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Moxa Offers Three Tips to Futureproof Your Industrial Network Security

Today, industrial organizations are embracing digital transformation to gain a competitive edge and boost business revenue.

Moxa Offers Three Tips to Futureproof Your Industrial Network Security
When deploying multi-layered network protection for OT networks and infrastructure, there are two key OT cybersecurity solutions to consider, namely industrial firewalls and secure routers

To achieve digital transformation, industrial operators must first address the daunting task of merging their information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) infrastructure. However, businesses trying to streamline data connectivity for integrated IT/OT systems often encounter challenges such as poor performance, limited network visibility, and diminished network security from existing OT network infrastructure.

Building a robust, high-performance network for daily operations that is easy to maintain requires thorough planning. In this article, Moxa focuses on the importance of strong OT network security and provide tips on how to strengthen cybersecurity for industrial operations.

Ramping Up OT Network Security Is a Must
Nowadays, industrial applications are facing more and unprecedented cyberthreats. These threats often target critical infrastructure in different industries all across the world, including energy, transportation, and water and wastewater services. If successful, such attacks can cause significant damage to industrial organizations in the form of high recovery costs or production delays. Before building IT/OT converged networks, asset owners must define the target security level of the entire network and strengthen measures to minimize the impact of potential intrusions. Poor network security exposes critical field assets to unwanted access and allows malicious actors to breach integrated systems.

As many network administrators are aware, strengthening OT network security is not that straightforward. IT security solutions require constant updates to ensure they can protect against the latest cyberthreats. Applying these necessary updates often means interrupting network services and systems, which is something OT operations cannot afford. Operators need an OT-centric cybersecurity approach to protect their industrial networks without sacrificing network or operational uptime.

Three Major Stages of Building OT Cybersecurity
Building a secure industrial network can be done with the right approach. The key to strong cybersecurity is implementing a multi-layered defense strategy in several stages.

Stage One: Build a Solid Foundation With Secure Networking Devices
When safeguarding networking infrastructure, start with choosing secure building blocks. The increasing number of cyberthreats has led to the development of comprehensive OT network security standards. Industrial cybersecurity standards, such as NIST CSF and IEC 62443, provide security guidelines for critical assets, systems, and components. Implementing industrial cybersecurity standards and using networking devices designed around these standards provides asset owners with a solid foundation for building secure network infrastructure.

Stage Two: Deploy OT-centric Layered Protection
The idea of "defense-in-depth" is to provide multi-layered protection by implementing cybersecurity measures at every level to minimize security risks. In the event of an intrusion, if one layer of protection is compromised, another layer prevents the threat from further affecting the network. In addition, instant notifications for security events allow users to quickly respond to potential threats and mitigate any risk. When deploying multi-layered network protection for OT networks and infrastructure, there are two key OT cybersecurity solutions to consider, namely industrial firewalls and secure routers:

1. Shield Critical Assets With Industrial Firewalls
An efficient way to protect critical field assets is using industrial firewalls to create secure network zones and defend against potential threats across the network. With every connected device being the potential target of cyberthreats, it’s important to deploy firewalls with robust traffic filtering that allow administrators to set up secure conduits throughout the network. Next-generation firewalls feature advanced security functions such as Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS) and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to strengthen network protection against intrusions by proactively detecting and blocking threats. Advanced security functions tailored for OT environments help ensure seamless communications and maximum uptime for industrial operations. For example, OT-centered DPI technology that supports industrial protocols can detect and block unwanted traffic, ensuring secure industrial protocol communications. In addition, industrial-grade IPS can support virtual patching to protect critical assets and legacy devices from the latest known threats without affecting network uptime. Designed for industrial applications, IPS provides pattern-based detection for PLCs, HMIs, and other common field site equipment.

2. Fortify Network Boundaries With Industrial Secure Routers
IT/OT converged networks require a multi-layered and complex industrial network infrastructure to transmit large amounts of data from field sites to the control center. Deploying powerful industrial secure routers between different networks can both fortify network boundaries and maintain solid network performance. Featuring built-in advanced security functions such as firewall and NAT, secure routers allow administrators to establish secure network segments and enable data routing between segments. For optimal network performance, a powerful industrial secure router features both switching and routing functions with Gigabit speeds, alongside redundancy measures for smooth intra- and inter-network communication.

The demand for remote access to maintain critical assets and networks has also been on the rise. Industrial secure routers with VPN support allow maintenance engineers and network administrators to access private networks remotely through a secure tunnel, enabling more efficient remote management.

Stage Three: Monitor Network Status and Identify Cyberthreats
Deploying a secure industrial network is just the start of the journey towards robust cybersecurity. During daily operations, it takes a lot of time and effort for network administrators to have full network visibility, monitor traffic, and manage the countless networking devices. Implementing a centralized network management platform can provide a huge boost to operational efficiency by visualizing the entire network and simplifying device management. It also allows network administrators to focus more resources on ramping up network and device security.

In addition, a centralized network security management platform for cybersecurity solutions can boost efficiency even more. Such software allows administrators to perform mass deployments for firewall policies, monitor cyberthreats, and configure notifications for when threats occur. The right combination of cybersecurity solutions and management software offers administrators an invaluable way to monitor and identify cyberthreats with a holistic view.

Moxa Offers Three Tips to Futureproof Your Industrial Network Security
Industrial cybersecurity standards, such as NIST CSF and IEC 62443, provide security guidelines for components. Moxa EDR-G9010 industrial secure routers are an example of a device that meets IEC 62443-4-2 Security Level 2 certification

Futureproof Network Security
Network security is imperative for industrial network infrastructure. Moxa has translated over 35 years of industrial networking experience into a comprehensive OT-centric cybersecurity portfolio that offers enhanced security with maximum network uptime. Moxa is an IEC 62443-4-1 certified industrial connectivity and networking solutions provider. When developing its products, Moxa adheres to the security principles of the IEC 62443-4-2 standard to ensure secure product development with the goal of providing users with the tools necessary to build robust device security for their industrial applications.


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