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Cybersecurity and The Connected Distribution Center

Today’s distribution and fulfillment operations are reaching the point where they have to take chances to succeed, thrive or even survive — especially those competing in the hyper-competitive, fast-paced world of e-commerce. As a result, many are making a digital transformation to more automated processes and connected facilities, both made possible by the industrial internet of things (IIoT). 

But there are risks in these transformations, i.e., a growing potential for cyber attacks. Once a relatively minor risk, denial of service (DoS) and ransomware attacks are increasing rapidly within the supply chain and distribution space. The potential for security data breaches and costly business disruption is forcing operators to implement appropriate cybersecurity measures to ensure that sensitive information, operations and data are protected in The Connected DC.

A growing threat 

Although IIoT is a relatively new subspecies of the internet, it is quickly becoming a target for hackers. A 2018 survey of 1,300 global manufacturers reported that 66 percent have experienced a cyber attack on their supply chains — and half of those attacks occurred in 2017 alone, at an average cost of $1 million per attack. There’s simply too much value in the distribution and fulfillment of goods for threat agents to ignore. Hence, attacks on distribution and fulfillment operations are growing larger and more audacious. 

What’s at risk?

Given the nature of e-commerce and the dynamics of increasingly connected DC operations, threats to a DC can be different than the data and service-focused cyber attacks taking place on the global internet. Across the DC and the IIoT, attacks are often focused on disrupting the connected equipment, instrumentation and IIoT-based technologies that manage and keep production moving. These threat agents (or bad actors) seek data and access to money, consumer information and anything of value they can attain — all of which DCs have. And threat agents put it all at risk:

  • Costly disruption of fulfillment operations and resulting downtime
  • Disclosure of sensitive information or regulated data, i.e., operational, confidential business or personal identifiable information (PII) 
  • Introduction of malware to system and equipment controls
  • Inventory theft
  • Compromised IIoT sensors and wireless systems

The rise of supply chain cybersecurity experts

Fortunately, companies driving The Connected DC and IIoT solutions, such as Honeywell Intelligrated, are tightly focused on building security architectures, solutions and services to reduce cyber risks for the specific vulnerabilities within distribution centers.

Our IIoT cybersecurity experts have an experiential advantage: they’ve developed and implemented internet security measures in response to attacks over the last 40 years. With that knowledge base, they can take a more proactive, predictive approach to potential attacks, rather than responding with protective measures after the fact.

Build a strong defense — partner with an expert

The IIoT experts at Honeywell Intelligrated are dedicated to addressing these security concerns by building in requisite security measures and providing full-time security services. With our Managed Security Services, your cybersecurity is monitored and managed around the clock. 

Unfortunately, threat agents are always looking for new ways to penetrate your operations. However, our cybersecurity services are always seeking new ways to block them. Read our article to learn more about cybersecurity risk and how Honeywell Intelligrated is protecting your information from threats.