Network Communications News (NCN) October 2016 - Page 21

cloud security F E AT U R E malicious intentions. However, there is a significant distinction to be made. Validated software and cloud computing providers help ensure that their cloud is protected at the physical, network, application and data layers so that their services are as resilient to attack as possible and client data remains safe. The problem arises when users store or access company data through alternative devices or consumer cloud solutions. The most common ones are personal smartphones, tablets or email addresses. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) was an industry trend five years ago – today it is a reality. Employees everywhere use their own devices to access work emails, remote monitoring applications, CAD designs and other sensitive information. Unfortunately, this practice exponentially multiplies the risks of a cyber attack. However, manufacturers can’t afford to hide their heads in the sand and hope BYOD will go away. Your best bet is to train your employees on the best practice use of BYOD and reduce the number of devices and applications used to access company data. BYOD is not a replacement of corporate devices; it should be a controlled strategy to enable mobility. Industry standards The practice of bring-your-own-device exponentially multiplies the risks of a cyber attack. Identify and protect valuable data From intellectual property (IP) to trade secrets or critical production data, most departments in your organisation have sensitive information that could be the target of cyber attacks. The first step is to identify these valuable data assets and restrict access to them by ‘hiding’ them behind additional layers of protection and encryption. Manufacturers can protect valuable production data using industrial automation software that has comprehensive security features, such as strong encryption, secure user administration and digital file signatures to recognise bogus programs. Software that allows you to allocate password protected access to individual users is particularly beneficial because it empowers manufacturers to create individually configured access levels for different users. This means only authorised users gain access to valuable information. Best practice One of the biggest concerns many people have about cloud computing is that once data is in the cloud, it can be accessed by unauthorised users with Slowly, but surely, industry is starting to outline and implement cyber security standards to make industrial networks, devices, software, processes and data more secure. For example, the NIST Cyber Security Framework published in the US compiles leading practices from several standard bodies. There is no such thing as a foolproof formula, but NIST is a good place to start. For Industrial Automation and Control Systems (IACS), IEC-62443 offers industry guidance that allows end users, systems integrators, security practitioners and the designers and manufacturers of industrial automation and control systems to work to the s