Fortinet: Protecting Manufacturing Plant & Operations

Protecting plant and manufacturing operations from the expanding attack surface

With nearly three-quarters of Operational Technology (OT) organisations experiencing at least one malware intrusion in the past year, plant and manufacturing operations are increasingly finding themselves in the crossfire of cyberattacks.

Fortinet identifies that to mitigate these attacks, organisations should evaluate prospective security solutions using several key criteria.

1. Leaders need to be sure their security technologies effectively control network access while preventing lateral movement.

2. Look for security solutions that integrate to eliminate information silos and rescue staff time.

3. Make sure that each solution is specifically designed to support the protocols and capabilities in plant operations and manufacturing environments.

Manufacturing Organisations Need to Modernise Security Solutions

Many manufacturers use supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to keep track of industrial processes.

Collecting data from sensors, these systems incorporate that data into industrial control systems (ICS) used to manage operational systems.

As SCADA and ICS become more sophisticated in their ability to leverage data from various types of sensors. They are also being used by third-party firms; 64% of OT organisations give third-party IT vendors complete or high-level access, which requires connection to the corporate IT network.

In addition to this, increasingly, leaders are putting control systems online; 35% of participants said that over half of their OT systems and devices are connected to the internet, with almost 1 in 10 having all their OT systems and devices internet-connected.

However, despite these trends, 64% of OT organisations struggle to keep up with the pace of change, with security being an area that needs attention.

“Fortunately, the right combination of security technologies can enable plant operations and manufacturing leaders to manage these risks,” says Fortinet, who recommends following its five considerations:

1. Deploy Effective Controls Over Network Access

2. Minimise the Attack Surface

3. Eliminate Silos to Improve Security Effectiveness

4. Improve Visibility andAutomation5.Ensure That Security Solutions Are OT-compatible

“Plant operations and manufacturing leaders put their organisations at risk when they have not established a security strategy that covers OT systems. With the erasure of the air gap between OT and IT, and the proliferation of industrial IoT devices, the challenges—and risks—have never been greater,” says Fortinet.

“Given that most manufacturing systems have been in place for a decade or more, security was not designed in from the initial installation. With modernization initiatives driving more internet connectivity of these systems, they are now exposed to an expanded attack surface increasing risk. In response, plant operations and manufacturing leaders need to revise their security architecture to one that employs comprehensive network access controls, prevents unauthorised lateral movement through the network, delivers transparent visibility and centralised controls, and is purpose-built for OT environments.”

To find out more about Fortinet’s five recommendations, read the full guide here.

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