08 Apr 2019

SECURING THE MARITIME IoT FRAMEWORK

As technology advances, there are a growing number of providers that are developing products and services based on the IoT (Internet of Things) framework. In the maritime industry, it is increasingly common for vessel containers to be tracked from ashore and even machinery performance metrics, providing remotely automated readouts, to those ashore. With the increased use of technology, the risk of these networks being compromised also increases. There are a growing number of incidents in the maritime industry where systems were compromised leading to losses in millions of dollars.

On an average when these breaches occur it may take over 100 days before they are even detected! Various maritime organizations and associations have published guidelines on measures to be taken to prevent/deter such a compromise, but history has shown that the maritime industry tends to be more reactive than proactive. Even the ISM code now includes as an appendix a circular on guidelines for maritime security. As part of the implementation of the ISM Code measures for cybersecurity should be included in the system. From the security of networks to machinery to contingency plans in case of breaches occur.

The implementation of cyber-security measures includes the need for protection of three aspects of the system; the IT aspect, the human aspect, and the physical aspect. Organizations need to consider the cyber-security risks at the planning stage of the system and determine where vulnerabilities lie and how to address them. Instead of reinventing the wheel organizations may consider the implementation of an information security management system based on ISO 27001. ISO 27001 lays the framework for the IT security of the system. Once implemented and used, based on industry feedback the standard includes an annex of controls for implementation to secure the system. ISO 27001 has a total of 114 controls split across 35 control categories.

If an organization already has an ISO management system framework in place, for example, an ISO 9001 based system, integration of ISO 27001 into the existing management system would be a simple exercise. This integration has been made easier by ISO through the use of the High-Level Structure across standards. QMII has over 30 plus years encouraged its clients to “appreciate your management system”. As such we build upon your existing measures and documentation to fill the gaps for requirements set by the standard. This ensures continuity in system acceptance by the users, the changes to the system are minimal and easier to implement. For successful implementation of your system beware of templates that promise conformance to the requirements. They may enable you to gain certification but will not ensure any long-term success least of all cybersecurity.

Learn more about how you can improve your management system and integrate the requirements of ISO 27001 into your existing management system.