Published on May 15th, 2020
Cybersecurity is currently one of the main risks facing the valve market, and it is not an issue that can be solved by other parties besides the target victim.
And this involves business leaders, engineers, as well as the information technology (IT) personnel across the workforce.
The convergence of IT along with operational technology (OT) has presented new cyber risks to process control environments, such as the possibility of remote actors stealing data, intruding operations, and causing hazards to machines and the people around them.
Keep on reading as we further discuss the essence of cybersecurity and its importance to process controls.
A common misconception is that cybersecurity matters can be easily handled by experts in the IT department.
They are expected to find a quick technical fix to a technical problem. The idea is that if the technology is fixed, the problem will go away.
To get a better view of what the misconception is all about, let’s provide an analogy. A timely example is the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is like believing that the coronavirus disease will be contained by deploying more doctors – since it is a medical problem, right? But the real countermeasures are the hygienic behaviors that should be exercised by the large population, like social distancing, regular handwashing, or using custom hand sanitizer.
Although healthcare practitioners play a crucial role, they cannot contain the pandemic by themselves.
Similarly, cybersecurity is an ecosystem challenge seeking for an ecosystem response. As such, several security measures needed to protect the business are associated with reinforcing technical measures.
While some technical measures may seem sophisticated, they are essential to security in a similar way that proper hygiene is crucial to biomedical security.
Cybersecurity’s Merit In Essentials
The trouble and confusion about cybersecurity are understandable, especially given the relative newness of the topic for most working professionals.
Also, there are many things to process in the form of news reports, products and services, regulatory requirements, internal policies, and the countless options available for budget-constrained businesses.
However, the data consistently gives ideas about what should be done to avoid breaches.
For example, the majority of cyber incidents from a 2016 Verizon data breach report exposed known vulnerabilities that have known solutions.
What happened was that the attackers compromised the enterprise by exposing a publicly known software vulnerability for which a patch was accessible.
What’s more is the weakness of configurations where the software settings are left in an exposed state, instead of modifying to reduce any exploitation.
In that event, cybersecurity frameworks, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework and Center for Internet Security (CIS), exist.
These two outline the foundational security controls every company needs to implement.
When it comes to the safety of industrial automation and control systems, the International Society of Automation/International Electronic Commission (ISA/IEC)-62443 has a well-developed set of guideline publications.
Cybersecurity In Securing People
Humans remain the most susceptible in any enterprise, but also – they are the greatest asset. They are needed to design, structure, and manage process control systems.
Human behavior has a significant impact on the state of security than any other factor.
This is the reason why cybersecurity is a company-wide challenge requiring cross-functional interdisciplinary feedback where everyone in the organization should perform basic security-oriented tasks.
For instance, all employees must protect their authentication information. This means using particular work-specific password phrases for important accounts and, if possible, using multi-factor authentication methods.
Much of safety protocols are guided by mindset. Being cautious, having awareness, and reporting suspicious behavior can have immense significance on the state of security across an enterprise.
Human Behavior Is A Cultural Phenomenon
The culture, including business organizational culture, builds values that drive the behavior and construe acceptable norms.
To establish a cybersecurity culture, the organization should engage in pro-active culture-building.
This needs strong leadership, effective governance, performance management, education and training, and collective learning from mistakes.
Occupational security is the primary component of organizational culture in industries with process control systems. In the same way that human behavior has become more security-oriented in current decades, so can human behavior become more cyber secure.
Business leaders are essential to take the first step in understanding cybersecurity well enough to make informed executive decisions, associate cyber risks into the broader sector risk management process, build a cyber-secure culture, and hire the right personnel.
This implies that even in automated environments, nothing happens on its own – it requires careful planning and execution, so do cybersecurity measures.