Things You Need To Know About IEC 62443 Standards

In the era of globalization and highly competitive markets, the world demands more automation. This in turn increases the risk of cyber threats. Hence, cyber security requirements and the deployment of IEC 62443 are the need of the hour. IEC 62443 are a series of standards for control cyber security management, which leverages technical reports, related information and defines the process of implementing secure Industrial Automation and Control systems (IACS).

The IEC 62443 standards address complete IACS ecosystem and describe how security practitioners, system integrators and control system manufacturers should interact and ensure security and safety of their facilities and components.

This article will discuss a few aspects, which are crucial for safeguarding your business and critical assets from potential cyber threats.

The challenges

With the increasing convergence between the IT and OT, the Industrial IoT is expanding. More networks are getting interconnected irrespective of their geographies. Additionally, closed networks are no longer air-gapped and rapidly transformed to networks connected to office networks and cloud. This introduces multiple risks for businesses and affect the whole IACS ecosystem including asset owners, operators and suppliers.

Some of the key challenges that industries are inherently facing:

- Many control systems lack basic protection mechanisms (Authorization, Auditing, Input Validation…etc.), as these were not designed with security in mind.

- Industrial protocols are developed for trusted networks with reliability and availability as main priorities.

- Emerging technologies like smart metering, mobile computing and wireless etc., expose industrial devices to more and more risk of a cyber attack.

The implementation of the IEC 62443 is beneficial for organization to address their industrial cyber security risks. In simple language this standard segments the networks to zones and deploy various barriers (conduits) to enable better control over access and security within control systems networks using well-defined interfaces (channels). It provides a common terminology for IACS security, a security management system specific for industrial automation, guidance on the security architecture of the industrial network, and defines security requirements across the complete system and throughout components lifecycle. Therefore asset owners globally are adopting this option for protecting their industrial assets.


The evolution of IEC 62443

The IEC 62443 was designed to prevent any cyber security vulnerabilities and attacks on the asset owners. In 2002, a document titled ISA-99 was issued by the International Society for Automation (ISA), which laid down the information that the businesses required, who were operating in the automation industry, to shield themselves from cyber threats. Back then, the issue of cyber security was not that rampant and hence the debates and discussions were comparatively less. With the increase in business automation, the need for cyber security is growing. The ISA-99 was modified to fit the modern business cyber needs and came to be known as IEC 62443. This is developed by a cross section of cyber security experts from various industries, government and academia as these standards are applicable to all the industrial sectors. To reduce the chances of a cyber attack, the guidelines within the IEC 62443 should be followed.

IEC 62443 Structure

The ISA 62443 series and technical reports are categorized into the following four categories:

- Information on the concepts, terminology, models, work products describing security metrics.

- The second classification addresses different facets of generating and maintaining an efficacious IACS security program by targeting the asset owner.

- For the secure amalgamation of control systems, the third category host’s description of system design guidance and requirements.

- The fourth classification describes technical requirements and specific product development of control system upshots.

The Solution

Applied Risk’s IEC 62443 assessment is a comprehensive evaluation program, that can help your business evaluate your operational risks, components security without falling prey to cyber attacks.

Visit our Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Services to know what steps can be taken to enhance your control systems security.