IoT Advancements and Cybersecurity Risks: Boon or Bane for Cybersecurity in Modern Systems?

 

As industries grapple with the decision to adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the importance of carefully considering the trade-offs between its potential benefits and the risks of cyber damage is paramount. With improvements to systems using IoT technology, companies are able to optimize production processes, increase profits, and reduce costs. But do the benefits of IoT advancements and cybersecurity risks balance each other out?

Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field that combines mechanical and electrical systems,  and has managed to significantly advance in recent years, leading to improved flexibility and efficiency in various applications. However, the downside and often overlooked concern is the increased risk of cyber attacks. Connected control of packaging lines or any plant control system, for instance, exposes the plant to potential cyber threats.

These cybersecurity concerns raise a valid and critical question: is the promise of IoT-driven advancements in enhanced performance, throughput, flexibility, and increased uptime worth the potential for cyber damage? Here’s what Jeff Winter, and Industry 4.0 thought leader, has to say about the delicate balance between IoT advancements and cybersecurity risks.

 

Jeff’s Thoughts:

“So this is a tricky question because there is no absolute right or wrong here. This ultimately comes down to a judgment call about risk. The more you start to utilize new emerging technologies, the more you increase your risk to security-related incidents because pretty much all the new industry 4.0 technologies, to be fully optimized, require access to the internet. 

In addition to things like data loss and data leakage, cybersecurity attacks on industrial control systems can actually lead to loss of functionality or worse malicious functionality. For example, manipulating data displayed on HMI or more serious safety concerns. Now, that being said, in my humble opinion, the risk is absolutely worth the reward. 

When properly leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies, they not only can help optimize production processes to previously unthought-of levels, increasing profit and reducing cost, but they can also completely change the way that your employees work and even the value that you provide to your customers. And when all these new technologies are fully integrated with the right processes and the properly skilled people, that is where the real transformation takes place.

Ask yourself this, if your competitors start utilizing all this industry 4.0 technology the right way, and you don’t, how difficult of a situation will you be in? My advice, your digital transformation strategy should embrace new technologies to take your company to entirely new levels. But at the heart of this strategy should be the foundation of cybersecurity.”

Article written by Azam Saghir.

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