Even before everyone became familiar with the internet and networking, many industries and large-scale businesses were already using them. However, it doesn’t mean that all businesses have gone high-tech. Some are still having a go at industrial networks for the first time.
Nonetheless, whether you have a new industrial network or have had it ever since you started your business, you must protect it, and preferably, with the help of a computer security service firm. Otherwise, you could incur losses or even lose your reputation.
After all, cybercrimes have become rampant recently and for many reasons. Regardless of the reason for the potential attack that may hit your business or the state of your network, you may want to follow these ways to protect your industrial network.
1. Know the difference between industrial and traditional networks
Before you proceed in the following sections of this article or hire a cyber security services company, ensure that your business is running an industrial network instead of a traditional one (or just a regular enterprise network). To know which is which, ask your IT team or review how your systems in your business are connected. Here are some of the traits and qualities of an industrial network:
- Your network requires and transfers massive amounts of data.
- Your company connects many devices with different operating systems and bridges connections between multiple local area networks (LANs or ethernet connections) and the wide-area network (WAN or the internet).
- Your network serves other purposes than computers and the internet (e.g., supervising systems and other networks, connecting various infrastructures and equipment). (1)
If your network is industrial, your first step to protecting it is to initiate a review or audit. If your network is traditional, you can just try third-party cyber security solutions or enterprise security services, allow your IT department to handle your network’s security, and install software like Optus internet security suite on every device connected to your network.
Of course, that’s not a recommendation set in stone. Some companies using low-level or enterprise (note: low-level networks are different from an enterprise network) networks may benefit from the following methods mentioned here and be treated as an industrial network instead.
2. Review and audit your industrial network
Before looking for an IT security services company, you must review your industrial network and the current measures to protect your system. You should perform network audits as well.
Look at all the devices connected to your network and networking equipment. Are they secure by design, or are they consumer-grade or legacy equipment?
By the way, secure by design equipment is now becoming common. Unlike legacy equipment or old Internet of Things (IoT) devices, they’re often equipped with security measures in both their software and hardware. (2)
As years go by, old networking equipment becomes vulnerable to new attack methods. Consider replacing them with the help of a cyber security business you trust.
3. Be proactive, secure your workplace, and train your IT department
One of the best ways to improve cybersecurity is to become aggressive and assertive when it comes to tech.
Just waiting for an attack to happen only sets your company up for a world of pain—in other words, costly and unnecessary business operations losses and potentially expensive lawsuits. Currently, AUD$3,866,541 is lost every internet minute because of cybercrimes, so you wouldn’t really want to become a victim. (3)
Also, you can’t just rely on third-party network security services companies alone. Your IT department should be reliable when a cyber security attack happens. Also, in addition to being reliable during attacks, it should be doing its best to prevent any attacks from happening in the first place.
Of course, your IT department shouldn’t be the only one to receive training. Nowadays, it’s no secret that the most significant security risk is the workplace, regardless of whether it’s cyber or criminal. You should, as always, enhance the cyber-security awareness of all individuals working in the company.
4. Divide your network into segments
Industrial networks often fall into a common pitfall, which is being connected to a centralised connection. To improve your network’s security and prevent people and devices from having connection or access to a supposedly heavily restricted one, you should divide your networks into segments.
Your company can also benefit from a segmented network by preventing company-wide downtimes. In a segmented network, one network can be down—or a node can experience downtime—and not affect others that can remain operational.
This can be done by using different network names or assigning a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to add another layer of security to a network segment you want to protect (e.g., a network where your finance and accounting departments are connected).
At a superficial level, these steps may be simple. However, you need to be on top of each to be truly successful at protecting your industrial network.
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- “Industrial Networks: Definition, Types & Examples”, Source: https://study.com/academy/lesson/industrial-networks-definition-types-examples.html
- “Secure By Design: Keeping IoT Security In Mind All Down The Line”, Source: https://dataconomy.com/2022/04/iot-security-challenges-and-attack-types/
- “In Just One Evil Internet Minute Over Two Phish Are Detected And $2.9 Million Is Lost To Cybercrime, Reveals RiskIQ”, Source: https://www.riskiq.com/press-release/just-one-evil-internet-minute-two-phish-detected-2-9-million-lost-cybercrime-reveals-riskiq/