The Knight in Shining Armor: Identity Security in Manufacturing Cybersecurity

April 19, 2024 Christian Goetz

Rendering of a digital fortress to accompany blog about manufacturing cybersecurity.

In the throes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the manufacturing sector stands at the crossroads of groundbreaking innovation and an ever-growing shadow of cyberthreats. IT modernization has created digital fortresses by transforming legacy manufacturing systems and operations into connected, smart factories – the demand for robust cybersecurity measures has never been more critical. Identity security acts as a noble knight armed with a sword and shield in the ongoing battle against digital adversaries. It can help to give manufacturing cybersecurity leaders the strategic advantage needed to help safeguard their domains.

The Dawn of a New Era in Manufacturing Cybersecurity

Envision the digital landscape of manufacturing as a vast kingdom. Alive with innovation and growth, this realm faces relentless threats from digital hackers eager to exploit any vulnerability. The merging of the Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) has unveiled new gateways for cyber intruders, transforming cybersecurity from a mere concern to the bedrock of manufacturing resilience.

Graphical image of a cyberattack chain, along with a breakdown of five elements: credential theft; malicious actors; lateral and vertical movement; privilege escalation and abuse; actions on objectives.

The introduction of smart factory technologies also carries a double-edged sword. It propels us toward unmatched efficiency and connectivity and widens the battlefield, necessitating fortified defenses.

The Vanguard of Manufacturing Cybersecurity

In this evolving arena, identity security solutions emerge as the knight in shining armor, equipped to protect the realm’s digital and physical assets. By tackling the core challenges of privileged access management (PAM), endpoint security, secure remote access, credentials and overarching compliance, identity security doesn’t merely defend – it empowers manufacturers to secure their innovation processes, uphold operational integrity and nurture trust among customers and partners alike.

Solutions for Manufacturing’s Greatest Cybersecurity Challenges

To fortify your manufacturing operations, understand the evolving realm and digital attack landscape. Start with a comprehensive audit of your assets to assess their maturity and interconnectivity. As manufacturing merges more with digital technologies, vulnerabilities may increase, particularly through legacy systems and complex supply chains. The most successful business transformations come from prioritizing cyber-safety within your organizational culture, fostering a shift toward recognizing the critical role of digital technologies in traditional manufacturing environments.

Implementing such strategic measures is vital for protecting your kingdom, maintaining operational integrity and gaining a competitive edge. With these foundations, there is a clear path for safeguarding your operations with the assistance of an identity security knight.

Here are some essential strategies that can help to achieve this:

  • The quest for authorized access. PAM systems can help to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive systems and data – the keys to the kingdom. These systems act as gatekeepers, verifying identities and enforcing access policies to protect against unauthorized entry and the spread of ransomware and malware.
  • Guardians of the OT environments. Endpoint security solutions are essential for protecting the operational efficiencies of manufacturing environments. These solutions defend against the dark arts of malware and other cyberthreats, ensuring the continuity of production processes and the safety of critical data.
  • The bridge to secure remote access. With increased remote operations, secure remote access solutions are vital for maintaining secure connections to core business systems. Proper remote access lets in authorized users (aka friendly traders and countrymen) and disallows non-authorized users – and cyberthreats – from accessing privileged systems, helping you remain secure and private.
  • The isolated access to OT. Effective management of both human and non-human credentials is critical to securing sensitive systems. However, some legacy machines and systems can’t or won’t be changed. By providing authorized and authenticated users with isolated, secure access (aka fortress trenches and tunnels) to those machines or systems in OT environments, businesses can help mitigate risks.
  • A guide through compliance and risk management. Navigating the treacherous waters of regulatory requirements and cybersecurity risks requires robust identity security solutions. These solutions assist in managing compliance effectively, reducing risks and ensuring that the business remains protected and compliant.

Exploring Strategies for Enhanced Future Security

In an era where digital innovation and cybersecurity threats advance hand in hand, standing still is not an option. Your journey toward a more secure manufacturing operation begins with a single, crucial step: enhancing your identity security.

Discover how a comprehensive identity security solution has helped Coca-Cola Europacific partners create a robust defense against attacks that brought them closer to being the world’s most digitized bottling operation, all because they now have a 360-degree view of privileged access activities.

Christian Goetz is a director of presales success at CyberArk.

Editor’s note: Attackers constantly set their sights on any aspect vulnerable to an organization. To explore how you can build a defense-in-depth approach to securing all human and non-human identities across OT systems, check out our webinar, “13 Ways to Improve OT Security.” And, for a dive into OT cybersecurity and its challenges and opportunities, listen to our Trust Issues podcast conversation with Mike Holcomb, the Fellow of Cybersecurity and the ICS/OT Cybersecurity Lead at Flour. You can check it out in the player below or wherever you get your podcasts.

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