James Tolosa

-December 5, 2018

Pulse Secure Access for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Industrial sites such as healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics are aware their valuable assets are susceptible to cyberattacks. Introduce the astronomical adoption of the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) onto factory floors and industrial workspaces – exposure to threats then reaches an all-time high.

Scale and efficiency delivered to industrial sites by the IIoT is expected to spur continued growth in this area. According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., the global IIoT market is expected to reach $933.62 billion by 2025.

Today’s manufacturing control networks consist of programmable logic controllers (PLC) and supervisory control and system architecture (SCADA) systems. These systems were originally built without security controls and communicate over unencrypted protocols. A manufacturing company may have dozens or even hundreds of these systems in their secure network, protected behind a firewall.

Although firewalls and network segmentation are good, does it protect systems against today’s malware and cyberattacks? From an operational perspective, industrial security takes time. Whereas your service level agreement (SLA) may specify swift 24/7 service, the need to support contractors onsite may delay matters by several hours or even one or two days. This promptly turns into a financial loss since downtime at a manufacturing site can easily mount to hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.

Consider this scenario: an outside contractor or vendor needs to repair, maintain, or upgrade the software in a PLC. The contractor cannot log into the PLC system remotely to address the issue or solve the problem because the firewall prevents external access. The contractor must go physically onsite and connect to a secure computer, which then allows the access to the PLC that needs attention.

This scenario requires policies be manually configured for each contractor or vendor to specify which machines they should have access to and what roles they should be assigned. This is a time-consuming process which leads to slow device remediation and may also incur business downtime.

Pulse Secure provides Secure Access to IIoT devices to resolve device problems as well as other issues that plague the manufacturing IT environment. Secure Access for IIoT is a three-part solution:

  1. IIoT device visibility. Pulse auto-discovers PLC devices in the network and automatically classifies those devices based on the manufacturer, e.g., GE, Schneider Electric, etc.

 

  1. Auto provisioning. Any time a new device comes on the network, it is dynamically configured and provisioned according to established policies.

 

  1. Secure access. Through Pulse Policy Secure, contractors can connect remotely or locally either through Layer 2 or Layer 3 authentication. They are automatically assigned the appropriate role and access rights based on policy provisions, allowing them to address issues in real-time.

 

Solutions should be simple, effective, and minimize time while maximizing productivity. How does our three-part solution accomplish this? Device visibility ensures all devices are accounted for and visible at all times. Auto-provisioning removes the burden of manual upkeep for complex provisions. Secure access increases operational efficiencies and keeps productivity at a maximum. Without a doubt, Secure Access for IIoT benefits the end-to-end manufacturing operation, the contractors who service manufacturing companies, the customers who rely on manufacturers for the goods that are produced, and the booming IoT market that’s heading our way. Learn more at pulsesecure.net.

 

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