Challenges of Implementing IIoT Security

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has transformed how global industries operate – for the smoother, safer, and more efficient. But with the proliferation of IIoT devices comes the challenge of securing them. The IIoT security market is expected to reach 38.7 billion in 2023, highlighting the critical need to find new security solutions. This article addresses these challenges and provides possible solutions to help manufacturers safeguard their networks and devices.

The industrial application of IoT has been a game-changer for both multinational companies and small startups seeking to outperform competitors, increase efficiency, reduce waste, and grow profits. With an expected market size of USD 394 billion in 2023, IIoT became a synonym for Industry 4.0, namely the 4th industrial revolution.

 The role of IIoT in modern industries 

The introduction of IIoT has brought significant developments to the industrial sector. The most common applications of IIoT include predictive maintenance, quality control, supply chain optimization, asset tracking and management, and energy management. This technology is revolutionizing  different industrial sectors by optimizing production processes, reducing downtime, enhancing workplace safety, and enabling predictive maintenance.

Security Challenges

As the use of IIoT has become a new standard for industry players seeking innovation. It’s becoming increasingly challenging to protect intellectual property and sensitive data. The IIoT security market is expected to reach 38.7 billion in 2023, highlighting the critical need to protect against cyberattacks, tampering, and insider threats.

For most organizations, the increased likelihood of external attacks and data breaches remains the most significant barrier to adopting IoT comprehensively. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report, 80% of organizations that have adopted IoT have experienced a related security breach. Such an event can lead to severe consequences for a manufacturer: It can result in loss of production, loss of revenue, data theft, significant equipment damage, industrial espionage, and even bodily harm.

 Here’s a round-up of the key challenges to IIoT security and how to overcome them


1. Diversity in the IIoT device market

Manufacturers often deploy hundreds or even thousands of IIoT devices, each with unique security vulnerabilities – making it challenging for organizations to manage security risks and ensure that all devices are up-to-date with the latest security patches installed. According to a study by Deloitte, only 36% of manufacturers surveyed have implemented comprehensive IIoT security measures, while 45% rely on essential security protocols.

2. Lack of standardized security protocols

A significant challenge for IIoT security is the need to standardize security protocols across devices. Unlike consumer electronics or enterprise IT systems, many IIoT devices are designed for specific industrial applications and may not be subject to strict security standards. This makes them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches.

The lack of standardized security protocols makes it challenging for organizations to manage the security risks associated with IIoT devices. As a result, it’s crucial to implement robust IIoT security measures that address these vulnerabilities and ensure that all devices are secure.

3. Location

As IIoT devices continue to be deployed in remote and hazardous areas, the risk of cyberattacks and physical tampering has increased. Fortinet’s 2023 cybersecurity skills gap report shows that 48% of organizations suffered breaches in the past 12 months that cost more than USD 1 million to remediate, up from 38% in 2021.

Incidents can range from physical tampering to cyberattacks, jeopardizing the security and integrity of IIoT devices. Therefore, implementing robust IIoT security measures that address physical and cyber vulnerabilities is critical to safeguarding devices from external threats and preventing operational downtime.

4. Insider threats

One of the primary reasons for concern about insider threats is that IIoT devices are frequently integrated with critical infrastructure, making them highly vulnerable to disruption or sabotage. For example, an employee with access to an IIoT device used in a manufacturing process could intentionally or unintentionally change the device’s settings, causing production delays or even physical damage to the manufacturing equipment.

5. Third-party risks

The risks associated with vendors, suppliers, and other third-party partners with access to the manufacturer’s IT infrastructure or IIoT devices are called third-party risks. In fact, 63% of all data breaches can be traced back to a third-party vendor or contractor, according to a 2021 report by the Ponemon Institute.

These third-party partners may have their own security flaws, or they may unintentionally expose the manufacturer’s systems to security risks. Manufacturers must implement comprehensive IIoT security measures that address third-party risks and ensure all partners follow strict security protocols. Failure to do so could result in significant financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liability.

Manufacturers must implement comprehensive IIoT security measures.

Strategies Manufacturers can implement today

The IEC 62443 standard Part 4-1 serves the crucial purpose of establishing a secure development lifecycle for the creation and maintenance of products utilized in industrial automation and control systems. The IEC 62443-4-1 certification confirms that the developer has adopted a secure-by-design approach right from the start of the product development process.

This approach involves a comprehensive security lifecycle and effective patch management to protect the product over time. To meet the security requirements relevant to customers, these industrial components must undergo certification in accordance with IEC 62443-4-2. By following the guidelines defined in the IEC 62443-4-2 subsection, component suppliers can ensure their customers have the best chance of protecting their networks against cyberattacks.


The proliferation of IIoT devices has increased the risk of cyberattacks and data breaches, creating safety challenges that manufacturers must overcome. Implementing robust IIoT security measures that address new challenges is critical. Manufacturers should and in some cases have to adopt secure development lifecycles and adhere to established guidelines such as IEC 62443 to ensure compliance with industry standards and safeguard their devices against external threats.

To assist manufacturers in meeting the IEC 62443-4-1 and IEC 62443-4-2 standards, accredited cybersecurity laboratories like CClab offer services, including professional consultancy and even the necessary audits, to ensure compliance. Such assistance can be crucial for Manufacturers when preparing for their IEC 62442 certification project.

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