The wonders and challenges of Industrial IoT
IoT. Internet of Things.
It is a term that we are progressively hearing more about. At a base level, it refers to a network of distributed devices, sensors, and software – that connect to the internet to gather and share information.
A great deal of the smart devices we interact with daily are all connected in some way. But it is far from a new concept.
The film buffs out there have already seen the self-driving cars in Total Recall (1990), and the voice-automated homes, and gesture interfaces of Minority Report (2002). The video glasses shown in Back to Future II (1989) are remarkably close to what Google Glass is trying to achieve. Star Wars (1977 onwards) is littered with automation and robots. Then there is Terminator (1984) but let us gloss over the whole Skynet thing.
Dreamed about in science fiction for decades, it is very much a reality. We are now more than ever, a digitally integrated society. In fact, predictions from Statista.com show a huge jump in popularity and estimate connected devices worldwide will reach 30.9 billion units by 2025 (forecasted around 18 billion in 2022).
However, it is not just our everyday consumer products that are connected, but IoT devices are integral to civil and industrial infrastructure – accelerating with digital transformation as we usher in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). Manufacturing machines in factories, warehouses, robotic systems, and logistics are already intelligent. Working smarter and faster, reducing costs, and lowering human error.
Utilising an IoT platform allows for continuous analytics and instantaneous feedback, solving problems around monitoring stock conditions, security, and asset tracking, allowing for much better decision making. Vital decision making that has helped transform industries from automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, through to transportation.
According to consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, by having IIoT in the supply chain or factory, maintenance costs lowered from 15% to 10% and waste was reduced by up to 20% in 2020.
It is easy to see that using IoT is a smart move to future proof any business, but with this new efficiency, there have come other challenges to navigate.
Connectivity is one key discussion point.
With so many devices now needing network connectivity to effectively operate and communicate, a reliable and scalable set up is required to cope with demand and traffic on a framework.
Private 5G networks are being explored as possibilities for ‘smart factories’ to help with autonomy and the transmission of enormous amounts of data.
Intertwined with this, the security of this network needs to be first rate. The expansion of any company network also increases the attack surface. The amount of damage that could be done via malicious access to a network of physical machinery and controllers is eyewatering to think about.
In June 2021, JBS, the world’s largest meat packing company experienced a cyber attack from the hacker collective REvil Group. Global distribution was interrupted until $11million ransom was paid to the group to get their systems back up and running.
Ransomware like this, device hijacking, theft, spoofing, and denial of service are all possible. The data stored on a network will not only be your company’s financial data, trade secrets and IP, but also your client or partner data personal and financial data.
Company revenue and reputation are on the line.
Wherever it is possible, the data in transit needs to be strongly encrypted, secure connections to applications, devices, and cloud services, need to be established and regularly monitored.
Any device that makes it onto a company’s network needs to be vetted, with the latest software used and regularly updated. If a device cannot be protected, it must be isolated or disconnected from the wider network.
It is calculated that over 80% of the global IIoT market will be on the software spend alone, around $216billion by 2025.
With the massive shift to this connected ecosystem, IIoT infrastructure should be protected by a broad set of security solutions that do not disrupt operations, service reliability or financial profitability. At a high level, anyone adopting IIoT should ensure their implementation is secure by design – adopting device operating system and boot integrity, authentication, anomaly monitoring, and modern, futureproof encryption techniques.
CyberHive Connect provides a quantum safe connectivity solution for IoT, that can be up and running in minutes.
– A low-latency mesh network enabling Zero-Trust principles in a simple scalable solution
– Centralised administration that is easy to install and manage
– Fast recovery with automatic reconnection from network dropouts
– Future proof encryption for IoT and remote devices
Contact us today for more info on how CyberHive Connect could support your business operations.
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