The Internet of Things has sparked radical changes in how businesses operate. An increasingly networked and automated production process is unleashing a new industrial revolution, known frequently as Industry 4.0.
This affords companies numerous opportunities, but also new security challenges. For example, networking production equipment at various locations requires confidential and consistent machine communications with guaranteed availability.
Achieving the highest possible level of security is made difficult by the various components of an industrial IoT solution, as well as misconduct and misplaced trust. Security management goes far beyond your own company, since the networks and systems necessary for total networking and automation have to be at least partially opened to customers, suppliers, and partners. Transport and administrative tasks also frequently use third-party network and cloud components, which can also pose a potential vulnerability.
Comprehensive security concept
Of course, absolute security is as unrealistic as the desire to implement protective measures once and then forget about them. In order to be properly prepared, it’s important for companies to first start with a risk analysis that can then be used to develop a comprehensive security concept. Ideally, firms will choose to implement a defence-in-depth strategy, which divides a company’s IT architecture into various layers that are then each outfitted with the appropriate security measures. This ensures intruders will simply face another “closed door” should they manage to penetrate one layer of security.
Security by design
But security management should start even before that. Businesses need to pay attention when selecting equipment, devices, systems, and network components to determine if manufacturers have already integrated security features into them. This is known as security by design and it also applies to connectivity and cloud services. Reliable providers, such as Deutsche Telekom, regularly have their extremely high security standards tested and certified.
A study by BITKOM and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO expects Industry 4.0 to unlock up to €78 billion in value creation potential for companies from the machinery and plant engineering, electronics, automotive, chemicals, agriculture and IT sectors by 2025. But anyone hoping to profit from these developments over the long-term cannot ignore the vital matter of IT security.