Decade-long Experience 

Digital systems and cybersecurity need to evolve hand in hand – as indeed has been the case at Siemens for more than 30 years. 
 

by Sebastian Webel & Hubertus Breuer

Whereas in 1986 the company had only a small IT security team consisting of a handful of network security employees, the scope of operations is now far larger. For example, Siemens employs cyber defense experts to examine industrial facilities worldwide for possible threats from the Internet, warns companies of security-related incidents, and coordinates proactive countermeasures. The company currently employs around 1,300 cybersecurity experts. This gives Siemens a very broad foundation for protecting itself and its customers with secure products and systems. Moreover, cybersecurity systems are among Siemens’ “Company Core Technologies” – i.e. technology and innovation areas that are of the greatest strategic significance and by means of which Siemens is striving to play a leading technological role.

In addition to its focus on industrial customers, Siemens also provides cybersecurity services to suppliers, power grid operators, and the healthcare sector.

Focusing on Future Challenges

As a result, the company has a huge amount of expertise in the field of cybersecurity and the growing challenges it poses. This applies especially to MindSphere, the open, cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens that combines data analysis, multiple connectivity, development tools, and applications. More than one million devices from a variety of customers are now connected to this system. All of these devices have to be protected, even as their number continue to increase.

 

In addition to its focus on industrial customers, Siemens also provides cybersecurity services to suppliers, power grid operators, and the healthcare sector.

Charter of Trust

Even an industrial giant like Siemens cannot handle this issue all on its own if it is to keep pace with the market’s steady progress and the range of criminal threats. On the contrary, companies and governments have to pull together and take targeted action. As a result, Siemens and partners from industry, government, and society started the Initiative “Charter of Trust“ at the Munich Security Conference in February 2018. With a view to making the digital environment more secure as a whole, the document’s signatories describe the key principles that they consider to be indispensable for building a new level of trust between governments, business partners, customers, and society at large. All of the signatories agree that business success cannot be achieved without trust. And the number of signatories continues to increase. In 2018 the Charter started with eight participants, which grew to 15 within the year, including IBM, Daimler, Cisco, Allianz, Dell, and Deutsche Telekom.

After one year of the Charter, the balance is positive, with concrete recommendations from the Charter already being reflected in Emmanuel Macron’s French cybersecurity strategy, which was proclaimed at the end of 2018, and in the German IT security law and the EU Cyber Security Act. In addition, all of the Charter’s participants have agreed on the implementation of comprehensive security standards along their supply chains – a major advance considering the number of suppliers worldwide working for the 15 companies. Although significant efforts have been made to jointly counteract cybercrime, there will never be 100 percent security. Defense against such attacks will continue to be a game of cat and mouse. Nevertheless, cybersecurity experts at research institutes and from industry have taken up this challenge. That’s because business and society must be able to rely on the security of digital technologies to the greatest extent possible. Only this way can all of us benefit from the promise of a digital world.

2018-05-17

Sebastian Webel / Hubertus Breuer

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