Monday, 04 February 2019 11:27

Global supply chain vulnerable to cyber security risks: report

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Global supply chain vulnerable to cyber security risks: report Image courtesy of HYWARDS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two-thirds of businesses in the global supply chain admit that they need to strengthen their cyber security defences and do more to prevent data mishandling by their own staff, according to recent research from satellite communications company Inmarsat.

Inmarsat says in its report that enterprises recognise their approaches to cyber security must be strengthened, but are not yet taking the practical steps to safeguard their Industrial Internet of Things deployments.

And, according to Inmarsat, enterprises found that, worryingly, just 33% of supply chain businesses are investing in new security technologies and only 29% have sought specialist support to protect their IoT solutions.

The study, which surveyed 750 businesses across the global supply chain, revealed that two-thirds (66%) of respondents reported that their processes to combat cyber security threats could be stronger, and 68% said more could be done to protect against data mishandling.

However, despite recognising the enhanced security threats of Industrial IoT, just 33% have invested in new security technologies and only 29% have partnered with security specialists for assistance, indicating that not enough is being done to secure operations.

The study found that one driver for this response is a lack of relevant skills, with 56% of respondents reporting that they lacked staff with cyber security skills to deliver their Industrial IoT deployments.

Tara MacLachlan, vice-president for Industrial IoT at Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “While Industrial IoT presents immensely exciting possibilities for enterprises across the global supply chain, it also increases the risk that they will face cyber security issues, and our research suggests that they are unprepared for these risks.

“A network is only secure as its weakest point, and with Industrial IoT increasing the potential surface area for cyber attacks, enterprises must ensure that they harden every element of their IoT deployments. Without secure Industrial IoT networks, enterprises may leave themselves open to cyber attacks designed to cripple industrial machinery, ransomware or industrial espionage.  

“Truly secure Industrial IoT deployments must have security built in from the ground up. This must include secure access management, secure execution environments, enhanced data encryption, and smart validation and authentication between sensors, gateways, and the software orchestration platform.

“As we have seen from the results of this study, not every enterprise has the skills or technology capabilities to ensure an IoT solution is secure from end-to-end. Enterprises need to collaborate with specialist providers who can offer a fully managed IoT service that considers security at every stage, from the edge sensors, to the gateways and orchestration platforms, to the connectivity and networks themselves.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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