause harm to the IIoT security of the rest?

4I Platform – Industrial IoT safety

4I Platform Solutions recognizes that the more reliable, powerful, and efficient cybersecurity starts with a smarter approach. The 4I Platform solutions implement new techniques to observe and monitor all the internal systems while capturing and supplying the right data.

Our industry’s clients rely on our Industrial IoT solutions every day. They need to accelerate disturbance response, automate breach direction, and also, protect their assets and applications.

If you want to learn more about IIoT Security, contact us!

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About the Author

Santiago Picco

Partner @ 4i Platform - Data Driven Innovation Electronic Engineering specified in control automation. Master in Stategic Management of Techology. Data scientist. Industry 4.0. IIoT and Digital transformation.

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