Zero Trust Segmentation

9 Reasons Why Manufacturers Should Implement Zero Trust Segmentation

In 2022 alone, manufacturing had the highest number of extortion-based cyberattacks, according to the IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Report 2023.  

Traditional network-based security measures are no longer sufficient to thwart modern attacks. If ransomware or a breach halt operations, manufacturers face potentially catastrophic losses. As a result, the manufacturing industry is increasingly looking for breach containment technologies.

Illumio Zero Trust Segmentation (ZTS), also called microsegmentation, stops inevitable breaches from spreading across the hybrid attack surface. And for industries at a heightened risk for cyber disasters like the manufacturing sector, this is essential.

Here are the 9 ways Illumio ZTS can help protect your manufacturing operations from the threat of ransomware and breaches:

1. Secure migration to industrial IoT

The move to industrial IoT is driving significant efficiency in the manufacturing industry. However, the architecture is significantly different to the traditional model which makes the Purdue Enterprise Architecture inappropriate as an approach. As equipment becomes smarter and functions are consolidated onto single hardware platforms the potential attack vectors change.

Illumio can create micro-perimeters around each software instance, protecting them from potential attack.

2. Maintain production while under attack

A loss of production is catastrophic for any manufacturer. The aim of cybersecurity is to provide resilience so that production can be maintained.

Illumio contains an attack to prevent it from reaching the critical assets involved in production. By applying ZTS, very granular least-privilege access control can be applied to each asset. This will only allow necessary connections using the appropriate protocols which blocks the route for attacks like ransomware from reaching critical systems.

3. Ransomware protection

Ransomware is the highest profile attack we see today. It can be used in multiple ways, and the ways it manifests can be unpredictable. The methods it uses to propagate through an organization are well known. The most popular protocol for ransomware propagation is RDP which is not required in many applications. By not allowing RDP, or other popular protocols, where it is not needed, ransomware can be contained in the event of an attack.

Illumio can simply allow the protocols used by systems within the operator’s network and block protocols that are not required.

4. Asset and device mapping

Fundamental to understanding the risks within the system requires understanding what equipment is on the network and which other devices they are connected. A key requirement in many cybersecurity frameworks and industry regulations is the ability to map the interdependencies of IT and OT systems within the operator’s network. By doing this, it becomes possible to identify areas of high risk where systems are open to access from multiple systems that are not authorized.

Illumio collects data from a variety of sources to build an application dependency map that shows details on assets across both the IT and OT environments and the connectivity between them.

5. Vulnerability mitigation

It is often difficult to manage the complex process of patching systems. There are so many patches that need to be applied on a daily basis to a huge variety of different systems. Most organizations have developed a well-defined process that identifies, tests, and applies patches. However, this cannot be done instantly, and so there will be a lag between the release of a patch and its installation.  

Equally, when vulnerabilities are discovered, it may take a while before a patch is generated. Another challenge is that some devices are not supported anymore and so cannot be patched.  

The risk to unpatched devices can be mitigated by using Illumio to restrict the exposure of individual systems. By temporarily applying more stringent restrictions on unpatched systems, the vulnerability can be protected until patched.  

6. Comply with local regulations

Manufacturers of critical products and technology around the world are regulated by different regional and national organizations. Most cybersecurity directives focus on common areas. These include maintaining services while under attack, mapping the communication between OT and IT systems, preventing the spread of an attack from one area to another, and mitigating any vulnerabilities in the network.  

Illumio ZTS is a solution for all of these issues without the need for complex, bespoke systems.

7. Automated incident response

Disruption and extortion attacks on manufacturers has increased significantly recently.  It is important to define a plan in event of an attack.  

The IBM Cost of a Breach Report 2023 showed that organizations with tested IR plans reduce the time to identify a threat by 54 days. The NotPetya and WannaCry attacks showed just how difficult it can be for endpoint protection systems to detect and respond to a live attack. The fastest and most effective response is to contain the attack by stopping the method of communication that the ransomware is using.

Illumio ZTS can instantly stop the propagation of ransomware by locking down the ports that the attack will use.

8. Simple deployment of security policies

Cybersecurity in the manufacturing environment is often built into many processes and systems. The diversity of the environment can lead to an over-complex infrastructure. This can make the effort of delivering a secure service very difficult, and often organizations do not have the staff or budget to meet this need.

Illumio makes the deployment of security policies easier. By providing a simple map showing communication between workloads and devices, it is simple to design and provision the appropriate rules with Illumio.  

9. Scalability

Any security solution must be able to scale simply to prevent complexity from reducing the effectiveness of cybersecurity. Focusing on protecting the asset as opposed to the network allows Illumio to scale linearly from two devices to hundreds of thousands. Regardless of whether that asset is a host in a data center, cloud, a laptop, or an industrial IoT gateway, the level of protection should be consistent.

ZTS from Illumio gives security teams the capability to identify assets and connections, protect systems from attack, respond quickly to an attack, and restore systems securely while maintaining production.

Get more information in our industry brief: Maintaining Manufacturing Operations During a Breach

Ready to learn more about Illumio ZTS? Contact us for a consultation and demo today.

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Assume Breach.
Minimize Impact.
Increase Resilience.

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