Industry experts are coming to terms with the idea that, while the industry is not going to come under the same concerted attacks that finance houses are, there’s a growing need to protect agricultural set-ups. But despite this recognition, security is still an area that much of the sector is struggling with, with the clear majority of respondents ranking in the laggard or starter categories when it comes to IIoT security.

 

How mature is the agriculture sector’s approach to IIoT security? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

How mature is the agriculture sector’s approach to IIoT security? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

By its nature, the agricultural sector has traditionally been well insulated from cyber- attacks, so the limited progress in this area is somewhat expected. However, as farms integrate evermore internet-enabled technologies into their operations that is rapidly changing. Such attacks could have devastating consequences, and a well-targeted hack of a smart irrigation system or harvesting machinery could well do irreparable damage to a supply chain or wreak havoc in the commodity market.

While it is encouraging that just 19 per cent stated that security was a barrier to adoption – significantly lower than the figure reported in some other sectors – six in ten respondents admitted that their processes to combat cyber-security and protect against data mishandling could be improved. Moreover, 98 per cent said that they had IIoT security concerns of some sort.

 

MY ORGANISATION'S PROCESSES TO COMBAT CYBER SECURITY COULD BE STRONGER (%)


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Strongly agree
Agree
Disagree
Strongly disagree
25%

have invested in new security technologies to support their IIoT initiatives

However, despite their recognition of the potential security risks, the steps agriculture respondents have taken to address these vulnerabilities indicates that they are not yet properly confronting the issue. While around half have instigated initiatives to train employees on IIoT (46 per cent), only around 34 per cent have moved to improve the security of physical assets such as sensor nodes and just 25 per cent have invested in new security technologies.

 

WHAT CHANGES TO SECURITY HAS YOUR ORGANISATION MADE TO ADDRESS IIOT SECURITY CONCERNS? (%)

Training employees on IIoT
Securing physical assets such as sensor nodes
Upgrading existing security technologies
Partnering with a third party
Hiring skilled staff
Communicating to customers on the use of IIoT
Investing in new security technologies
Creation of an external IIoT security policy for suppliers and partners

WHAT CHANGES TO SECURITY HAS YOUR ORGANISATION MADE TO ADDRESS IIOT SECURITY CONCERNS? (%)

Training employees on IIoT
Securing physical assets such as sensor nodes
Upgrading existing security technologies
Partnering with a third party
Hiring skilled staff
Communicating to customers on the use of IIoT
Investing in new security technologies
Creation of an external IIoT security policy for suppliers and partners

The agriculture sector is actively looking for support from third party specialists to secure their IIoT initiatives

The low level of activity being reported to improve the security surrounding IIoT solutions may owe to the relatively limited involved of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) in IIoT deployments in the sector. Almost four in ten (38 per cent) respondents state that their CISOs are not involved in IIoT deployments, but should be, and a further 18 per cent didn’t see a need for their involvement at all. When we consider the skills shortages and challenges being reported with regard to security in all segments of the agriculture sector, this is surprising.

On a more positive note, the agriculture sector is actively looking to plug the gaps in its security capabilities and work with third party specialists to secure their IIoT initiatives. Just 13 per cent of agriculture respondents intend to manage the ongoing security of their IIoT solutions, with the majority expecting to enlist the help of security experts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD THE REPORT - INDUSTRIAL IOT ON LAND AND AT SEA: AGRICULTURE

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