From Visibility to Vigilance: Transforming Industrial Cybersecurity with Schneider Electric

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From Visibility to Vigilance: Transforming Industrial Cybersecurity with Schneider Electric

In this interview during the Innovation Summit 2024, Jay Abdallah, Vice President of Cybersecurity Solutions & Services at Schneider Electric, talks about the double-edged sword that technological advancement represents. While it undoubtedly propels efficiency and efficacy in operations, it concurrently expands the attack surface, necessitating heightened security standards and regulatory compliance to shield against vulnerabilities. Industry-driven standards like IEC 62443 and bespoke company-produced standards are responses to these expanded vulnerabilities, aiming to fortify protection from all conceivable angles.

Jay Abdallah explains how IT and OT are coming together, especially in data centers, digital grids, and pharmaceuticals, where the benefits and controls known in office environments are being used directly. However, there’s still a clear divide in critical infrastructure areas like energy and chemicals. This shows the careful balance required between ensuring security and maintaining functionality.

As the dialogue veers into risk mitigation, Jay emphasizes the foundational role of people in the cybersecurity equation. With attacks on OT and critical national infrastructure on the rise and a significant portion of the workforce lacking cybersecurity understanding, the focus shifts to fostering policies, procedures, and a culture that prioritizes risk mitigation from a human-centric viewpoint. This is complemented by basic to advanced technological controls, from network segmentation to quantum resilient controls, designed to safeguard the most critical assets in the OT layer.

Visibility emerges as Jay’s favored metric for success in industrial cybersecurity. The challenge of gaining comprehensive visibility into field assets lays the groundwork for developing protective programs, assessing vulnerability levels, and implementing countermeasures. Schneider Electric’s commitment to developing solutions and providing consistent oversight and predictive analytics exemplifies the multi-faceted approach required to navigate the complexities of modern industrial cybersecurity.

This conversation at the Paris Innovation Summit charts a path forward for integrating advanced technologies with robust security frameworks. It’s a testament to the fact that in the age of digital transformation, vigilance, innovation, and collaboration remain our greatest tools against the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.

This interview was recorded by Lucian Fogoros, Co-founder of IIoT World at the Innovation Summit 2024 in Paris. The summary was created based on the video transcript with the assistance of The IIoT World Team reviewed it.

Sponsored by Schneider Electric