Construct intelligent, secure, and automated production processes that integrate OT with IT to identify and eliminate potential problems — while also protecting employee health and safety.
Humans and machines in industry have a complicated relationship. As manufacturing evolved through four revolutions, any tension factory workers may have felt toward their mechanized usurpers could be easily justified. It is true that robots took jobs…often dangerous, repetitive and thankless jobs, but jobs, nonetheless.
Now, Industry 5.0 is upon us, bringing with it the promise of closer collaboration between humans and their smart robotic counterparts – or “cobots” as some call them. New thinking reasons that instead of replacing all people with machines and sensors, the manufacturing sector needs humans for their critical thinking skills and adaptability. Still, they’ll be tirelessly supported by machines that can take on endless precision work and/or dangerous physical tasks.
So where does this leave information technology? Simple. Modern manufacturing relies on stable — yet elastic – infrastructures that support operational technology. IT must help OT make the collection, analysis and application of data fast and predictive. Information technology, in the cloud or on premises, must make manufacturing smart, agile — and secure.
Piece by piece, Structured understands how to assemble predictive and performant IT infrastructures that allow manufacturers to connect systems, maximize insights, and capitalize on inflection points in their operational processes – all while looking out for the safety of their human workforce.
Discussing Digital Disruption in Manufacturing
Manufacturers must invest in IT in order to connect and protect sensors and systems, manage proliferating data, and ward off unplanned downtime. Modern production systems increase efficiency and productivity by enhancing communication between operational technology and information technology. Finally, during this pandemic (and beyond), protecting the health of the nation’s essential workers is more important than ever. Health monitoring technologies for back offices and plant floors are a wise addition for this critical sector.
Employee Health & Safety
Several digital technologies are now widely available to ensure safer public spaces. They facilitate near-effortless individual screening – even in crowds. Powerful analytics embedded in these technologies detect health risks in real time, such as an elevated body temperature, insufficient handwashing techniques, or even a cluster of too many people in a too-small space. In addition to protecting public health, they also protect personally identifiable information (PII) with encryption, password protection and even technology like 3D Lidar. Consider implementing the systems below to ensure your production systems don’t suffer unplanned downtime due to employee illness:
• Proactive Elevated Body Temperature Detection Sensing
• Social Distancing Monitoring
• Automated Hand-Washing Monitoring
Wi-Fi & Connectivity
Interconnecting sensors, machines and systems is necessary to optimize and maximize performance and workflow in manufacturing plants. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) relies on robust WLANs that capitalize on the enhanced capabilities offered by the 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standard. Similarly, ensuring optimal performance across the WAN is also key to protecting the entire manufacturing process. Make sure your plant stays connected and streamlined by investing in necessary upgrades to WLAN, LAN and WAN architectures.
One side effect of IIoT is data proliferation. Just as information security teams can suffer from alert fatigue without proper analytics in place, systems operations teams in manufacturing can similarly suffer from information overload generated by IIoT. Poorly managed data poses a real threat to manufacturing.
Whereas predictive analytics inherent in Industrial Control Systems (ICS) — and the correlating Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems — are effective at identifying and mitigating disruptions to plant operations, the lack of such systems can be financially ruinous. A majority of manufacturers report that that the cost of a single hour of downtime starts at $100,000 — and escalates significantly from there.
Ensure your cloud- and premises-based IT infrastructure – networking, compute, storage and security – can deal with data proliferation and its attendant requirements for AI, ML and blockchain built into next-generation ICS and SCADA.
Security & Compliance
As OT and IT converge in manufacturing, internet-connected sensors and operational systems like ICS and SCADA are increasingly used as attack vectors for critical systems. Security professionals in manufacturing need to protect every endpoint on the network – not just those used in administrative systems for back office processes. Zero Trust constructs like network microsegmentation, identity and access management, intrusion detection and prevention, and automated policy enforcement can provide a much-needed assist to traditional security tools like firewalls and anti-malware solutions. Plus, regular patching is key.
However, how these systems are set up is of equal importance to their existence. As manufacturing and critical infrastructure is especially impacted by downtime – including unintentional downtime not caused by breach – making sure that traffic is not impeded by the very tools designed to protect it is essential. Rooting out systems that generate overwhelming false positives or block legitimate traffic is something security professionals in this sector must do. Here, too, Structured can help.
When considering security tools for manufacturing plants, don’t overlook physical security like cameras, automatic door locks, and BLE-enabled tech like access badges. Structured has partnered with security firms offering plug and play video surveillance solutions that seamlessly integrate with cloud-based access control to save organizations on server, storage, and maintenance costs. These systems also provide remote accessibility, powerful analytics and live alerting during unusual activity.
Because of its essential nature, manufacturing is subject to numerous regulatory compliance requirements. Structured’s GRC team specializes in the services this industry needs to pass rigorous audits and protect the integrity of systems. Contact us today to discuss vulnerability assessments, policy creation, and penetration testing.
Structured has a full complement of compliance services for the manufacturing industry, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, control validation, and regulatory gap analysis/compliance audits.
Consider working with us to meet regulatory requirements for:
NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF)
A subset of security controls from NIST 800-53 that typically apply to critical infrastructure such as telecommunications, utilities, transportation, and other important services.
Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls
Originally formed in late 2000 as a response to growing cyber threats, the Center for Internet Security began to crowdsource a prioritized set of actions to protect organizations and data from known cyber attack vectors. The organizing principle was to provide clarity into the lifecycle of attacks and then offer a concrete plan of 20 counteractions, or controls, that realistically could be implemented by organizations of all sizes. Today, the CIS Controls provide global standards for internet security and best practices for securing IT systems and data against attacks.
Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)
CMMC is a compliance framework that is applicable to government contractors in the supply chain. Currently it applies to contractors of DoD, but may expand to other departments in the future. The information that is to be secured is Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
Sets requirements for any organizations “that store, process or transmit cardholder data.”
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Bridge the Gap
Experience, People, Processes and Technologies since 1992
Discover what’s possible. The digital age is creating enormous opportunities for organizations to innovate, automate, and grow — and technology is the springboard. Embrace the digital age and transform your business with Structured.