The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which refers to the use of intelligent devices in the business sector, has multiplied in recent years.
Now, commonplace tools are equipped with sophisticated sensors and trackers—all of which need to be kept secure from malicious actors.
IIoT security is critical because if hackers access the system that controls your production, they can wreak havoc on your business.
Fortunately, security solutions exist to help you keep your connections safe every step of the way.
You can’t leave it to chance when it comes to the physical components that drive your business—you need to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the security options available.
This article looks at the basics of IIoT security, why it matters for your company, and critical elements that you should put in place to protect yourself.
What is IIoT security?
Industrial IoT security is a broad term for any type of security that protects your network of intelligent items.
IIoT security might be an extra firewall to protect your network, specific access controls that keep just anyone from accessing powerful machines and robots, or sophisticated encryption and monitoring that quickly identifies when a device or network has been hijacked.
Regardless of what form it takes, Industrial IoT security has one goal: to make sure your technology works for you, rather than giving hackers easy access to the essential parts of your business.
Why is IIoT security important?
Industrial IoT security is important because it recognizes that security vulnerabilities have changed. It protects against dangerous and potentially deadly attacks that can destroy equipment, disrupt operations, and even directly harm workers.
In the past, you could keep your machines and equipment safe by installing good locks and keeping your warehouse secure.
Now, your machines are connected to the outside world, so hackers don’t need a physical key to tamper with your most important equipment. Instead, they can deactivate security protocols and destroy machines from miles away.
There are many real-world examples of companies suffering huge losses from IIoT hacks.
Take the 2014 attack on a German steel mill, where hackers got access to the company’s network and essentially used the smart elements of the steel machines to make them self-destruct.
The hackers were able to tap into advanced systems and block security features. The resulting explosion was not just costly but extremely dangerous.
Another more common example of the danger of weak IIoT security is a “Devil’s Ivy” attack.
A hacker could gain access to a smart item in your office, like a security camera. With Devil’s Ivy, the hacker could use the connection the item has to your router to get login information, attack your router, and change network settings at will.
IIoT security protects the virtual key to your network of devices and should be top of mind for every business owner with this type of infrastructure.
The key elements in IIoT
To keep your IIoT safe, you need to know the key elements of the technology to adequately protect each one. Here are the four important aspects of IIoT:
These are the basic building blocks of IIoT, the elements that allow ordinary machines, cameras, and devices to stay connected.
Routers, passwords, and network connections are often overlooked when it comes to protecting intelligent machines, but they’re just as important to keep safe. If a hacker gets access to your infrastructure, they can wreak havoc on any items that are connected.
Analytics is the process of taking the elements of IIoT and turning them into action. Analytics optimize systems and predict when a machine might experience downtime.
While it’s easy to lose sight of the human element, people are still an important part of Industrial IoT.
People program the systems, use the data, and run the smart things. It’s important that all people who might have access to the network are properly trained and vetted to minimize security vulnerabilities through human error.
The difference between IoT and IIoT
Industrial IoT is a subset of the broader Internet of Things.
General IoT refers to any system of smart devices, whether it’s your remote doorbell, virtual home assistant, or self-powered vacuum. Industrial IoT is the intersection of this smart technology and the business world.
IIoT often (though not always) involves larger machines and pieces of equipment, all used for an industrial purpose.
Thus, while regular IoT security practices might sometimes overlap with Industrial IoT security, it’s essential to make sure you’re protecting your systems with targeted security measures rather than relying on general practices.
IIoT is growing increasingly popular, and it’s a great way to boost production, increase efficiency, and decrease downtime.
However, connected systems have their downsides, and without well-implemented security, you’re vulnerable to dangerous attacks that can take down your production capabilities or steal sensitive data.
Keep your IIoT systems safe and sound by using a trusted security partner like Expedient Technology Solutions.Ready to keep your network secure? Contact us today to get started!