Strictly speaking, threats to manufacturers’ security isn’t a new phenomenon. For several years, factories have fallen prey to security breaches – experiencing everything from brief production disruptions to significant business impacts. Known incidents in 2017 cost manufacturers more than $10 billion in reported losses. Not surprisingly, security has emerged as a board-level concern for nearly every manufacturing company.

What’s changing today is the intentionality behind attacks against manufacturers. In the past, many breaches occurred almost by accident due to benign neglect – unpatched software, a server left untended. Today, however, threats are very much on purpose. Attackers are far more nefarious. And as manufacturers increasingly connect equipment, devices and sensors throughout their production environments, attackers can pursue a much larger potential surface.

Understandably, manufacturers prefer to keep security attacks and other incidents close to the vest. Fortunately, they’re much more willing to talk about strategies for improving cyber security – and many are collaborating on the creation and refinement of formal standards for securing industrial automation and control systems.

Cisco is proud to be part of that effort, including helping shape the global Industrial Network and Security standards (ISA/IEC 62443) as well as offering some of the industry’s first products that meet those standards. We’re also collaborating with ODVA and others to create some of the industry’s best cyber security support in industrial protocol standards. We’re encouraged to see initial products coming out that support CIP security – that is, the ability to create segmentation at the application layer, which complements the strong cyber security capabilities Cisco delivers at the network level.

Over the past year, we’ve introduced a number of security innovations in our industrial automation solutions, including cell/area zone security, which applies our software-defined segmentation (a.k.a. TrustSec model) to this critical area of industrial systems. It delivers greater visibility to the industrial devices and communication on the network. That makes it possible to know who’s talking to whom and, over time, to build and enforce an industrial security policy model that integrates IT and OT technologies and teams. The solution uses a combination of our industrial networking platform (IE switches), OT network management (IND), IT-leading Identity and Access Management (ISE) and Visibility and Security Analytics (Stealthwatch) applications. The result significantly improves cyber security protections for vulnerable industrial automation and control systems.

These solution enhancements are just the tip of the iceberg regarding Cisco’s commitment to industrial security. In August, Cisco completed the acquisition of Sentryo – a France-based company that provides asset visibility and cyber security solutions for industrial control systems. Because security will always be top of mind for our customers, Cisco IoT will continue to build and deliver certified products that address manufacturers’ security needs.

Cyber security for industrial systems is now a board-level concern for manufacturers. Our solutions combine our #1 cyber security technology with our #1 industrial networking portfolio to deliver significantly improved visibility and protection of mission-critical industrial applications – a key step to actively alleviate those board-level concerns – starting today. Check out our solutions and then reach out to our sales team and/or partners to start a proof of concept with the confidence of a Cisco Validated Design to guide you.


Paul Didier

Solution Architect

Manufacturing Industry