Taking action: the primary challenge facing industry

At the centre of the digital transformation, SCADA systems represent a double-edged sword, as they become more vulnerable when they are exposed to the outside world. In order to tackle this challenge, industry players have no choice but to take action.

SCADA systems are currently at the centre of a profound shift in the digital transformation. Despite the promises in store for the industrial sector, the recent raft of high-profile cyberattacks against these systems attests to their poor cybersecurity protections. When it comes to this issue, the primary challenge facing industry today is the need to take action. The question is not whether it should protect itself, but how.

Despite the promises in store for the industrial sector, the recent raft of high-profile cyberattacks against these systems attests to their poor cybersecurity protections.

The difficult task of incorporating cybersecurity into industry

Companies that have already begun their digital transformation will need to redefine their deployment procedures in order to incorporate cybersecurity. The goal in this case is to expand the operational infrastructure timetable by seamlessly introducing deployment phases for security solutions—a process made all the more difficult by the fact that OT systems (ICS/SCADA) lack the same constrains as conventional information systems (IT). Other companies, on the other hand, will be able to take a “cybersecurity-by-design” approach to their digital transformation. Here, the central goal is to incorporate security solutions more efficiently.

In addition to incorporating cybersecurity into the deployment planning process, a second fundamental mechanism for effectively securing SCADA systems is to educate employees about the issues at hand. This is best accomplished by getting IT and OT staff to communicate and share experiences with one another. Indeed, while technicians, operators and production managers are needed to handle the specific demands of SCADA systems—due in no small part to the design of the facilities and their operational requirements—it is also true that cybersecurity has traditionally been the purview of the team responsible for office communication systems. As such, dialogue and a good understanding of both approaches are key to successfully securing industrial facilities.

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About the author

Khobeib Benboubaker
Industry Business Line Manager, Stormshield

A graduate of CESI engineering school and holder of an ESCP Europe MBA, Khobeib began his career at Alcatel Lucent in the Submarine Network entity. His first love was the design of fibre optic systems for intercommunication between countries and operators. R&D engineer, international trainer, business engineer, then Business Unit Director: Khobeib wore many technical and business hats for a decade before coming to Stormshield. And following an initial post as Business Developer for the industrial security offering, he is now at the head of the Industrial Business Line to support the company's strategic ambitions for IT/OT cybersecurity.