IoT Security — Manufacturers to Hackers: “Come on in!”

IoT security seems to be less of a concern to manufacturers leaving them vulnerable to hackers. Here's what to do to generate profits from embedded intelligence and enhance companywide security.

Here’s some bad news: millions of sensors and controls on U.S. plant floors are more than a decade old. These outdated devices can’t support digitization and the industrial application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Here’s some even worse news: These antique devices are open doors for unauthorized access to manufacturing systems and data — which could lead to stolen corporate and customer information, crippled factories, or industrial disasters.

BI Intelligence estimates that there will be 34 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 (24 billion embedded devices and 10 billion smartphones, tablets, etc.), up from 10 billion in 2015; businesses will be the top adopters of IoT.[1]  If manufacturers rely on old plant-floor devices to make these connections, opportunities for hackers increase proportionally.

A majority of manufacturing executives are concerned about the security of IoT devices in general (although all of them should be). And a third say that the security of their corporate devices, network, and data is a challenge (although, again, they all face challenges). Yet many companies overlook far more obvious concerns. For example, 47 percent of manufacturers have no plans to adopt a policy for bring-your–own-devices (BYOD), which provide easy access to hackers.

No manufacturer can afford to ignore the IoT. But to generate profits from embedded intelligence and enhance companywide security, leaders must:

  • Establish a vision for IoT-enabled improvements in coordination with a companywide information security strategy.
  • Identify and systematically replace the most vulnerable and antiquated production devices (whether they are on the IoT critical path or not) to minimize risks.
  • Leverage secure IoT insights for improved productivity and profitability today and tomorrow.

How secure is your IoT future?

[1] John Greenough and Jonathan Camhi, The Internet of Things, BI Intelligence, 2016.

 

© 2017 The MPI Group

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