Securing the Industrial Internet of Things

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IIoT gives opportunities to manufacturers regarding improved productivity, efficiency, product quality and customer satisfaction. It is desirable by network-enabled manufacturing floors and smart infrastructures as gathering critical, influential and actionable information is important in IIoT. But, as devices connected to the internet are becoming trendier across the industries, privacy and security problems are arising.

The Internet of Things triggers a paradigm shift in manufacturing and creates transformation opportunities to machines, factory conditions, convergences of IT and operational technologies, and the use of smart applications. Companies are using IoT to streamline processes, improves performance and to be able to diagnose the machine health status. Smart devices and sensor systems allow them to track assets, monitor the movement of goods and evaluate machine conditions.

By adapting the Industrial Internet of Things, manufacturers become more customer-service-centric. The intelligence provided by IoT system gives more flexibility to meet customer needs. Therefore, customers will be the center of attention in the manufacturing operations outlook. Also, IoT enables to take actions to predict and fix problem as soon as possible. With all of this, more and more companies started taking advantage of connected systems.

In the old days, manufacturing was all made in-house but only a few decades ago, manufacturing was outsourced to cost-efficient countries. But, as industrial automation and smart devices are increasing, local companies are becoming interested in bringing back the manufacturing process to their own control. Hereby, the biggest advantage of connected manufacturing or in-house production is the ability to control the security and business process.

In addition, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies are making the manufacturing supply chains more agile, more dynamic and more complex. Traditional retailers are adapting IoT solutions to gain better visibility on the demand and supply chains, to reduce inconsistencies and optimize product flows.

Finally, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to manage cybersecurity risks for smart manufacturing or critical infrastructures. Internet of Things systems come with unique attacks and threats, although IT standard security concepts still apply. Special consideration needs to be given to the unique requirements and constraints of the environment. Securing the whole environment of connected devices in manufacturing requires a detailed understanding of the end-to-end process, including the key characteristic that supply chains put security as their priority. The more checkpoints added into the manufacturing process, the more the potential cybersecurity risk is reduced.