With the advancement of microchip and software technologies, smart electronic devices are getting smaller, cheaper and more capable. This enabled the wide deployment of sensors and intelligent field devices that are equipped with unprecedented computing power and communication capabilities. The Internet of Thing (IoT) is gradually becoming reality.
IoT is destined to touch every part of our life, but at this point of time the IoT phenomena is more pronounced in some areas than others. For example, the adoption of IT technology in the industrial space has been going on for years and now most industrial plants and facilities are already on an IP network. This is more than just the office IT network. As matter of fact, the industrial equipment, field sensors, and control devices are all migrating to IP-based and becoming more intelligent at a lighting speed.
If you walk onto a modern day car manufacturing floor you’ll immediately notice the use of all kinds of automated machines, and the way those machines work in concert without any human intervention will definitely surprise you. How do those machines do that? They are equipped with high-powered computing logics, various kinds of sensors and, most importantly, they are constantly “talking” to each other, and are all connected by a network using the switches and routers just like your office IT network.
The way wind turbine farms works is also a prime example of how prevalent the IP network is in the industrial space. All turbines – whether they are onshore or offshore – are connected with fiber or wireless networks, and there are numerous switches in each turbine (base and nacelle) connecting the field sensors, controllers, and central command all together.
Those industrial networks are actually way more ubiquitous than you think, they are all over the place. Just to name a few, manufacturing, power grid (SmartGrid), wind farms, intelligent transportation, water/waste water, mining and so on. Lots of those make up the critical infrastructure we depend on daily.
Obviously, securing these networks is critical to ensure uninterrupted operations. But it can be tricky to do that. Why? The nature of those network provides the explanation. The “users” of this network are not humans or severs, they are field equipment that place performance and availability as their top priorities. Any security measures that might introduce delays in communication will impact the control loops that typically work on milliseconds or even microseconds. And, due to the fact that those intelligent devices control the “real stuff,” any breach will cause damages to property or even human lives. There is pretty much zero tolerance.
Side bar: Real-time is not fast enough, proactive measures are required.
The nature of those networks becomes the main reason for wide adoption of preventive practices like continuous security posture assessment and heavy segmentation.
Proactive security is now a must have for IoT. The ability to continuously understand the overall posture and segmentation reality of those networks is a cornerstone to build and maintain the secure IoT.
The important thing to understand is this cannot be done by just looking at ACLs on switches/routers or rules on FWs individually. The ONLY way to do this is to have a big picture view of your whole IoT network. And given the complexity and large scale of those networks, it’s impossible to understand end-to-end controls without a decent automated, big picture analytical engine.
The RedSeal Platform is all about proactive security intelligence that helps customers to understand if their segmentation controls are exactly what they designed/implemented, where risks lies in their network, and what are the potential attack vectors to prevent the breaches from happening AHEAD OF TIME. And it does all these automatically via comprehensive end-to-end modeling and sophisticated analytical computations.
It’s only a matter of time before there is a major cyberattack against the IoT field network. Be proactive and learn why many companies like PG&E and the United States Army, rely on RedSeal to protect their network infrastructure.