IChemE has launched fact files on the importance of cybersecurity in the process industries. Helen Kilbride explains why cybersecurity must be on your radar
THE industries in which chemical engineers work often have complex and critical safety and environmental control systems that must be protected to prevent major incidents. Chemical, biochemical and process engineers must therefore take responsibility for, and work with IT and cybersecurity professionals, to manage the cybersecurity risks associated with these systems.
The benefits brought by new digital technologies are incredible, and are continuing to transform chemical engineering in many ways, for example improving operational efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and allowing internal and external collaboration from any location. With the new opportunities also come new risks and cyber-attacks are a significant threat. The potential impacts of an attack include major safety and environmental incidents, reputational damage, loss of business data, and financial cost. With the overlap between IT and operational technology (OT) systems used by chemical engineers becoming increasingly apparent, it is more and more critical for chemical engineers to become cyber aware.
Chemical engineers should undertake regular cybersecurity training and follow best practice. They should consider the periodic evaluation of system vulnerabilities, implement systems to minimise and manage risks, and detect and respond to security breaches. In short, they should be proactive, ask questions, learn more about the topic and get involved in discussions and planning for cybersecurity, thereby incorporating cybersecurity into their everyday jobs, much as the industry does with safety. Given the number of cyber-attacks on companies and organisations across the globe, companies are taking cybersecurity seriously, and so should our profession.
Developed by IChemE’s Digitalisation Technical Advisory Group (DigiTAG), the new series of fact files provides practical explanations of how chemical engineers can help to prevent and manage cybersecurity risks, including:
DigiTAG urges you to take a look at the fact files which can be viewed on the IChemE website: www.icheme.org/cybersecurity
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