RS is a Trusted Partner for Securing Medical Manufacturing Networks


RS is a Trusted Partner for Securing Medical Manufacturing Networks

The RS portfolio of cybersecurity infrastructure essential to protecting industrial medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing networks from cyberattacks that could lead to production losses, new drug development delays, and data loss or theft includes industrial routers, managed Ethernet switches, and protocol converters equipped with robust security features.


RS, a trading brand of RS Group plc, a global provider of industrial product and service solutions, offers a comprehensive suite of advanced solutions designed to address the key challenges faced by customers in the medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, including cybersecurity threats.
The benefits of implementing Industry 4.0 technologies like intelligent automation systems and IIoT devices in medical manufacturing facilities are abundant and include improved efficiencies, flexibility, safety, productivity, and profitability. But these technologies rely on densely populated networks that integrate information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), and the fact of the matter is that every piece of connected technology introduces another point of vulnerability to cybersecurity attacks.
As the medical manufacturing industry contends with the digitization and digitalization trends fueled by Industry 4.0, the IIoT, and IT/OT convergence — converting analog information into digital formats and leveraging digital technologies to transform processes — effective cybersecurity becomes increasingly imperative. But since these risks are relatively new, they’re not always an obvious concern — much less a primary concern — until it’s too late. And at that point, the resulting costs, reputation damage, and regulatory penalties can be devastating, especially for an industry facing fierce competition and rapidly eroding profit margins.
Cyberattacks targeting smart manufacturing facilities are steadily increasing in proportion to the ubiquity of networked technologies. A 2017 study conducted by Kaspersky1 revealed that roughly one out of every three internet connection sharing (ICS) computers subjected to a cyberattack was part of an industrial automation system. Similarly, a 2019 survey about OT security challenges2 conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Tenable found that 90% of the 701 global IT and IT security decision-makers polled said that their organizations had experienced at least one damaging IT or OT cyberattack in the previous 24 months and 62% had experienced two or more. Today, hackers frequently succeed in exploiting vulnerabilities in IIoT networks to gain access to company data and infrastructure.
Ransomware and data loss or theft are the most common types of cyberattacks in the industrial manufacturing industry. In 2021, the average ransomware incident caused more than 20 days3 of disruption to affected businesses, and while downtime of that magnitude would be costly for any manufacturer, it can be especially costly for medical manufacturers.
The medical manufacturing industry is also highly susceptible to inflated costs resulting from lost or stolen data. Historian data and batch records are essential for determining and verifying the results of manufacturing trials and ensuring the safety of the patients using the treatment. So, losing the ability to verify production processes can cost medical manufacturers millions of dollars in product losses. For example, one of the most devastating cyberattacks in history4, the NotPetya attacks of 2017, cost American multinational pharmaceutical company Merck a total of $1.4 billion in related losses5. And while those losses were undeniably astronomical, stolen medical manufacturing data can be even more costly than lost data.
Implementing effective cybersecurity solutions can improve the resiliency of industrial medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing networks and prevent cyberattacks that could lead to production losses, new drug development delays, and the loss or theft of crucial operating and development data.
RS offers a comprehensive suite of advanced solutions designed to address the key challenges faced by customers in the medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, including cybersecurity threats. Our strong supplier relationships and omnichannel capabilities provide medical manufacturers with a distinct competitive advantage and empower them to get compliant, enhance productivity, optimize efficiency, reduce downtime, ensure data integrity, and improve both time to market and quality.
The RS portfolio of industrial cybersecurity infrastructure includes industrial routers, managed Ethernet switches, and protocol converters that incorporate robust security features ranging from firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), and access controls to intrusion prevention and detection, industrial protocol filtering, port security, and encryption — all of which is essential to an effective defense-in-depth (DiD) cybersecurity strategy.
Industrial routers equipped with integrated security features like configurable firewalls, secure VPN connections, and access control lists help protect industrial networks from cybersecurity threats. For example, Phoenix Contact’s FL mGuard security routers facilitate efficient and secure communication with the local network and provide a flexible and scalable solution for network infrastructure management. The series is equipped with stateful inspection firewalls and network address translation, anti-spoofing, anti-virus, and stealth mode features. It also supports high data throughput of roughly 1,000Mb/s, which is essential for satisfying the real-time data demands of monitoring and control processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing applications, and enables easy and efficient system configuration, maintenance, and operation backed by long-term software maintenance, regular updates, and security patches.
Managed switches facilitate communication between Ethernet devices and allow users to configure, manage, and monitor traffic on a local area network (LAN) and control how data travels over the network and who can access it. They also offer security features that unmanaged switches can’t. Moxa’s EDS-408A Series Layer 2, eight-port, entry-level managed switches are especially designed for industrial applications like medical manufacturing. The series provides industrial-grade reliability, network redundancy, and security features based on the IEC 62443 standard and support a variety of useful management functions, including Turbo Ring, Turbo Chain, ring coupling, internet group management protocol (IGMP) snooping, IEEE 802.1Q VLAN, port-based VLAN, QoS, remote monitoring, bandwidth management, port mirroring for online debugging, and email or relay warnings.
Protocol converters enable interoperability between devices or systems with incompatible communication protocols by converting one communication protocol to another. They’re essential for bringing legacy production equipment into IIoT networks and supporting predictive maintenance strategies but could introduce serious vulnerabilities into production networks if they’re not equipped with integrated security features. Red Lion’s DA10D and DA30D protocol conversion and data acquisition systems allow users to unlock valuable data from legacy equipment and share it with production networks and enterprise or cloud platforms. They communicate with over 300 protocols to easily convert between serial and Ethernet devices in multi-vendor environments with ease, exhibit rugged resistance to shock, vibration, and a wide range of operating temperatures, and offer optional real-time data, event, and security logging with cryptographic signature support.
For more information about the RS portfolio of medical manufacturing solutions, as well as expert insights into and advice about medical and pharmaceutical industry applications, please check out the new “Cybersecurity and the Medical Manufacturing Industry” RS Expert Advice article and visit the links embedded here. For assistance identifying, procuring, deploying, and maintaining cybersecurity solutions that can effectively reduce the risks inherent to your smart medical manufacturing facilities and protect you from the all-to-common and often devastatingly expensive ramifications of a successful cyberattack, please contact your local RS representative at 1.866.433.5722 or reach out to our technical product support team.

References: 1. A 2017 study conducted by Kaspersky, 2. A 2019 survey about OT security challenges, 3. More than 20 days, 4. The most devastating cyberattacks in history, 5. $1.4 billion in related losses





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