Industry 4.0 and cybersecurity – How to protect your investment

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NIST June '24 Blog graphic

In a blog originally posted on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website, authored by Pat Toth in June, 2024, the importance of cybersecurity in the context of Industry 4.0 for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) is discussed.

The blog highlights that while Industry 4.0 offers significant benefits for SMMs, it also introduces new cybersecurity challenges. As manufacturers invest in automation and equipment monitoring, they must prioritize cybersecurity to protect their critical systems and data.

Key points from the blog include:

  1. The blurring of lines between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) creates new vulnerabilities.
  2. Manufacturers must secure their OT systems to prevent disruptions in production processes and protect sensitive information.
  3. Cybersecurity considerations should include securing OT access points, addressing vulnerabilities in customized software and legacy systems, and implementing secure backups.
  4. Creating a cybersecurity-aware culture through risk assessments and employee training is crucial.
  5. Managing remote access securely is essential to prevent unauthorized system entry.

The blog uses a fictional company, AthCo, to illustrate potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in an Industry 4.0 environment. It emphasizes that manufacturers should approach cybersecurity as a critical component of their Industry 4.0 strategy, similar to how they prioritize physical security for their facilities.

Pat Toth, the author, has over 30 years of experience in cybersecurity and has worked on various NIST cybersecurity guidance documents. This blog is part of a series on cybersecurity and Industry 4.0, providing valuable insights for manufacturers navigating the challenges of digital transformation.

Read the entire blog here.

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