Why Siemens Won’t Survive Without Cybersecurity

Why is it fundamentally important for Siemens to have a lead role in Cybersecurity? Because the company won’t survive the next ten years without it. Learn more.

Smartphones, online shopping, Netflix, Apple Pay… the list of exciting opportunities offered by digitalization is seemingly endless. However, as these innovative digital systems become more prevalent in our everyday lives, so do the digital threats. 

 

The same challenges apply to the digitalization of industry – even if the applications look a little different to the ones we use in our personal lives. As the digital landscape changes, so does the awareness for cybersecurity. “The internet used to just connect computer networks, but now it also connects Operational Technologies and intelligent devices across the board,” explains Stefan Jost-Dummer, Global Head of Staff Cybersecurity at Siemens.

Why Siemens Must Assume a Lead Role

As the company is in a position to lead industrial digitalization and automation, Siemens recognized early on that cybersecurity would be an integral part of the digital revolution. For example, the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) would be inconceivable without cybersecurity. The companys’ customers want advanced digitalization. But without protection against cybercrime, innovative digital solutions are at risk. 

If our customers aren’t confident that our systems are secure, Siemens and its products will fail.

This means that, “without trust, the digital revolution won’t work”, Stefan Jost-Dummer explains. “And if our customers aren’t confident that our systems are secure, Siemens and its products will fail.” In other words: Siemens’ digital products, especially its solutions for all aspects of MindSphere and IoT services, will only succeed if the company can offer them with the best possible protection from data theft and attacks.

Without Cybersecurity, Nothing is Safe

The reason for secure digital systems is simple: IoT is the driving technology behind the digitalization of industry, and the driver for nearly all Siemens business fields.  

 

The future of manufacturing, for example, is made possible by the way machines talk to each other. Operational Technologies are informed and governed by software and connectivity. Without protection, hackers can gain access to confidential information such as product designs, halt operations, and disrupt the supply chain.  

Ignoring cyber risks can kill the business!
Natalia Oropeza, Siemens Chief Cybersecurity Officer

IoT also allows Siemens to shape Smart Infrastructures with intelligent devices and plays a crucial role in establishing sustainable, forward-thinking Smart Cities. Here, digital systems are used to control many of the utilities and services that make these cities function. This can include smart metering, real-time analytics, monitoring solutions for pollution, healthcare services and the infrastructure and operation of power grids. Should the integrity of any one of these systems be compromised by a malicious software attack, the consequences could be devastating. 

  • Imagine, for instance, you’re in a hospital in the emergency room. If your patient data is manipulated even a little, you could end up getting the wrong medication. 
  • Or suppose there’s a blackout in your city. It’s hard to imagine just how much your daily life would be affected. But you can be sure of one thing: The lack of coffee or an ice-cold shower would be the least of your worries.

A Holistic Approach

“Ignoring cyber risks can kill the business,” says Natalia Oropeza, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Siemens. “In other words: Siemens would not survive the next ten years without cybersecurity.” That’s why the company has developed a holistic approach to cybersecurity, one which helps us to protect its infrastructure, as well as its products, solutions and services as much as possible.  “It’s not only about deploying technology or increasing investment in infrastructure,” says Natalia Oropeza. “You need to do it in the right way, especially where OT is concerned. You have to understand the whole context and environment. And Siemens has the know-how in that domain.” 

 

So, as you can see, there’s much more to cybersecurity than simply installing a new antivirus. Even when the solutions are in place, the work doesn’t end there. The advantage Siemens has over a company that only provides malware protection is that the company knows its customers and the industry, it knows which attacks are specific to Operational Technology (OT), and it understands the way digital systems impact the products and services our customers offer.  

 

“Cybersecurity affects everybody – it’s not a task that my team and I can manage for Siemens all by ourselves,” adds Oropeza. “We’ll only make Siemens really secure once, for instance, passwords are assigned that meet the highest standards, and aren’t just ‘123456’. This is why we also need our employees to be aware of cybersecurity, and why we must improve training – including on the customer’s end.”

2019-11-04

Luka Vracar & Sebastian Webel

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