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Security-led Approach to Cloud Migration

Google Cloud Security recently hosted a panel session during the Manufacturers Alliance’s Defend Against Cyber Attacks in Manufacturing virtual seminar on September 16. Moderator Dr. Anton Chuvakin engaged in conversation with Keith O’Sullivan, Global CISO at Standard Industries, and Lena Smart, CISO at MongoDB, to explore ransomware, supply chain cyber risks, and cloud migration security in the manufacturing industry. We received a lot of great questions and would like to follow up on these and highlight some of the answers.

Q: Ransomware is on many minds now – how are you preparing? Have you heard from your peers who were attacked about what worked/what didn’t?

A: Manufacturing and utilities companies have a choice: either invest in improving their cybersecurity posture now or be a sitting duck who ends up paying a ransomware attacker in the near future – and probably multiple times. 

Preparing the company ahead of time with tabletop exercises, employee training, monitoring and detection software and processes, endpoint protection, creating incident response plans, and having cybersecurity insurance can ease many minds. 

Ransomware attackers are well funded and are becoming more sophisticated and will be able to bypass many of your controls, but preparedness and awareness are key.

Q: What can we do about supply chain management risks? Is this a solvable problem? 

A: Understand your vendors and onboard them with a level of security and scrutiny. Join working groups who are trying to take this on – this has been incredibly helpful. 

The supply chain can be thought of in two ways: technology, and the supply chains that manufacturers are part of. Oftentimes, small companies who are part of the supply chain do not have the budget to be protected. It’s important to help the “little guy” as cyber professionals. It’s also important to have great third-party risk assessments and vendor management and to hold them to a high standard. 

Q: What are your top observations and lessons for security during cloud migration?

A: Clearly identify the data you want to migrate. It sounds obvious, but it helps to be specific. Make sure you actually need it. Also, identify who needs access to the information. When you move to the cloud, you might not be sure who is accessing the data. 

Make sure your security folks are embedded in the process. 

Hold the vendors accountable for security. Work with them to understand what security features and frameworks are in place. 

Q: If an organization faces aging infrastructure at manufacturing sites, which are more susceptible to cyber attacks, upgrading isn’t always the most immediate option available. Are there ways to help defend them in the interim? 

Do everything you can to upgrade and update, like moving to the cloud. If you can’t upgrade your systems, you must put the protection around them. Keep it simple. If you can, ring-fence these old systems so you’re aware of what's happening at all times. Put layers in place and track who is in the systems and what they’re doing. 

Work with your vendors, and let them know that you must spend more money to protect them because they’d be at risk at the next overhaul.

Check out the replay of the panel session here. The Google Cloud Security team is available to discuss security-led approaches to cloud migration. Reach out by clicking here.

Opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own.