To date the mining sector’s attempts to tackle the security of their IIoT initiatives in line with the overall research sample, the majority of mining respondents have a considerable amount of work to do to address the security issue.

38 per cent stated that cyber-security posed a barrier to the development of IIoT in their organisations and, worryingly, 87 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively, agreed that processes to protect against cyber-attacks and data misuse could be improved.

How mature is the mining sector’s approach to IoT security? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

How mature is the mining sector’s approach to IoT security? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

Mining is a major strategically-important industry and a well-executed IIoT-related cyber-attack could have severe implications for not only the company directly involved but also the wider economy. As mining companies come to connect evermore parts of their operations to the internet, through IIoT, they open up new vulnerabilities and the risks of disruption from bad actors multiply.

87%

admitted their cyber security processes should be stronger

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST SECURITY CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF IOT-BASED SOLUTIONS WITHIN YOUR ORGANISATION? (%)

External cyber attacks
Poor network security
Mishandling of data by staff
Insecure storage of data
Internal data regulation requirements
Partner data regulation requirements

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST SECURITY CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF IOT-BASED SOLUTIONS WITHIN YOUR ORGANISATION? (%)

External cyber attacks
Poor network security
Mishandling of data by staff
Insecure storage of data

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Internal data regulation requirements

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Partner data regulation requirements

The mining sector needs to focus more keenly on the external security threats it faces

38%

stated that cyber-security concerns were a barrier to the development of IIoT solutions

Despite this recognition, the response from the sector to address IIoT-related security challenges has been somewhat muted, and have for the most part revolved around creating internal and external security policies for staff to follow (45 per cent). While this will help to address data misuse by employees, this will do little to protect mining companies from cyber-attacks, which is where much more attention is needed. While 40 per cent have upgraded existing technology, just one in five (22 per cent) respondents report having invested in new security technologies to protect their IIoT deployments, which trails other sectors’ responses.

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

Training employees on IIoT
Upgrading existing security technologies
Securing physical assets such as sensor nodes
Creation of IIoT policy
Partnering with a third party
Hiring skilled staff

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

Training employees on IIoT
Upgrading existing security technologies
Securing physical assets such as sensor nodes
Creation of IIoT policy

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Partnering with a third party

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Hiring skilled staff

One reason for the relatively low level of activity to address security vulnerabilities in the mining sector may be that mining businesses do not have the right stakeholders involved in their IIoT initiatives. Over half (51 per cent) of respondents report that their organisation’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is not involved with their IIoT initiatives but should be, and a further 17 per cent report that they do not need to be involved.

 

The potential security vulnerabilities of IIoT are well documented, and it should be of some concern that there is not a total consensus that IT security specialists are fundamentally involved in IIoT projects. While this may change as the sector starts to invest in IIoT more heavily, this is an area to watch closely.

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

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