Cybersecurity Strategies to Protect Your Expanding Attack Surface
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Cybersecurity Strategies to Protect Your Expanding Attack Surface

5/22/24 | Billy Hayes, IIoT Business Development Manager

The rise of Industry 4.0 is continually transforming the manufacturing landscape. Interconnected devices and systems of today’s smart factories promise elevated efficiency and productivity gains, but at a cost. With every new system and device, you expand the threat actors’ attack surface. Your Industrial Internet of Things becomes the Industrial Internet of Vulnerable Things.

Modern manufacturers are facing new threats. Cyber criminals aren’t just targeting your IT infrastructure; they’re looking at the core of your operations – your Industrial Control Systems (ICS). A successful attack here can stop your production lines, leak sensitive data, or even cause physical damage or public harm, depending on your industry.

Ransomware is a favorite tactic of threat actors, holding your computer systems and data hostage until you pay up. In 2023, more than 70% of cyberattacks in the manufacturing industry were ransomware.

The good news is you’re not powerless. Here are some strategies to secure your expanding attack surface:

 Conduct a Thorough Security Assessment 

Among the most critical steps is to conduct a security assessment to identify all the connected devices and systems in your network to find any vulnerabilities, including those that might seem innocuous, like printers or security cameras. You’ll also want to take a closer look for any legacy systems as they likely weren’t built to handle today’s cybersecurity needs.

Related Post: Is it Time for a Network Assessment? 4 Cybersecurity Preparedness Questions to Ask Yourself

 Security by Design is Critical 

As you continue to grow and scale, you’ll want to integrate cybersecurity considerations from the start. It’s a proactive approach that will reduce vulnerabilities and simplify security integration. Also, you’ll set an example of cybersecurity awareness that is critical to operations. By incorporating security threat monitoring, secure coding practices, and privilege access controls from the start, you can build a smart factory that’s efficient and ready to handle cyberattacks.

 Let AI do the Work for You

There’s been a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence (AI). AI analyzes data faster, spots hidden threats, and filters out false positives. It can also predict security system failures, gather 24/7 intel, and streamline SOC operations. By embracing AI, you can boost your attack surface protection.

 Educate Your Workforce 

Oftentimes, your employees are the first line of defense against cyberattacks. All it takes is one wrong click of an expertly crafted phishing email and you’re locked out of your system with a demand for ransom to get it back. Training your staff to identify those phishing attempts, suspicious emails, and other social engineering tactics will further bolster your cybersecurity efforts.

To boost your IT team’s knowledge, Rockwell Automation’s Learning+ platform offers a Networks & Cybersecurity Competency learning plan that is designed to identify the correct development path and courses that best fit your job.

 Embrace a Zero-Trust Security Model 

Some say trust is earned. Others say it’s given. When it comes to cybersecurity, trust doesn’t exist. A zero-trust model assumes that no user or device is inherently trustworthy. Implement multi-factor authentication and strong access controls to make it harder for unauthorized users to gain access to your systems.

 Cybersecurity Preparedness Never Ends 

Remember, cybersecurity preparedness is a process that never ends. Threat actors will continue to sharpen their digital swords to cut through your defenses, and as you add more technology you need to add more of those defenses.

Rexel’s cybersecurity experts can answer your questions and support you on your journey. Learn more about our cybersecurity services or contact us today.



Rexel Automation Solutions is committed to helping our customers achieve their desired business outcomes by delivering best-in-class customer experience and support.

We specialize in industrial automation services, solutions, and products that transform your application and operational needs into fully realized solutions, delivering measurable results and profitability for your company.