* Written by Walter Ezequiel Troncoso, CEO of Inove Solutions
Previously a secondary focus of industrial sector investments in Brazil, information technology (IT) and cyber security have gained prominence. Improvements in information technology, issues such as the General Data Protection Regulation (LGPD), automation and digital transformation, among others, have moved administrators like never before. The goal is to be on the cutting edge of technology, and live up to the term “Industry 4.0”. In practice, I note that these points can not be limited to the (core) areas of the company, but must also extend to the factory floor, to the manufacturing area.
As an essential step in the organization of information technology in companies (including industry), is the need to deeply understand the weaknesses in their systems structures and protect themselves against potential and real threats of virtual attacks. However, sometimes, consideration of security issues does not include all processes, especially production ones.
In this context, for example, while corporate sectors receive the best computers, with updated software, and work under warranty, the factory floor may still rely on outdated systems and networks to send simple email. In systems integrators, the vulnerability of a manufacturing part affects the entire industrial sector, often causing irreparable damage. Sometimes there is a lack of proper structure, pilot projects or even an understanding of the need to design a plant in a consistent manner between the engineering and IT sectors.
I see more and more cyber threats against the industry. According to IBM research, the sector was the target of 20% of attacks in Brazil in 2021, bypassing banks. A recent report on OT/IoT Security Trends by Nozomi Networks indicated that industries are being targeted by hackers due to the increased connectivity between more diverse systems, resulting in a huge volume of exposed and vulnerable data.
The Industrial Internet Security Trend Report, released by NSFOCUS, concluded that while digital transformation has advanced technology in recent years, it should boost cyber-attack threats against industries in Latin America by 57%. According to the study, attacks on industrial control systems increased by 43% in 2021 compared to 2020, especially in the aviation, electric power, government, petrochemicals and health sectors.
The truth is that industries suffer from invasion attempts all the time, and the lack of a culture of organizations to deliver requirements such as a solid and secure network infrastructure, integrated with production systems, makes attacks devastating, depending on the level of vulnerability exploited. Potential “trouble” for this sector could be related to information management, big data, inventory management, or network and cloud infrastructure, for example.
How do you know if a business is protected
In Japan, a suspected cyber attack on a supplier of plastic parts and electronic components brought production lines to a halt at 14 Toyota plants this year. Cyber insecurity has raised concerns about supply chain vulnerabilities in the Japanese economy and caused massive damage to the automaker, which lost about 13,000 vehicles in the shutdown.
A modern data protection strategy that combines cybersecurity defenses with a comprehensive approach to data backup and disaster recovery can be implemented through fruitful collaboration between IT and an expert cybersecurity partner.
Discovering the level of maturity of the industry in terms of digital security is complex, but possible. It is necessary to map factories and offices, identify connected devices, available network points, critical vulnerabilities, and track accurate IT diagnostics.
About Walter Ezequiel Troncoso – Co-Founder of Inove Solutions, a startup specializing in digital transformation and cybersecurity through high-tech solutions, Walter is an Information Systems Engineer, trained at Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (UTN), and an Engineer in SAP Solutions. With solid experience building large-scale infrastructure and emerging technologies in markets in Latin America, the United States, Germany, France and Australia, Walter applies best practices in IT, team and project management. Prior to founding Inove, he held leadership positions at TMF Group, Cast Group, Wipro Limited, Petrobras, Farmoquímica and SAP. His full profile can be accessed at https://www.linkedin.com/in/waltertroncoso/.