What Global Manufacturers Need to Know About Security in the Cloud

Manufacturers deal with sensitive information each and every day. This includes test and quality data, warranty information, device history records and the engineering specifications for a product that are highly confidential. Trusting that data to a cloud-based application or cloud services provider is a major step, and manufacturers need to fully educate themselves about the security risks and advantages of cloud-based software.

Consider the questions below as a guide to use when discussing application infrastructure and operations with cloud providers.

What do you do to keep my data safe?

This is the most important question a manufacturer should ask a cloud provider.

The answer should be long and multi-faceted. Because no single tool can defend against every kind of attack in any network, cloud providers must deploy multiple layers of defense using: internal systems; protection provided by tier 1 cloud platforms; and security service providers.

All of these elements come together to provide complete protection. Below are some examples of these layers:

  • Physical Defense
  • Barriers to Entry
  • Application Password Protection
  • Application Firewalls
  • Activity Monitoring
  • Malware Monitoring
  • Code Standards
  • Third Party Code Scanning
  • Data Encryption

○ Data in transit can be encrypted using industry standard encryption through the browser. Additionally, APIs that access the data should use encrypted data and include encrypted tokens to increase access control.

What do you do to prevent the data from being hacked and stolen?

“Hacking” or stealing data is the number one security concern of most people considering a cloud solution. Note, however, that some common misunderstandings often drive this concern.

According to the “Data Breach Investigations Report” from Verizon, about 50 percent of all security incidents are caused by people

For preventing external hacks and data theft, the system must be architected to prevent as many types of attacks as possible (see above). Also, application providers must use internal personnel and external consultants to run frequent penetration testing. These tests look for common paths that attackers use to gain access to systems through the internet. The tests help ensure there are no doors left open for hackers. Be sure to ask about penetration testing, including both the frequency and the methodologies used.

How does cloud security compare to on-premise security?

This is a question that should be asked internally, as well as externally. There is a common misperception that a set of servers running on-premise at a corporate office is more secure than a cloud-based application. Owning the hardware and software often gives a false sense of security; most on-premise systems fall far short of the security that the best cloud providers have deployed.

For example, the cloud storage system utilized by my company was designed for 99.999999999% durability and up to 99.99% availability of objects over a given year. That design and those numbers are virtually impossible to duplicate with an on premise solution. In addition, the comprehensive access control described above is nearly impossible to duplicate on-premise. To deploy tools like these in an on-premise environment would require not only large investments in infrastructure, but large teams to manage them too.

Ask yourself: how big is your security team? How much is your budget for security around your manufacturing data? Then remember, the best application providers and data centers have large, dedicated security teams who have implemented automated threat monitoring systems that operate 24×7. In the end, the best cloud software companies have dedicated more time, resources and budget to securing our systems than most organizations are able to provide themselves.

More Security in the Cloud

The security issue for cloud manufacturing software is perhaps best summed up

“By moving to the Cloud, security is usually enhanced rather than diminished as Cloud suppliers devote huge efforts to ensuring their underlying systems are as secure as possible and are constantly updated to react to potential threats. No individual manufacturer could devote such efforts, and they should focus on plant security working with their MES and plant software vendors to ensure maximum security and properly maintained systems. Do not get caught out by obsolete and vulnerable systems.”

About the author:

Source: infosec island

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

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