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Industry 4.0 Security, at the Crossroads of IT and OT

  • Industrial remote access allows users to connect to, monitor, and update their machines from anywhere at any time
  • Collect data from machines for use in third-party applications and leverage it to improve overall equipment efficiency (OEE), minimize downtime, and manage predictive maintenance
  • De facto, Industry 4.0 is at the crossroads between IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operation Technology)

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 Security can be defined as the digital transformation of manufacturing, production, and related industries… it is used interchangeably with the “fourth industrial revolution” and represents a new stage in the organization and control of the industrial value chain.

Industry 4.0 is often used as an umbrella term for various domains such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), Big Data, Machine Learning, IIoT and many other areas in the industrial world.

IT and OT, Bringing Two Worlds Together Through Industry 4.0

With the emergence of Industry 4.0, the convergences between IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology; used to control industrial equipment), previously separated, are multiplying. Whereas they were once isolated in physically secure areas, systems belonging to the OT world are increasingly connected to IT.

This is precisely the goal of the “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT): to make the connected machine and its underlying data available to the entire chain of players, from machine builders to end users and suppliers. By analyzing data, machine builders and users facilitate maintenance, improve knowledge, interconnect processes and ultimately create added value by improving productivity.

The Evolution of the Security Challenges Faced by IT and OT

While IT and OT are increasingly working together in this Industry 4.0 era, it is necessary to understand their specificities in terms of security.

  •  IT prioritizes data privacy while OT prioritizes system availability
  • IT focuses on data integrity while OT focuses on sustaining production

We can therefore emphasize that security concerns of these two fields are rather different, but also complementary as shown in the table below:


Industrial process failures typically impact the physical world. It can, for example, adversely affect human health, as well as the environment (e.g. when hazardous material leaks occur). The growing convergence between IT and OT creates new security challenges for any Industry 4.0 stakeholder. On one hand, IT can be seen as the Far West, where black hats, white hats and grey hats have always clashed.

On the other hand, OT has long been – due to its lack of connection to the outside world – like an ancient fortress, mainly protected by physical measures preventing access to industrial equipment. The challenge brought by Industry 4.0 is that IT vulnerabilities might now impact the OT world. It is therefore crucial to maintain the highest level of IT security, in order to avoid any impact on the industrial world.

Securing Industry 4.0: the Need for a Broad Spectrum Security Approach

As IT vulnerabilities now have an impact on the industrial world, it is essential to ensure that they are properly addressed in an industrial context. That’s precisely why Ewon solutions are ISO 27001 certified. 

This comprehensive, well established standard applies to both IT and OT and across domains (e. g. offices as well as a factories, banks as well as a power plants) and is thus perfectly suited for Industry 4.0. It is the most widely used security standard in the world, published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an internationally recognized organization. 

Ewon Strictly Adheres to ISO 27001 Requirements, the World’s most Comprehensive Security Standard

With its ISO 27001 certification, Ewon, a leading player in Industry 4.0 and IIoT, has implemented comprehensive security programs that protect information. Ewon is audited on every of the 114 controls listed in Annex A of ISO 27001. This provides the level of security that industrial companies are entitled to expect. 

Ewon pays particular attention to the implementation and compliance of all these measures from devices to the cloud as well as in its own infrastructure, ensuring that machines and data are well protected. Such certification is not easy to achieve, but it is a guarantee to provide secure solutions to machine builders and users, as these measures help protect the information used in IACS (Industrial Automation and Control Systems) and ensure that processes are effective in implementing security practices.

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