The Need for Robust Cybersecurity Strategies in Digital Transformation

Information technology (IT) has set the stage for the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and widespread digital transformation to achieve greater business visibility and resilience. Transitioning from manual to digital processes is key to business resilience and sustainability.

Information technology is a broad term, but it is typically used to describe enterprise computer systems and networks. On the other hand, industrial or operations technology (OT) describes the systems that monitor or control industrial equipment and processes

What Is the Importance of Cybersecurity in Digital Transformation?

Typically, digital transformation is divided into four categories: domain, business model, process, and organization/culture. Consequently, it naturally generates a flood of data and connections. While this wealth of information provides new opportunities for optimization and innovation, it also leaves organizations vulnerable to data breaches and cyber threats.

Therefore, any new technology strategy must be viewed as a vulnerability and an advantage. To protect return on investment, reputation, and customers, organizations must take the time to build a capable cybersecurity foundation that considers everything from legacy to high-tech assets and from existing to new IT infrastructure before digital transformation can be safely executed.

IT and OT use similar underlying technologies. Yet, historically, developments have tended to be conducted in isolation, leading to information silos and additional threat vectors. IT/OT convergence, a critical component of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, involves integrating IT and OT. While IT systems are used for data-centric computing, OT systems monitor events, processes, and devices and adapt business and industry operations. In short, IT/OT convergence connects IT systems with OT systems. It enables them to share information in the form of data to leverage this connectivity and increase the value of these systems.

Consequently, OT cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as reliance on computer systems, web-based networking standards, and the number of smart devices that make up the internet of things increases.

The concept of cybersecurity is not new and was first raised in the 1970s. It began with a project called The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), an interconnection network developed before the internet. A developer created a computer program called Creeper that could move through the ARPANET network and leave a trail of crumbs everywhere. The inventor of email wrote the program Reaper, which tracked down and deleted the Creeper. This made it the first example of anti-virus software and the first self-replicating program, making it the earliest-ever computer worm.

Fast forward fifty years… 2022 was a year of massive data leaks, expensive ransomware payments, and a vast, new, complicated threat landscape. Cybercriminals have significantly improved their threat strategy. Simple endpoint attacks turned into complex, multi-layered operations, with attacks hitting small businesses and large corporations alike. A new term was born, the threat landscape, which refers to the full spectrum of potential and detected cybersecurity threats related to user groups, organizations, specific industries, or a specific point in time.

Overcome Cybersecurity Challenges During Digital Transformation

Over the past year, cybercriminals have carried out a wave of cyberattacks that have been highly coordinated and far more advanced than ever. Cybersecurity statistics revealed that 54% 1 of organizations have already experienced an incident involving industrial control systems. Cyber attackers are directly targeting OT networks. Statistical results show a 156% 2 increase in ransomware attacks on the manufacturing sector, and 81% 3 of malware could disrupt industrial control systems. The average cyberattack cost companies more than $4 million 4 in 2021. Time is of the essence in a cyberattack, with an estimated 295 days 5 required for organizations to detect and contain a cyberattack.

With new cyber threats emerging daily, the threat landscape is changing at an alarming pace. Appropriate action is no longer optional and must be implemented with a sense of urgency.

A typical industrial cybersecurity journey includes three phases:

Because of its complexity, both politically and technically, cybersecurity is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today. The ability to execute a resilient cybersecurity response is directly related to the quantity and quality of data collected, analyzed, and implemented to reduce business risk. Companies understand that the future is uncertain and are investing in OT cybersecurity with technology providers like Honeywell to withstand the latest threats to the business – and emerge stronger.


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HPS, Customer

1Source: Cybersecurity Statistics, 2021, purplesec.us

2Source: Ponemon Institute, 2021

3Source: Honeywell, Threat Report 2022

4Source: Ponemon Institute, 2021

5Source: Ponemon Institute, 2021