Cybersecurity threats are an unfortunate reality for everyone, as the City of Johannesburg and the top five South African banks can testify. In today’s connected world, every digital device is a potential vulnerability point but at the same time, organisations need to embrace new technologies that enable them to grow and deliver the best possible results.

“Schneider Electric offers its industrial cybersecurity services with a full range of assessment, planning, policy management and defence methodologies to counter these threats,” says Willem du Preez, the Cybersecurity Lead for SESA Services.

“The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is giving rise to many new opportunities but your processes must be well protected. Our cybersecurity portfolio solution is unique in its platform-independent lifecycle methodology, which integrates seamlessly between manufacturing operations and corporate IT networks.”

South Africa increases awareness of cybersecurity

A recent report from Mimecast, ‘The State of Email Security Report 2019 – South Africa’, indicates that even email is becoming a cybersecurity issue – 63% of  South African organisations reported increases in impersonation fraud; 84% saw email-based spoofing of business partners or vendors; and 19% year-over-year increase in ransomware attacks. The impact of a ransomware attack can disrupt business operations for days and cause data access issues.

“A comprehensive digital risk strategy that incorporates ‘Cybersecurity by Design’ principles helps companies to deploy strategies that account for industrial cybersecurity and build resiliency across a company’s whole digital ecosystem, including supply chain and beyond,” says Du Preez.

“Its multifaceted cybersecurity approach is in line with the US’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework and its five concurrent and continuous functions – Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

“EcoStruxure Plant is our value-focused, IIoT-enabled, open and interoperable system architecture. It helps you move from maximising only process efficiency, to the real-time control of other important business variables including cybersecurity risk, safety risk (including environmental risks), reliability risk, and most critically, operational profitability,” he asserts.

Industry applications

“Our cybersecurity solutions complement our rigorous mindset, policies and methodologies in the secure development of our products and implementation of our solutions. Opportunities for implementation include those below but precise identification of risks is the key starting point.”

  • Grid – Safeguard the availability of reliable power with comprehensive solutions that protect critical ecosystems from cyber attacks.
  • Power – Digitise power distribution systems to increase power reliability and efficiency and ensure safety of people and assets against cyber attacks.
  • Buildings – Secure buildings where people live, work, and play against cyber threats with solutions such as our Building Management Systems.
  • Data centres – Guard critical information with solutions that provide layers of defence to monitor and control access. We provide assessment services and planning ensuring all the domains of the data centre are covered. We extend protection into parts of the data centre that could be vulnerable such as building, power, and HVAC systems.
  • Connected products – Security cannot be an afterthought, especially when it comes to hardware components. We consider security from the ground up – using components that meet recognised standards.
  • Edge control – We incorporate security protection into your system design and development process, including rigorous testing and validation to strengthen your operational control.
  • Apps, analytics & services – Cyber protection is even more critical where complex software from multiple sources connects to drive business. This layer is a critical element of an overall cybersecurity solution.

Service solutions

Says Du Preez: “Schneider Electric is founding member of ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance, whose members are collaborating to advance cybersecurity awareness, education, readiness, and knowledge sharing. Other members include Rockwell Automation, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Claroty and Nozomi Networks.

“This international expertise, coupled with our local understanding of cyber risks, underlines our commitment to providing solutions that support our customers’ needs for cybersecurity protection across all business types and industries. Skilled and certified professionals provide vendor-agnostic services to help organisations assess the risk, implement cyber-specific solutions and maintain their defences over time at their location.

“Organisation-wide changes, processes and employee training must inform and bolster any company’s cybersecurity stance for mitigating digital risk,” Du Preez concludes.

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