Trend Micro joins with Moxa to accelerate industrial Internet of Things applications; deliver cybersecurity and industrial networking

Trend Micro Inc., announced on Tuesday a new partnership with industrial communication and networking company Moxa, as part of its Technology Alliance Partner Program to jointly develop solutions to protect industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) environments like smart manufacturing and smart energy.

To provide the security necessary for edge connectivity, device management and product longevity for IIoT applications, the initial joint offering will focus on endpoint lockdown, firewalls for operational technology (OT) networks, and embedded security to add value for asset owners and plant operators across the globe.

Moxa is a vendor of edge connectivity, industrial computing, and network infrastructure solutions for enabling connectivity for the Industrial Internet of Things. It has connected more than 50 million devices worldwide and has a distribution and service network that reaches customers in more than 70 countries. Moxa delivers lasting business value by empowering industry with reliable networks and sincere service for industrial communications infrastructures.

“We are excited about our partnerships with industry leaders like Trend Micro, which allows our customers to take advantage of Moxa’s 30 years of OT, industrial networking and protocol expertise combined with Trend Micro’s extensive experience in cybersecurity and threat intelligence,” said Andy Cheng, president, strategic business Unit, for Moxa. “This collaboration further equips us to help our customers overcome the challenges of IT and OT convergence and to address the needs of increasingly demanding industrial applications in the era of IIoT.”

“We’re delighted to be entering this Technology Partnership Agreement with Moxa,” said Eva Chen, chief executive officer for Trend Micro. “IT and OT technology continue to converge, and organizations need support in securing the infrastructure shift and new connections on their network. Partnering with strong industry leaders like Moxa has been an important part of our strategy over the past 30 years.”

Trend Micro identified the potential challenges faced by IIoT stakeholders early on and has been working on several fronts to secure the entire ecosystem, from data center to device. This includes developing and gathering intelligence on new vulnerabilities, collaborating closely with ISPs on Virtual Network Function-based security, and working on new solutions with embedded computing developers and device manufacturers.

IIoT projects offer organizations across a range of sectors the opportunity to become more agile, efficient and cost effective. In manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation, adoption of solutions is estimated to have reached 86 percent. Surging interest in IIoT is also driving a rapidly growing smart city market predicted to be worth over $2.5 trillion by 20252.

However, IIoT cyber risk continues to grow and threaten the success of IIoT applications. Insecure devices and networks can be exploited to sabotage industrial equipment, leveraged to cause damaging ransomware outages, or used to reach sensitive stores of corporate data elsewhere on enterprise networks.

Many organizations struggle with securing their IIoT devices because these devices are at the crossroads of IT and OT organizations. The responsibility for their security is often unclear.

The convergence of IT and OT has led to a new environment characterized by an increase in the numbers of various elements with their respective functions within the ecosystem — more devices, sensors, processors, platforms, protocols, etc. At the same time, it has created new dynamic business challenges for the organization.

There is, of course, the cost of adopting new technologies brought about by the underlying IIoT digital transformation. This can prove expensive, entail personnel retraining and otherwise require time and resources for it to work correctly.

The need to ensure that all parts of the organization follow all legal and regulatory requirements also becomes an issue. This is because some parts of the organization might not have been subject to certain requirements prior to the deployment of IoT devices in the organization.

Furthermore, lack of visibility and control on IoT devices across the organization is magnified as cyberattacks increase. In line with this, it is critical for the organization’s reputation to be kept intact following cyberattacks or other forms of violation.

An unwelcome effect of IT/OT convergence is the expansion of the attack surfaces and threat vectors across the organization. This provides more opportunities for hackers, malware authors and criminal groups to take advantage of.

Given the profusion of attacks and breaches, cyberthreats are now top of mind for discerning senior executives and board members. This awareness has resulted in increased funding becoming available for the IT environment, but not necessarily for the OT environment, where cybersecurity is still more an afterthought than an integrated part of the business plan.

As a result of IT/OT convergence, we are starting to see significant security challenges for the overall organization. These include lack of security awareness across the IT/OT environment and fragmented security solutions that don’t necessarily work in the OT environment. Another issue is lack of standards and regulations for IoT technologies, which makes planning and implementation difficult. Also, some security models may not have been built into IoT devices and platforms, particularly those used in the OT environment.

The prevailing security approach in the OT environment is to use IT practices and technologies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work and, in some cases, has caused problems with operational equipment and devices. For one thing, the IT and OT environments have different views about security as they have different reporting lines and business needs. Consequently, misapplications of IT security in the OT environment arise, which in turn lead to self-denial-of-service and other complications.


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