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The importance of cybersecurity in IR4.0

Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) is a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. IR 4.0 aims to blur the boundaries between the digital and the physical worlds. Indirectly the revolution is to reduce direct human effort and resources. The advent of Industry 4.0 is beneficial to improved productivity and efficiency, better flexibility and agility and increased profitability. In fact, it is also help improves the customer experience.



Nevertheless, Manufacturing or any Organization Industry that are hyper-connected with smart devices and smart networks may poses hackers who can try to exploit the significantly higher number of vulnerable entry points into networks and devices. In the perspective of a practitioner (a manager, engineer, cybersecurity expert) in an evolving manufacturing industry, it is worth noting that the integrated and distributed nature of IR 4.0 makes it impossible to completely secure a business from cyber-threats due to a number of reasons:


Data sharing:

With IR 4.0, sharing of data and intellectual property is done across supply chains and various stakeholders. Systems are being integrated between consumers and suppliers. The human factor often the hardest to control and predict when it comes to data protection. Employee training in hopes that a well-educated workforce, aware of the financial and reputational consequences of data breaches is not enough to increase vigilance and deter poor security practices.

Any bad intention to damage or jeopardize a company’s data security may come from the insider or outsider. Since, data is distributed all through the systems, a greater security scope is required.


Points of attack

Since these systems involve a number of stakeholders in the value chain as well as consumers, the number of user access points drastically increases. These access points are possible points of attack. The more points of attack to cover, the harder (and more expensive) it becomes to secure the whole system.

In fact, the attack may create damage to brand reputation, environmental, equipment including hefty financial and legal consequences may arise. With all this said, IR 4.0 cybersecurity cannot be ignored.


Convergence of Information Technology and Operational Technology

The example of this convergence is like smartphones. It combines the functionality of a telephone, a camera, a music player, and a digital personal assistant (among other things) into one device. To secure these IR 4.0 systems from end to end, it is important to consider the digital components as well as the physical ones. Software and hardware boundaries are blurred. However, the methods previously used such as anti-malware, intrusion detection systems, and firewalls may not able to reach the standard or secure enough when involving software and different types of hardware systems which made Industrial Cyber Security is needed.


Playing catch-up

Even before the advent of IR 4.0, cybersecurity threats tended to be one step ahead of potential solutions or preventive measures. However, with IR 4.0, given the systems cut across industries and have possibly thousands of different devices and networks interacting with each other and the possibility of new threats increases exponentially which become main threat to the development of the business of organization.

Organizations are highly recommended to establish a baseline of their current cybersecurity posture across their facilities and operations. This is to prevent operational disruptions that could impact their critical infrastructure before it is too late.

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