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Securing the Factory of the Future: How ZTNA and SSE Empower Manufacturing

A guest blog, written by Jaye Tillson, Field CTO at HPE Aruba.

The manufacturing landscape is undergoing a digital revolution, driven significantly by Industrial IoT (IIoT), cloud adoption, and remote access needs. These advancements enable manufacturing companies to unlock efficiency gains, optimize operations, and enhance collaboration, but they also introduce a raft of new cybersecurity challenges.

Legacy equipment and complex network setups have always made it difficult to secure manufacturing environments. Combining this with a growing remote workforce has created vulnerabilities for manufacturing companies that traditional perimeter-based security designs struggle to address.

This is where Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and the broader Secure Service Edge (SSE) solutions come in, offering a dynamic and layered security approach for the modern manufacturing environment.

ZTNA: A Paradigm Shift in Secure Access

ZTNA flips the traditional security model on its head. Instead of granting blanket access from everyone to everything, ZTNA grants access only to authorized users and their devices to applications based on real-time context.

This context includes factors such as user identity, device posture, location, and the requested resources. With ZTNA every access attempt is verified and continuously monitored, minimizing the attack surface and potential damage.

Benefits for 3rd Party and Contract Access:

Manufacturing companies often have a large number of 3rd parties and contractors all requiring access to specific applications. Unlike legacy VPN solutions with a ZTNA solution, not only can you grant granular access to specific resources and applications but you can also do this without exposing the entire network to the internet.

A good ZTNA platform goes one step further and can offer native client support agentlessly thus removing the need to install an agent. This ensures that 3rd parties and contractors connecting from untrusted devices only get the exact access they require to applications and not to your whole network. This is not only more secure, but it also reduces many levels of complexity and improves user experience.

Manufacturing companies often have to abide by a number of regulations. ZTNA’s fine-grained controls ensure third-party or contractor access adheres to these regulations by protecting access to sensitive data and preventing unauthorized activities.

Access can be simplified further by providing temporary access to specific systems for just when it is needed without compromising security by setting time and date constraints. This ability significantly streamlines onboarding and offboarding processes.

Taming the Legacy Beast:

Manufacturing companies often have a large amount of outdated and legacy equipment. A good ZTNA platform will help circumvent the limitations of legacy systems that lack robust security features by supporting all ports and protocols as well as server-initiated flows. This ensures that access to these systems is only allowed from authorized users with zero trust in mind. This protects them from exploitation even if they lack inherent security capabilities.

Beyond ZTNA: The Power of SSE:

ZTNA forms the core of an SSE platform, a comprehensive security approach that integrates various functionalities beyond access control. Features like Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) within SSE protect sensitive data stored in cloud applications, while Data Loss Prevention (DLP) safeguards critical information from unauthorized exfiltration.

This unified approach simplifies security management and provides a holistic view of manufacturing ecosystems.

The SSE Advantage for Manufacturing:

Implementing the wider elements of an SSE platform will allow you to gain an overarching view of security across your entire environment, including OT/IT convergence and IIoT deployments. You will be able to can manage security through a single platform, minimizing administrative overhead and simplifying compliance workflows as well as leverage advanced threat intelligence and analytics to identify and mitigate security risks before they cause damage.

Building a Secure Future for Manufacturing:

ZTNA and SSE offer a future-proof security approach for manufacturing companies. By implementing these solutions, manufacturers can:

  • Minimize the attack surface: Grant access only to authorized users and resources, reducing the potential impact of breaches.
  • Embrace digital transformation: Securely connect disparate systems, applications, and users without compromising safety or privacy.
  • Improve compliance: Adhere to industry regulations and data privacy laws with granular access controls and robust security measures.
  • Boost operational efficiency: Streamline workflows, simplify access management, and gain valuable security insights to optimize operations.

As the manufacturing landscape evolves further and further, secure access and data protection become even more paramount. A good ZTNA platform and implementing the wider elements of an SSE solution will provide the tools and framework to build a resilient and adaptable cybersecurity posture, empowering manufacturers to innovate and thrive in the digital age.

Oher contributions from our HPE Aruba Evangelist Jaye Tillson:

Guest Blog: A Remarkable Experience at Xalient Summit 2023 | Xalient
Embracing Zero Trust: Revolutionizing Cloud Technology Adoption | Xalient
The Crucial Role of Identity in Zero Trust Security | Xalient
Advancing Healthcare Cybersecurity: Embracing the Full Spectrum of Zero Trust
Guest Blog: Bolstering Medical Cybersecurity – How ZTNA Platforms Stand as Guardians

Jaye Tillson, Field CTO at HPE Aruba
Jaye Tillson, Field CTO at HPE Aruba
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Mark Foulsham

Board Advisor, NED, COO/CIO, Fractional Support, Digital Leadership Coach

With a broad background as a COO/CIO/CDO, C-Suite Advisor, NED, Senior Transformation Leader and Coach, Mark tackles multiple fronts from the advantage of diverse experience in business operations, technology, procurement, delivery and risk. With a deep knowledge of business models from multiple sectors and extensive experience in fast-paced digital start-ups.

Mark’s work across extensive business types, functions and countries empowers him with experience to bear across silos. Mark has built a reputation for advocating cross-business collaboration, taking a pragmatic approach and championing transformative change.