PERSPECTIVE: Modern Port Operations Must Consider Cybersecurity from the Start

PERSPECTIVE: Modern Port Operations Must Consider Cybersecurity from the Start


The worrying level of maritime congestion off the U.S. coast, along with recent disruptions in the global supply chain, is evidence that U.S. ports are in desperate need of technological modernization. Ports are the nexus of complex supply chains, but many of the world’s largest shipyards continue to struggle with disruptions and fluctuations in volume and congestion.

Connectivity is essential to modernize our ports and prepare us for increased supply chain demand. Connected devices such as sensors, cameras and navigation systems can improve everything from download time to equipment uptime for an industry that contributes more than $ 150 billion annually to the country’s economic growth, according to a study of the Transport Institute.

The clear message is that port and terminal operators, who are carrying out much-needed digital modernization efforts, must simultaneously implement enhanced cybersecurity capabilities that are designed and “incorporated” into the infrastructure of the industrial network from from the beginning.

The era of connectivity for modern ports

By connecting more equipment, devices, people, and applications, in addition to adopting greater digitization, global port operators are achieving improved results, such as faster ship loading and unloading, safer working conditions, and greater operational efficiency. . With access to funding for critical infrastructure improvements, port and terminal operators can seek essential modernization funds while improving their cybersecurity and operational resilience.

While all sectors are a potential target for cyber threats, government leaders continue to stress the importance of the shipping industry as a critical driver of the U.S. economy and the need to protect the industry from bad actors. CISA Director Jen Easterly recently pointed to the growing cyber threat to the industry, which sustains a considerable amount of U.S. business, allowing billions of dollars in trade each year and simultaneously supporting all other sectors of the world. the industry. Seaports could be a desirable target for cybercriminals seeking to maximize economic impact. In turn, securing maritime trade must be considered crucial to the nation’s economic security.

Responding to the need to implement cybersecurity capabilities is accompanied by the implementation of the transformation and modernization of the digital business. Today, thanks to more secure and increasingly mobile connectivity, data from modern applications is what makes shipping containers move efficiently and securely across a port. The necessary data streams and support applications have moved closer to the “edge”, closer to industrial devices, terminal equipment and users. This operational scanning on the edge allows applications to be more relevant at the point where data has the most value and, at the same time, the full integration of all the data provides more information and value throughout the period of operations of a port / terminal and beyond.

Zero confidence security

In today’s world of digital capability, yesterday’s old security perimeter is gone, and adopting a less privileged approach to data access, or a zero-confidence philosophy, is an absolute must. In order to successfully modernize operations, a core network infrastructure with a zero-confidence cybersecurity philosophy built into the design is a necessity to simultaneously digitize and secure port and terminal operations.

Shipping operators are increasingly improving their secure wireless connectivity to meet the demands of terminal operating system (TOS) applications and standalone terminal solutions to move data with very low latency, high performance and high reliability, along with seamless transfers that support mobility needs everywhere. a wide and complex radio frequency environment.

Providing effective cybersecurity for critical infrastructure requires a deliberate effort in any organization’s approach to bringing people, processes, and technology together. An integrated portfolio of networks and security helps the maritime transport sector through this journey, offering the best technology that supports efficient processes and allows the staff of the sector the necessary tools to carry out all the possibilities of modern port operations.

The views expressed here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by Homeland Security Today, which embraces a wide range of views in support of the security of our homeland. To submit a piece for consideration, please email Editor@Hstoday.us.



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