2015 Security Report: Are cyber attacks the greatest risk to Industry 4.0?

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  • Nine out of ten companies say Industry 4.0 is a major factor behind their decision to locate in Germany
  • 90 percent of all companies are targeted by cyber attacks
  • 60 percent of companies feel properly armed against attacks

To be successful, Industry 4.0 needs improved protection against cyber attacks: Almost 90 percent of political and economic decision-makers see IT security as the greatest challenge to achieving a complete transition to Industry 4.0, according to the latest Deutsche Telekom Cyber Security Report. In fact, a large majority of managers (84 percent) are convinced that the risk of attacks will rise with Industry 4.0, i.e. the intelligent networking of people, machines and production processes. According to managers, other Industry 4.0 related challenges include nationwide coverage with high-speed Internet (80%) and reaching agreement on unified global standards (81%). Deutsche Telekom's Cyber Security Report (pdf, 2.3 MB) (German only), prepared by Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research and Centre for Strategy and Higher Leadership, is now being published for the fourth consecutive year.

Industry 4.0 is an important issue for companies
Whereas only 38 percent of companies were familiar with the term Industry 4.0 in 2014, the figure has now doubled (74%). Yet less than a quarter of decision-makers (24%) has made a concerted effort on Industry 4.0. Surprisingly, however, nine out of ten (92%) see the fourth industrial revolution as a significant development for Germany as a place to do business. More than half (52%) believe that Industry 4.0 will be an important issue for their own business and 44 percent consider themselves well prepared. However, few well-prepared manufacturing companies see themselves at a competitive disadvantage. "Clearly manufacturing is the sector that has most to gain from Industry 4.0 solutions. Moreover, there is already a range of specific fields of application, particularly in machine-to-machine communication (M2M)," said Anette Bronder, Director of T-Systems’ Digital Division.

IT security concepts in production
More than half (53%) of manufacturing companies have already put specialized IT security concepts in place in their production as a result of increasing digitization. Forty-five percent have security solutions to protect data exchanges between production control and production. With good reason: because more than one third (36%) of German companies report being targeted by cyber criminals several times a week or even daily. Nine out of ten companies have already been the victim of computer attacks. "We must also assume that many attacks go unnoticed," said Bronder. "On average, it takes more than 220 days before an attack is even unearthed."

Companies feel secure
Despite the high number of attacks businesses seem to feel secure. Only 12 percent see a high risk of a hacker attack causing serious damage. In fact, 60 percent of decision-makers in business state that their IT is as well-prepared as possible against potential attacks. These statements confirm the observation that the feeling of being under threat is very closely correlated to specific incidents. If little happens or no spectacular cases come to light, then businesses ignore the risks because they are reluctant to get to grips with IT security in the first place.

Despite this, decision-makers believe that cyber attacks and data protection violations represent the greatest potential risk to the public in Germany. Of the top 10 risks, five fall into this category. The risk of computer viruses comes top with 70 percent followed by data fraud on the Internet with 67 percent. Concerns about care in old age and dementia come lower down (66%).

Expenditure on IT security has increased
Ninety-two percent of managers in medium and large companies say that IT security is treated as important or very important in their companies. Expenditure on IT security has risen substantially in some: 29 percent spend considerably more now than a year ago, almost half (49%) somewhat more. The belief that cloud services are insecure remains stubbornly high. Only 24 percent of managers view cloud computing as secure, meaning that trust in the cloud has hardly budged over the last five years. “This survey is proof of our strategy for developing secure business models for the cloud and thereby strengthen the trust in cloud services, “ Bronder stressed. “We believe that our combination of cloud services with strict German data protection rules will be somewhat exemplary for the market.”

Fifty-four percent of medium and large German businesses see increasing digitization and the requisite investments as a significant or very significant financial challenge. This is reflected in IT costs, which have risen across 85 percent of companies. It is interesting to note that, in terms of IT, almost a third (31%) of business are not sure what to invest in.

Representative study
The representative study commissioned by Deutsche Telekom and conducted Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research and Centre for Strategy and Higher Leadership is based on 645 telephone interviews. A representative cross-section of politicians (113 members of parliament) and senior managers from medium and large companies (532) were questioned between late August and early October.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.7 billion in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.