How to systematically check the security of your industrial network

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Global industrial connectivity provider Moxa, distributed in Australia by Madison Technologies, reveals tips on using software to perform configurations to keep the industrial network secure.

A systematic approach

Using a systematic and automatic approach to implementing configurations is essential to ensure consistency and, more importantly, consistent and reliable repeatability of configurations. This approach aims to reduce the number of tasks that humans have to do manually during the process, as the human factor is considered a major cause of cyber incidents, whether intentional or not.

This problem is further compounded by the fact that vulnerabilities caused by human error are difficult to detect. Indeed, detection often relies on the audit process implemented by a company, which may not be 100% reliable. Finally, those who perform the configurations may mistakenly believe that they have made the appropriate implementations, which in turn leaves networks vulnerable.

It is important to pay attention not only to the methodologies themselves, ie “What to implement”, but also to the way they are implemented, “The how”. By taking a systematic and automatic approach to implementing configurations, these risks can be significantly reduced, increasing network reliability and security.

Software-assisted implementation

Software can be one of the “how” options that allows you to successfully implement security procedures. Even the most experienced engineer cannot memorize all the configurations necessary for these safety procedures. Another issue that further compounds the problem is when businesses want to manage configurations and keep them consistent throughout the network lifecycle. Below are three tips when using software to perform configurations.

1. Development of checklists for the implementation of security measures

Before your engineers start making configurations, it is essential to provide them with clear guidelines by compiling a checklist based on your company’s security policies. According to IEC 62443, you need to consider five steps (Figure 1). For example, it is strongly recommended to enable username and password protection to verify user identification when logging in to devices, despite the temptation not to have security measures because it is much easier and faster to access devices without password protection.

industrial network

2. Use images instead of lists

One of the most effective ways to support the security verification process without compromising user judgment is to use graphical representations rather than lists to identify devices on networks. Images are processed faster and are easier to recognize by the human brain. Therefore, the use of graphical representations can speed up the identification of the security settings of each device, as shown in Figure 2.

industrial network

3. Use colors

The last point we will consider is the differentiation of colors to highlight different levels of security. The human brain can easily recognize different tones of colors (Engel S, Zhang X, Wandell B, 1997), which means that different colors can be used to provide the user with a quick identification of the security status of each device. and inform him of possible actions that must be taken.

summary

In conclusion, systematic and automatic methods are more reliable than repetitive and manual processes carried out by humans. It is essential that all existing cybersecurity features are tailored to the individual needs of each system and are properly implemented. Taking a systematic approach can help you manage complex security configurations while reducing human error.

Moxa’s MXview network management software gives you a holistic view of the security status of your network devices, and MXconfig configuration software allows you to bulk configure security settings to make your network more secure.

To learn more about how to get complete visibility for your industrial network, visit www.madison.tech/mxview-network-management or call 1 800 72 79 79 to speak to the Customer Connect team at Madison Technologies.

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