Cyber secured at critical network device level has never been more important

Eaton Electrical (Australia) Pty Ltd
By Chris Barson, Eaton Aus/NZ Product Manager – Power Quality/DC Power Solutions
Wednesday, 01 May, 2024

Cyber secured at critical network device level has never been more important

We live in a hyper connected world with a vast number of connected devices. Those devices generate significant amounts of data, which creates opportunities and risks for organisations. A security breach can result in operational downtime and/or data loss, as well as impact safety and lifecycle costs — any one of which can seriously impact a company’s reputation and worse.

As organisations expand their digital footprint, it becomes imperative to protect the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of their systems. Cybersecurity threats must be taken very seriously and met proactively with a system-wide defensive approach. Plainly speaking, asking a supplier if their equipment has cybersecurity built in and receiving a response of “yes, we have cybersecurity” is, generally speaking, insufficient. There is an extended discussion that needs to be had, not least by asking the question “how?”. The answer to such a question is the first step in building and maintaining confidence in the hardware/software that manufacturers offer.

An in-depth defence mechanism that is effective today may not be effective tomorrow, because the ways and means of cyberattacks constantly change. This is why administrators of critical communication/control system networks must be working with suppliers who are ever-alert to changes in cybersecurity and constantly working to protect customers against potential vulnerabilities.

Historically, many device types have been overlooked by network operators with regards to cybersecurity. But what is well documented in the news in recent years is that any device on a network that is capable of remote communication is a potential vulnerability risk.

Cybersecurity incidents can cripple an organisation in minutes. Across the world, there are repeating stories from different organisation that a hardware device or software became the access point for a breach, and shortly thereafter the organisation had breached the trust of their entire customer base and in some cases was unable to operate entirely. Because of this, customers need to use software and hardware from suppliers that they can trust. Those suppliers must be able to provide credible evidence that they not only manufacture products today that are tested to recognised cybersecurity standards, but that they will continue to keep pace with the changing landscape of cybersecurity risks.

Eaton introduced the first research and testing facility approved to participate in UL’s Cybersecurity Client Lab Validation program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. And in 2018, UL approved a second Eaton lab to join the program — another industry first — in Pune, India. These accredited lab environments provide the global capability to test Eaton products with intelligence or embedded logic to key aspects of UL Standards.

Michael Regelski, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, explains, “We know cybersecurity is a global threat and having the capability worldwide to ensure the highest standards are consistently applied to our technology is a key advantage for our customers.”

There is no need to take chances with connected solutions. With products tested in Eaton specialised labs, our customers can rest easier, knowing Eaton devices are compliant with the highest industry cybersecurity requirements before they’re installed in critical power networks. The products are required to meet the rigorous testing standards to operate securely worldwide.

With a combination of industry-standard technologies and custom developed tools, Eaton goes well beyond what’s typically expected. Through customised vulnerability analysis, malware detection, static and binary code analysis, protocol fuzzing, and automatic software testing to name a few, Eaton offers a complete framework at an independently certified test house that enables customers to suitably manage the cybersecurity risk.

Cybersecurity is a key aspect in the lifecycle of Eaton products and services. It is not a ‘nice to have’, but rather an absolute must. Customers rely on Eaton to understand, dissect, and alleviate cybersecurity risks, and we’re proud to build it into our core DNA.

At Eaton, we see ourselves as the technology leader in cybersecurity. Our motto is “secure by design”, addressing cybersecurity in the age of electrification, digitalization, and the energy transition globally.

For further information please contact your local Eaton sales office or Eaton partner, or refer to the website.

Image credit: Yajampa

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