Putting the “secure” into smart manufacturing

It’s no secret that the advent of Industry 4.0 brings with it almost as many challenges as it does opportunities.  Connected, smart manufacturers and digital supply chains are exposed to new risks through the very technology that enables and underpins these operations.

But CEO of AustCyber, Michelle Price, says that Australian manufacturers in particular are in a strong position to capitalise on domestic cyber security solutions and turn these operational risks into opportunities for competitive advantage.

Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber
Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber

“Industry 4.0 is all about connected, smart manufacturing, responsive supply networks, and tailored products and services,” said Price.

“Manufacturing processes and equipment are increasingly being controlled via interconnected technologies – the very essence of Industry 4.0 – which increases the company’s reliance on third party equipment and networked solutions and introduces greater cyber security risks.  It has never been more important for manufacturing companies to take a ‘secure by design’ approach to the development of their products, which means paying close attention to processes, equipment and supply chains in addition to corporate information management.”

Connected equipment and devices are primary sources of data, and due to factors such as legacy systems and an emphasis on functionality at the peril of security, they are often designed without suitable security built-in and are therefore targets for malicious activity.

“Focusing on mitigating the risk inherent in legacy systems can have a significant positive impact in the cyber resilience of manufacturing companies. Operational technology environments have historically been isolated from other networks and have few safeguards. As these systems become integrated with business systems, not only is the attack surface increased, but they become more attractive targets for malicious actors who stand to gain access to both corporate and operational systems through a single cyber intrusion,” said Price.

Other key principles to ensure cyber security is considered at all stages of the manufacturing cycle include:

  • Collecting and distributing information in a way that preserves the integrity of the supply chain
  • Communicating with buyers – in particular on their requirements – via platforms that ensure data integrity and provenance
  • Securing manufacturing cyber-physical systems and maintaining a strong focus on adopting next generation operational technology
  • Ensuring information is segmented and available only to the staff who need access to complete the manufacturing process
  • Reducing end-user cyber risk by producing products that are secure-by-design – meaning cyber security has been considered at the very outset
  • Building an environment of trust within the ecosystem

Price said AustCyber, which was established by the Commonwealth Government and operates as Australia’s Cyber Security Growth Network, can help smart manufacturers understand how to use cyber security as an enabler, and connect them with Australian companies that offer an array of innovative, world-class solutions across operational technology and beyond.

“Taking a ‘secure by design’ approach can help build Australia’s competitive advantage, but manufacturers need to understand what this means and how to communicate the concept effectively to their marketplace. Communication activities that help buyers and consumers easily recognise products that have strong built-in security features is a sure way to differentiate your product.

“AustCyber works with hundreds of companies in the domestic cyber security industry and many have capabilities, products and services that are applicable to the manufacturing sector.  All it takes is an email to AustCyber and we will assist in designing an approach to cyber security that best suits your company and its business objectives.”

Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber will be speaking at Siemens’ annual digitalization conference, Digitalize 2018, which will be held in Melbourne on Wednesday 8 August 2018. For more details and to register, visit www.siemensdigitalize2018.com.