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A vast majority of companies agree that they must strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities, but say they lack the skills and technology.

Businesses in the mining sector recognise their approaches to cybersecurity must be strengthened but are not yet taking the practical steps to safeguard their Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, according to a study undertaken on behalf of Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications.

The study, which surveyed 125 businesses across the mining industry, revealed that 87% of respondents reported that their processes to combat cybersecurity threats could be stronger, and 84% said more could be done to protect against data mishandling.

However, despite recognising the enhanced security threats of Industrial IoT, just 22% have invested in new security technologies and only 31% have partnered with security specialists for assistance, indicating that not enough is being done to secure operations.

One driver for this response is a lack of relevant skills, with 70% of respondents reporting that they lacked staff with cybersecurity skills to deliver their Industrial IoT deployments.

Commenting on the findings, Tara MacLachlan, Vice-President for Industrial IoT at Inmarsat Enterprise says:

“While Industrial IoT presents immensely exciting possibilities for businesses across the mining sector, it also increases the risk that they will face cybersecurity issues, and our research suggests that they are unprepared for these risks.

“A network is only secure as its weakest point, and with Industrial IoT increasing the potential surface area for cyberattacks, businesses must ensure that they harden every element of their IoT deployments.

“Without secure Industrial IoT networks, mining businesses may leave themselves open to cyberattacks designed to cripple extraction and processing machinery, ransomware or industrial espionage.  

“Truly secure Industrial IoT deployments must have security built-in from the ground up. This must include secure access management, secure execution environments, enhanced data encryption, and smart validation and authentication between sensors, gateways, and the software orchestration platform.

“As we have seen from the results of this study, not every mining business has the skills or technology capabilities to ensure an IoT solution is secure from end-to-end.

“Businesses need to collaborate with specialist providers who can offer a fully managed IoT service that considers security at every stage, from the edge sensors, to the gateways and orchestration platforms, to the connectivity and networks themselves.”

Inmarsat is a leading provider of managed Industrial IoT services across the global supply chain.

With its unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable and secure commercial mobile satellite networks for almost 40 years, and advanced capabilities and experience with IoT technologies, Inmarsat is well placed to help organisations secure and make a success of their IoT initiatives.

Security is embedded in Inmarsat’s IoT solutions and throughout its core network and operations, which are protected by a dedicated cybersecurity team monitoring and counteracting threats 24/7/365.

To view the research microsite and download the full report – ‘Industrial IoT on Land and at Sea’ here.