Due to the Internet of Things (IoT) and interconnected technologies influencing manufacturing, we’ve now entered industry 4.0. “Industry 4.0 embraces digital and physical interactions while keeping reliability, safety and security top of mind,” said Robert Herjavec, Founder & CEO of global cybersecurity operations leader, Herjavec Group and a leading investor an ABC’s Emmy award-winning hit show Shark Tank. However, as manufacturing embraces the digital transformation, industrial cybersecurity must be a key priority.

Secure by 2022

However, it appears that progress to secure operational technology (OT) environments is moving slowly. While Gartner predicts that by 2022 half of asset-centric organizations will have digital security risk strategies in place to address IoT security impacts on IT and OT — up from 10 percent in 2017 — that means half of those organizations won’t have strategies in place.

“We all have process and compliance requirements to meet,” he said, “but when I consider an asset-heavy organization that has to control multimillion dollar automotive machinery as an example, I want to ensure that the risks of operating that device have been considered.”

He suggested that organizations start at the beginning when planning their security strategy. “They’ve got to know what they’re trying to protect, have an idea of what their end state will look like and build their plans with a security first approach,” he continued. “There is no time to delay here.”

Protecting manufacturing from potential vulnerabilities

A cyber attack on a critical infrastructure facility can cost the company millions of dollars, but what about the costs to the community that will suffer loss of services?

"As manufacturing embraces the digital transformation, industrial cybersecurity must be a key priority."

The real dollar amount is a figure that no one wants to find out through real-life experience. That’s why Herjavec recommended manufacturers follow the industry 4.0 initiative and embrace cybersecurity as part of their design and operations.