Before the pandemic, access to data from the production environment was already highly requested and a recurring subject in discussions about industry 4.0 and decision making. Knowing if the production line is operating with the expected efficiency, for example, it is essential information for various sectors within an organization. Sometimes, this data is not always easy to collect.

Now, with most employees working from home, industries focus on keeping production with as few people as possible within their facilities. This requires an intense amount of remote access to control systems and management software, which can generate cybersecurity breaches if the systems are not prepared.

All systems within an industry are subject to some vulnerability, that can be present at different levels, from applications hosted in cloud computing as well as devices dedicated to the control of machines and field actuators, which is worrying because some cyber-attacks are developed exclusively to achieve industrial control systems, which in addition to leaking valuable information can put workers safety at risk and production stoppages indefinitely. This means that the chances of a cyber-attack have always been there since once the data is available on a network, whether internal or connected to the internet, it is possible to access it. With the sudden increase in remote access, the probability of an attack is much higher if these changes are not made in a structured and planned way.

The techniques and methods of attack are as varied as possible. The leading suppliers of industrial automation were already adapting to this new reality of convergence of IT and OT systems, developing systems with more data encryption complexity and high levels of traceability, as well as services dedicated to the evaluation and planning of defense policies against threats to information security.

What was once an extra resource for remote management of industries, has now become a priority. How to guarantee productivity with the quality required in times of remote access, and still guarantee information security?

The increase in data exposure, and the consequent increase in the risk of data loss or access to it, does not mean that this is an unviable or unattainable project. This is the natural course for the control and monitoring of manufacturing processes. What the pandemic did was speed up this process of delivering our processes to automated and information systems. Dependence on information systems is already a reality in our lives, whether it is to shop online, access social networks, and increasingly make decisions about the manufacturing processes we are responsible for. The level of care with information security should be the same, and yes, there is a solution.

Nordika, through its methodology for measuring the Technological Maturity Index (IMT), can accurately assess the current state of its control systems and management software and help your company decide which is the best way forward to ensure productivity, quality, and data security.

Tiago Padoan

Automation Engineer from Nordika

Graduated in Electrical Engineering. Development, installation and management of computer systems for production control. Has 10 years of experience in industrial automation projects. Development of methodologies for industry suitability 4.0 and mapping of technological maturity index.