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IIoT and Industry 4.0 security challenges

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 enable a higher degree of automation, improve productivity and efficiency and bring economic benefits. But with the expansion of IIoT, new security concerns arise. To avoid the risk of opening up for cyberattacks, industries and enterprises adopting IIoT have to increase the level of protection.


What is IIoT?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to interconnected sensors, instruments, and networked devices connected to computers’ industrial applications. The connectivity allows for data collection, exchange, and analysis as well as a higher degree of automation by using cloud computing to refine and optimise the process controls.


IoT vs IIoT

What is the difference between IoT and IIoT? Both have the same main character of availability, intelligent and connected devices. The only difference is the usage and users. While IoT is commonly used by consumers, IIoT is used for industrial purposes such as manufacturing, supply chain monitoring and management systems.


Industry 4.0


IIoT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0) is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using modern smart technology. Large-scale machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are integrated for increased automation, improved communication and self-monitoring, and the production of smart machines that can analyse and diagnose issues without the need for human intervention. Without the connectivity and data that IIoT provides, Industry 4.0 would not exist, let alone impact efficiency.


What are the benefits of IIoT?

IIoT has many advantages. Here are the three most significant benefits:

  1. Increased productivity and efficiency – This new type of connectivity allows for data collection, exchange, and analysis, potentially improving productivity and efficiency.
  2. Improved quality – By reducing manual processes and entries, manufacturers can reduce the most significant risk associated with manual labour – human errors.
  3. Reduced costs – IIoT solutions offer tools to reduce costs and generate more revenue. Data-driven insights into operations, production, marketing, sales, etc. can steer business operations in a more profitable direction.


Security considerations when adopting IIoT

As IIoT expands, new security concerns arise. Each new device or component that connects to IIoT is a potential liability. It can be difficult to maintain security amid increased connectivity.

Failing to invest in cybersecurity can undermine the benefits of IIoT and Industry 4.0!


Unsecure IIoT systems can have considerable detrimental consequences, such as operational disruption and monetary loss.




How you should address the security challenges with IIoT

Many security problems associated with IIoT stem from a lack of basic security measures in place. Security gaps like exposed ports, inadequate authentication practices, and obsolete applications contribute to the emergence of risks.

To address this, solutions that can separate and control data flows are necessary. Deploying segmentation with high assurance solutions preserves physical separation between sensitive network systems while enabling completely secure communication. The result is high-level protection.
With this in place, logging security data is the next priority. By monitoring logins, failed login attempts, transactions, USB usage etc., effective preventive measures can be mapped out, and damage control can be taken without delay.

In short, the following solutions are necessary:

  • Physically separate IT and OT by using zoning
  • Use data diodes in the zone border for outbound data flows from OT
  • Apply allowlisting of information in the zone border


Advenica has extensive experience of solutions that can physically isolate networks yet securely exchange information. Our solutions enable accelerated digitalisation without jeopardising the accessibility and integrity of the OT systems.

Learn more about secure IT/OT integration by reading our solution description “Secure IT/OT integration”.

For more advice on how to address security challenges with IIoT, please contact us!

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