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Digital transformation for manufacturers requires additional IT/OT security

Posted on July 7, 2022

IoT Sales Director, WW IoT Specialist Team

While every industry is vulnerable to a ransomware attack, manufacturers are at a particular risk. While digitization and automation have helped transform the industry, it has simultaneously opened up new attack vectors within organizations. Now the most targeted industry, the manufacturing industry, has seen a 300 percent increase in cyberattacks in a single year.

Beyond the tremendous growth in attacks, manufacturing companies make an ideal target for hackers due to the high value of the companies themselves, the high costs of unplanned downtime, and the highly visible impact that downtime has on consumers’ daily lives. With the risks so high, an enterprise-level solution that provides visibility and protection like Microsoft Defender for IoT is essential.

Visibility is the first step to network protection

The number of connected industrial control system (ICS)/operational technology (OT) devices in manufacturing facilities continues to grow. The benefits for the operations side of the house are clear, but the lack of visibility into them poses serious security risks for chief information security officers (CISOs).

Manufacturers often have no way to identify and monitor what all their connected devices are doing and with whom or what they are communicating. Worse, all too often they lack even a simple inventory of all the connected devices they have in their facilities. In case of an attack, the lack of visibility means that they have no way of tracing the attack vector the hacker took, making them vulnerable to a second wave and delaying recovery and remediation.

Continuous monitoring without impacting productivity

Microsoft Defender for IoT not only creates asset maps within minutes of being turned on, but it also provides continuous monitoring of every device in every facility around the world. Microsoft’s Section 52 has access to tens of trillions of identity, endpoint, and other signals each day. The threat intelligence from this specialized IoT and ICS research team produces high-impact insights that help keep manufacturers safe from attacks.

The agentless nature of the system protects companies without impacting production, no matter the topology of the network or the regulations governing the industry. And, with round-the-clock protection, Microsoft Defender for IoT can alert the SecOps team about an intrusion any time, any place.

Security for networks in an age of IT and OT convergence

As their digital transformations have progressed, manufacturers have seen their IT and OT environments converge. The air gap between them that ensured production would continue even if IT assets were taken offline is increasingly a thing of the past. With these trendlines, forward-thinking CISOs and their boards are taking proactive steps to protect the entire company from cyber-physical attacks that could have huge costs to safety, production, reputation, and the bottom line.

Fortunately, Microsoft Defender for IoT can usually be deployed in less than a single day per facility and works right out of the box for large enterprises and small, niche facilities. With it, defenders of OT networks have a powerful new tool at their disposal to help keep hackers out and people, production, and profits safe.

For more information on how Microsoft Defender for IoT can help protect your business, visit Microsoft Defender for IoT | Microsoft Azure today.