Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, is the evolution of interconnected, smart technologies throughout the manufacturing sector. Like previous industrial revolutions, it spills over from this sector to impact changes in processes and workflow in every area of the economy, from small businesses and retail shops to education, finance, real estate, legal, and other sectors.

With the internet and interconnectivity being at the foundation of this evolution, cybersecurity strategies must evolve too. Just as factories with new and exciting manufacturing equipment had to undergo staff training and be locked up at night, so businesses today need to ensure the highest levels of digital security.

What are the cybersecurity risks? 

  • Every connected device is a risk – Industry 4.0 relies on the collection of massive amounts of data from internal equipment, users, and systems as well as external third parties like vendors and suppliers. In addition, it also draws data from the digital economy, such as market trends, online customer interactions, and economic data. With every single thing being connected to every other thing, the threat landscape is becoming vast.
    It’s not just laptops, mobiles, and computers that can be hacked or compromised. It’s every piece of equipment on your network – your manufacturing assets, your supply chain assets… hell, even your coffee machine.
  • Minimal or evolving compliance – Every sector’s compliance needs are different, and the regulations themselves are in a state of flux. Meeting the minimum standards is not effective compliance if it results in a breach or attack that impacts productivity or sensitive data.
    Without robust and clear regulations and laws, risk mitigation has a high level of guesswork when it comes to this level of digitisation, especially in high-risk sectors with minimal digital regulations, such as manufacturing and supply chain. In fact, manufacturing recently became the top target for ransomware, with studies showing the sector accounting for 65% of attacks and being targeted 6 times more frequently than the number two sector.
  • Overlap of IT and OT – The boundaries between Information Technology and Operational Technology are increasingly blurred in Industry 4.0, especially with smart factories, digital twin simulations, smart warehouses, and automation. The challenge is finding and utilising cybersecurity protections that work across these two, previously separate sides of operations. The firewalls, multifactor authentication, and other barriers used to prevent access to IT aren’t usually going to work on OT, and vice versa.
    To be effective, cybersecurity needs to comprehensively protect digital and physical components as they work together and become more integrated, that protections work on all software and hardware systems, and close any gaps or areas where vulnerabilities can occur.

Develop the right strategy to get smart with manufacturing, product development, and more 

Digitisation is a simple concept that is incredibly complex in application, bringing isolated and digital assets together under new workflows using automation, active monitoring, and remote connectivity. But like the advent of electricity, it’s not a process that can be ignored.

The solution is to bring in Otto IT to guide, implement, and support your journey. With a proven track record in the manufacturing industry as well as small business, legal, education, and local government sectors, we take digitisation dreams and make them a reality. Our only KPI is your satisfaction.

, A Guide to Cybersecurity in the Age of Industry 4.0

Written by

Jordan Papadopoulos

Jordan is the Chief Commercial Officer at Otto. Jordan is here to help clients remove roadblocks and achieve the business goals they’ve set out. Jordan’s biggest focus is Customer Experience, Business Relationship Management, Risk Management and Strategy.