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EdgeIR Fireside Chat: Rockwell on strategies for addressing OT security challenges

Ongoing security incidents in areas such as manufacturing have prompted a number of governments to take steps to promote better security practices. In episode 17 of the Edge Industry Review Fireside Chat interview series, EdgeIR spoke with Ahmik Hindman, a senior network and security solution consultant at Rockwell, about cybersecurity’s importance in manufacturing operations.

Recent research conducted for Rockwell Automation by Sapio Research suggests that cybersecurity risks such as ransomware and phishing are the sixth biggest external risk to business success. To gain real-time insight into operations, manufacturers must digitize operations, which presents some challenges.

IT and security teams in manufacturing businesses overlook IT/OT convergence risks. Hindman explains that he works with customers to help secure their industrial control systems and uses that data to make business decisions. He also notes the necessity of connecting the OT part of the business with the IT part to understand operations and inventory.

Traditional manufacturing businesses have done a good job of managing assets; they’ve also implemented basic protection with firewalls and deep packet inspection. That said, there is often no segmentation between business systems and OT systems, according to Hindman. This can cause problems as OT systems are often unpatched and can be easily infected by ransomware.

Hindman noted that strategies for mitigation include patching and monitoring systems, as well as having segmentation between OT and business systems. These steps will help to reduce the risk of an attack and keep systems secure.

Other mitigation strategies for ransomware that he suggested include adopting a defense-in-depth architecture, which includes looking at implementing network policies, compute services and endpoint detection.

Regarding regulation, Hindman suggests that government agencies should play a role in mandating security and reporting efforts and that this practice can help private industry adopt better security strategies. The reporting regulations and financial penalties proposed by the SEC will encourage action, Hindman believes.

Show timestamps

2:44 Balancing security and utilizing data in manufacturing control systems

4:59 Discussion on mitigation strategies for ransomware protection in heterogeneous environments

11:42 Discussion on cybersecurity strategies and cyber insurance in manufacturing

13:37 The role of insurance companies and other regulatory drivers for OT security

15:35 Security and risk assessments become part of Rockwell’s service portfolio


You can view the video on YouTube here and on Vimeo here.

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