Industrial IoT (IIOT)

Overview

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a key part of the digital transformation process for critical infrastructure industries such as logistics, transportation, manufacturing, energy, utilities, etc. Enterprises are increasingly embracing IIoT solutions to provide critical operational insights to enhance their field operations and various industrial processes and drive significant improvements in efficiency, productivity, cost, and revenue.

What Isn’t Working

Industrial control systems (ICS) have always been a major part of IIoT. As Deloitte agrees, ICS have been connected to the IT infrastructure for years, providing remote connectivity for real-time data and remote support. The abundance of inexpensive, off-the-shelf edge computing capabilities today has made it easy to analyze this rich data for operational insights and competitive advantage. However, this data convergence has also given rise to expanded attack surfaces. The legacy approaches to securing enterprise data centers are not equipped to handle the needs of a dispersed, interconnected world of cloud, mobile, nomadic devices, services, and apps. Examples include the inability to securely access, manage and track things from anywhere, anytime over any last-mile connectivity network or to seamlessly extend cloud services to the edge. These pain points are leading enterprises to scale back adoption of edge computing.

The Way Going Forward

As Gartner recommends, risk professionals in today’s digital enterprises need a worldwide fabric / mesh of network and security capabilities that can be applied when and where they are needed to connect entities to the networked capabilities they need access to. Whether they are connecting users to internal apps, extending cloud-based apps and services to the edge, etc., the underlying need generally remains the same - diverse endpoint identities requiring access to networked capabilities spread throughout the Internet at scale. Therefore, decisions on secure access and management including tracking and visibility need to be thus centered on the identity of the object that is at the source of the connection, e.g., user, device, service, branch office, IoT device, edge computing location, etc. Instead of the enterprise data center or the cloud being the focal point of the connectivity model, an identity-centric, distributed security model unleashes an edge computing security framework that is based on the vendor’s unified fabric of secure access and management capabilities globally.

Key Takeaway

Instead of relying on legacy enterprise data center based network security models that simply do not scale for the world of IIoT, an identity-centric security solution that is agnostic to the last mile access connectivity networks provides a unified and globally connected security network infrastructure. This dramatically simplifies the security needs of the convergence of ICS and IT infrastructure and speeds up the digital transformation process of the enterprises aiming to drive business efficiencies with the disruptive power of the IIoT.

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