The International Society of Automation (ISA) — the leading professional society for automation — has announced the publication of a new position paper, “Advancing Industrial Cybersecurity.”

Cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities pose a clear and present danger to our facilities, our processes and the safety of our communities. As the position paper describes, when most people think about cybersecurity, they focus on what are commonly considered information technology (IT) challenges impacting individual equipment or networks. While these are valid concerns, the impact on the facility or its operation from equipment or network compromise is much more concerning.

This position paper aims to address how policy makers and private-sector leaders can be best equipped to address the urgent need for improved critical infrastructure cybersecurity through globally relevant standards and conformance programs, as well as strong support for the community of engineers and automation professionals working every day to keep our facilities, processes and communities safe.

Asset owners and policy makers the world over are making key decisions about how to protect critical infrastructure environment. These stakeholders should rely upon a broadly used set of consensus standards to address the security of industrial automation and control systems — ISA/IEC 62443 — as well as ISASecure conformity assessment programs to demonstrate compliance with these standards.

“In addition to raising awareness about the existing standardization solutions to support critical infrastructure, our position paper calls for greater awareness, education and training to equip engineers for the unique and growing challenges of the industrial cybersecurity environment,” said Steve Mustard, ISA treasurer and industrial cybersecurity subject matter expert. “Training is just one need among many. In reality, what a lot of organizations require is a cultural shift that prioritizes cybersecurity alongside functionality, efficiency and safety as one of the fundamental workplace tenets.”

The position paper is available now on the ISA website. Future position papers to be published by the Society will address such topics as the role of automation in workforce development and job creation.

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