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Just as you start getting used to the idea of shifting from serial communications to Industrial Ethernet connectivity, operational technology demands are changing yet again.
For utility companies trying to get more agile and flexible through Industrial Ethernet, connectivity has to evolve even further to accommodate the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Because believe it or not, we’re closer to smart cities than you might think.
However, there’s a dark side to connectivity—the rising tide of security threats.
If security is such a concern for the Industrial Internet of Things, you might think it would be easier to forge ahead with more basic Industrial Ethernet connectivity. The problem is that the benefits and value of IIoT are starting to outweigh our security concerns. These benefits include:
These benefits (and others) are driving the Industrial Internet of Things forward whether we like it or not. But while no company wants to experience a cyber attack, the life-and-death nature of attacks on utility infrastructure reduces the margin for error virtually to zero.
David Meltzer, CTO of Tripwire, put the IIoT double-edged sword into perspective in a recent report on industrial security concerns:
There are only two ways this scenario plays out: Either we change our level of preparation or we experience the realization of these [security] risks. The reality is that cyber attacks in the industrial space can have significant consequences in terms of safety and the availability of critical operations.
According to the survey results from over 400 IT professionals who work in security, the dark side of IIoT connectivity is going to pose problems moving forward:
Cyber attacks against connected “things” aren’t just theories—they’re actually happening. Just look at what happened in October 2016 when a network of IoT devices were hacked as part of a DDoS attack that took down many of the world’s largest websites. What’s stopping attackers from hacking your IIoT deployments?
Before you dive headfirst into the smart grid, you have to make sure you have a plan for smarter security. This means establishing a visibility-first architecture that ensures your security appliances and applications see every bit, byte and packet® that moves throughout your network.
Jerry Dillard leverages two decades in design and engineering to ensure maximum performance within today’s network environments. Dillard, as the inventor of the Bypass Network Test Access Point (TAP), has secured his legacy as he continues to provide network solutions for data centers worldwide.