Vikram Navali

-March 15, 2019

How Zero Trust Secure Access Helps Mitigate Common IIoT Security Risks

IIoT is a Boon to Connected Industries

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the fastest growing technologies in industrial market segments. Internet connected cameras, security monitors, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are just some of the things now administered and monitored through applications.

Manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation are industrial sectors that are ramping up efforts to adopt similar technologies to improve factory floor operational efficiencies and maximize production line output, track supply chains, and speed logistics. This new technology has been coined the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

IIoT comprises a network of internet connected industrial objects such as RFID scanning devices, wheelchairs, warehouse robots, and factory floor Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). System data gathered through sensors is sent to a cloud-based data analytics engine and analyzed. Response is returned and processed by the industrial system. All of this happens in real-time and in an automated fashion, independent of user interaction. Results come in the form of systems running faster and more efficiently.


What are the Security Risks?

While IIoT solutions promise a revolutionary industrial business landscape, organizations should take a security-aware approach when looking to adopt IIoT solutions. Inherent security risks lurk within IIoT devices: weak default passwords, outdated operating systems, and vulnerable system services left unprotected are common security risks and should be addressed.

In environments where IIoT devices can number in the thousands, scanning each for security vulnerabilities can be a daunting task. A single vulnerable device can be the weak link in the chain that may act as an origination point for a cyber breach or divulge important company information that is then used for malicious purposes.

Ensuring uptime and integrity of industrial control systems is a high priority for industrial companies. The Pulse Secure Zero Trust approach to IIoT security offers customers the advantage of secure automated access to IIoT systems with minimal loss of production time.


Zero Trust Secure Access and Policy Provisioning

Through the Pulse Secure Zero Trust framework, devices are secured based on user role, device used, type of access needed and targeted IIoT resource. Zero Trust assumes that nothing inside or outside of the enterprise perimeter is trusted and the network must verify anything and everything trying to connect to its systems before granting access to resources.

The Pulse Secure Zero Trust approach delivers advantages to industries in implementing a granular policy-based access for IIoT devices. Device visibility is another key benefit of this approach. With onboard Profiler discovery capabilities, Pulse Policy Secure discovers and profiles IIoT devices, enabling visibility of all IP-connected devices on an industrial network. Pulse Secure Profiler helps identify systems with common IIoT vulnerabilities and enables IT to address them quickly.

Using the onboard Pulse Secure Profiler, the industrial user can automate the comprehensive discovery and profiling of IIoT devices such as PLC, SCADA, and HMI systems. Pulse Policy Secure Network Access Control (NAC) then allows only authorized users to gain access to specific IIoT devices while enforcing granular policies. Pulse Policy Secure integrates with leading Next Generation Firewalls to auto-provision policies to the firewall, providing contractors and support personnel with Zero Trust secure access to IIoT devices on factory floor and production line environments.


Behavior Analytics for Proactive Protection

Enhancing IIoT security and identifying malicious behavior is accomplished using Pulse Policy Secure UEBA (User and Entity Behavior Analytics) capabilities. User and device traffic patterns are normalized to detect compromised IIoT devices and unusual user activity. Behavioral Analytics builds behavior profiles for user and IIoT devices by collecting and correlating NetFlow, user, and device data. Profiled base behavior is used to detect anomalous device activity, anomalous user access, domain generation attacks and MAC spoofing. Once detected, alerts are automatically generated so that security teams can proactively isolate and mitigate the detected issue.

Industrial companies will continue to adopt IIoT as use cases and solutions continue to deliver upon the promise of increased value and efficiency. Adopting the Pulse Secure Zero Trust approach to discover, profile, and secure IIoT devices is advantageous for industrial companies that place a high priority on uptime of factory floor systems, optimization of operational processes, and minimizing business downtime.

For additional details, please download this white paper: IIoT Zero Trust Secure Access.

Check out this video on Zero Trust Secure Access for IoT/IIoT